Lead conversion - how efficient are you? (Guest article for ETSOS, January 2015)

Amongst other factors, one of the key drivers of profitability in your business is the ability of your team to convert enquiries to instructions.

Let's imagine that three firms each spend £5,000 on a law firm marketing campaign that delivers 1,000 enquiries worth around £500 each - a total pipeline worth £500,000.

Firm A converts 35 per cent of all enquiries, so generates £175,000 income. The team at Firm B, has been focusing on their conversion skills over the last year, having invested in mystery shopping their legal services and training to support their marketing campaign. They now convert 42 per cent of all enquiries, generating income of £210,000. Firm C is still thinking about implementing a system to track enquiries, and is not sure about spending the training budget on soft skills.

Clearly, if you wish to maximise the number of enquiries that you convert to instructions then you need to know how you are performing at the moment. If you have a team of conveyancers, there is likely to be a broad spectrum of skills amongst them. With enquiries coming in from a wide variety of sources, there will also be variations in the quality of enquiry. It is not enough to know your average conversion rate, you need to be able to drill down into the figures to identify the best sources of leads and the best staff as they can help others to improve.

The first step is to ensure that every single opportunity and its source is recorded on a central system - whether it arrives via your law firm website, the phone, referral from a colleague or estate agent, or even a walk-in.

Second, review how your team responds to each enquiry. Do you have a standard for best practice? Is there a professionally presented template to confirm a quotation? Or are staff free to respond in any way? Are staff trained to handle objections? How do you handle enquiries which arrive out of normal working hours?

Do staff routinely and enthusiastically ask if the person would like to proceed - as the saying goes ' you won't get if you don't ask'. What happens if you do not secure an instruction immediately? Do you have an effective system for following up?

Does your team routinely ask and record why people do not proceed?

All this management information will enable you to monitor your conversion rates as a whole, by team member, and by source of enquiry.

Solicitors are starting to recognise the benefits of mystery shopping, a technique embraced by many true service businesses as it helps you to identify how you can improve your performance. It is invaluable for pinpointing where there are strengths and weaknesses in your processes and opportunities for skills development. Used as a carrot, rather than a stick, it will push up standards and increase your conversion rates.

Would you rather be firm A, B or C?

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