Want more clients? Look no further than the phone. Estate Planning Attorney Ashley Sandford joins us on the show to discuss the Dos and Don’ts of effective phone etiquette for your law firm.
At Bambiz, our marketing helps Elder Law & Estate Planning attorneys get in front of quality clients.
I call your office. I called your office because I need help, well my dad needs help. You see my mom, she passed away not too long ago and my dad now he needs to be in nursing home care. He doesn’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do either but I went online and I found you.
I liked what I saw and I called your office so I could book an appointment because I wanted you to help my dad. I actually called your office several times and nobody picked up, nobody returned my phone calls so that left me with no choice but to go with another attorney. We did find somebody, he picked up the phone and he was very kind.
He ended up helping my dad and actually, he helped so much that I’m gonna do my estate planning with him too.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Hold the phone! That is not how the story is supposed to end, is it? You’re supposed to be the hero of the story, not the other guy. The other guy ended up getting two clients not just one but two. All because he answered the phone. That’s the reality of it we need to imagine that when we don’t pick up the phone and we don’t return phone calls we can just imagine future clients just slipping through our fingers.
When someone calls because they need help and you don’t pick up the phone, you don’t return their phone call what are they gonna do? They’re gonna go with the next guy, that’s just how it is in every single business. One of the biggest complaints on Google for law firms is the lack of phone etiquette because law firms aren’t answering the phone or calling people back.
Where is the customer service here guys? It’s such a big deal that I have asked Ashley Sanford, an estate planning attorney, to come on and share her golden nuggets as to what works for her law firm. And how to make the most out of each and every phone call.
The cool thing about Ashley is that she’s not just an estate planning attorney she also has an extensive background as an intake specialist. She knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to effective phone communication and how to have an organized system for your law firm.
Welcome to Elder Law Growth this is the place to be for all things marketing for elder law and estate planning attorneys. Here in our podcast, you will find all the skills and tools you need to grow your law firm without wasting your time.
I’m Amie Hearst, the marketing manager here at Bambiz marketing and in this episode, you’ll be listening to Ashley. She will share her gold nuggets with you on what works and what doesn’t for growing your practice and ensuring that future clients are not slipping through the cracks and going to your competition. So let’s dive in!
Ashley: My name is Ashley Sandford, I’m a licensed attorney in the state of Florida. I have owned my own law firm for about two and a half years and I’ve also had a lot of experience in customer service. I was a claim representative for State Farm so a lot of phone time there and I also worked in a law firm as an intake specialist.
So I’m able to share from various standpoints from the attorney perspective and from the person actually on the phone’s perspective. The tone you hear, the sound you hear, and the words you hear when you answer the phone or right when the phone gets answered actually leave quite an impression.
Amie: Say if our attorneys already have someone on the front lines, already has someone there answering the phones. What kind of training would you suggest?
Ashley: One of the biggest things about answering the phone is on the third ring a lot of law firms miss calls and if it’s a potential client here’s the thing with that. I think everybody knows this but let’s just put it out there. They’re going to call somebody else.
They’re not going to leave a voicemail if they don’t get a hold of you, if it doesn’t go through then guess what. They’ll just call the next person in the Google search.
Amie: In your law office, when you owned your own office and you were doing estate planning how did you make that work for your law office? Clearly, you can’t be with a client and answer the phone at the same time or especially if you’re solo. So what worked for you when you were doing your own law firm?
Ashley: So we had a backup system. My paralegal was usually the one that answered the phone but if she was on the phone with a client at the time I also had an office manager. Now they were both very experienced. You may not always be able to afford that or do that but to have someone to do the backup, to get those calls. Then honestly it never really happened but if for some reason there’s like a third call coming in I answer.
You could do a day of just training and say, “Hey, I was in this coaching session and they were reminding us about our phone etiquette and so let’s just do some training.” Just throw it out there and practice getting on the phone. It’s gonna be silly, obviously, we all are adults and we don’t like always acting silly but it might be necessary.
Especially if you kind of listen in and take the time to evaluate your employees that you have. See how they’re handling it or even leave the office to go to court, on your way back from court call your office. You know do that *67 so they know it’s not you and just see how they answer. Are they introducing themselves, are they speaking clearly and precisely?
Think about this you’re an elder law attorney, how old are your clients, can they hear, do they have hearing aids. So how are they sounding, active listening is actually not a skill that a lot of us have because we live in a world where multitasking is the goal.
When you’re on the phone it should not be the goal, it should be giving the person on the phone all of your attention.
How can they prove that they’re active listening? They’re taking notes and they repeat back to the client what they’re saying. They acknowledge what is going on. All of those things make a potential client or even that current client feel very confident that who they’re speaking with is listening and is going to do something about it.
That’s the biggest thing, you can take my call, you can take my phone number but are you actually gonna help me. Are you going to do something with this information that I’m giving you. Which goes into what are you writing down, and what are you having your employees write down when they get that call with that list of questions.
They need to have a notepad or even a call log book. At my office we had a call log book, every call was written down. We wrote down the name of the person, if you don’t know how to get the spelling right, ask. After you answer the phone, “Hi this is Ashley I’m at Smith and Son, how can I help you”
Have them tell you initially and then when the first chance you get say, “okay can I get some information from you real quick just so that if we get disconnected or I know who I’m speaking with.” I generally would get an email address and I always thought it was easier to just get that right away at the beginning. Not every attorney maybe thinks that but I did and that was a good way to follow up with that person if it’s a potential client.
Amie: Ashley thank you so much for being here and taking out the time to share your expertise with us. I think this has been gold, I mean this is great for every single law firm out there and every business owner can definitely take some solid tips from here. So thank you so much for joining us here today.
If you enjoyed this interview feel free to listen to the entire interview on our website through our coaching group. In our coaching group, we train elder law and estate planning attorneys how to market their own law firms and have full control over their own marketing. Feel free to join our group you can find it on our website bambiz.net
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