A single question can create a life-changing opportunity.
Have you ever heard of Bitcoin?
Not a surprise. It’s a pretty obscure thing. Virtually no mention of it in the media at all.
Kidding. Of course, you have. It’s everywhere. And on a whole, it’s one of the most recognizable proofs of a clear return on investment. But there’s the problem with Bitcoin because whether you bought in at $20 in 2012 or are trying to get in now at nearly $10,000 a coin, you’re going to end up paying at least something now for a later return.
But what if there was a way to get an even
higher ROI without spending a dime?
All it takes is asking a satisfied client to give you a review.
Today, online reviews hold more influence to a legal firm or business than ever before. They’re the first impression of your practice and a critical consensus of whether a potential client can trust your business before you ever speak a word.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the power of Online Reviews: The Relationship Between Positive Reviews and Revenue.
To Start, Everybody Uses Them
It’s true, with a reported 97% of prospective clients reading online reviews for local businesses. On top of that, they trust what they read, with a whopping 84% of prospective clients choosing to trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. The final takeaway to these stats is that standards are high. With the leading majority of prospects (37%) claiming that a business needed to have a 4-star review minimum to be considered.
This means not only do online reviews matter, but they’re a LEADING decision maker for someone new to your practice. Your reviews speak to the quality of your service and inspire trust in your visitors to reach out and choose your firm among your competitors. And this is important because, at this stage of the client journey, they’ve never met you and have yet to make contact.
A Matter of Choice
Imagine you’re a criminal defense firm and your Google listing has an average review score of 4.1 among 6 reviews. Now imagine you have a competitor within the same field and market with an average review score of 4.4 among 17 reviews.
It goes without saying that if the distance between you and your competitor—relative to the prospective client—is comparable, your prospect will more than likely go with the firm with the better review.
Let’s say that the prospective client in question makes contact with your competitor and secures them as counsel.
It turns out that client meant a potential value of a few thousand dollars to your firm.
And in losing them, your competitor has achieved not only a financial gain but an opportunity for growth and later referrals.
There are two key takeaways from this story:
When reiterated over time, the majority of clients will take this course of action, again and again, leaving you with a lesser share of total prospects.
The journey of finding representation can occur without ever making contact with you.
Today’s consumer is doing their own research well in advance of ever speaking to your firm directly. So it’s important to bolster your online footprint as much as possible to shift that slide of prospects toward your doors and not your competitors.
And you can do that, simply, and without cost, by encouraging and accumulating online reviews.
How to Get More Positive Online Reviews
So now that we understand the importance of online reviews, let’s talk about taking the steps necessary to gain more:
1) Control Your Online Presence
You want to set up profiles for your business on ALL applicable social media review sites. Although we offer this type of online profile management reflexively as a client of Scorpion, as a concept, this management would include Google My Business, Yelp, Avvo, and Facebook. You also want to make sure that the information presented on these sites is accurate, as any outdated information (a phone number or address change) is going to reflect poorly on your firm’s professionalism.
2) If Your Client is Happy, Leverage It
When your client is happy with your work and is vocal enough to tell you (in person or through email) take that cue as an opportunity to request an online review. Amazon sellers are impeccable at doing this. How often have you bought a product off of Amazon only to have the seller thank you for your purchase via email and humbly ask for a review? With just that, they often gain another positive review to separate them from their competitors. The added benefit is that they also get to address any negative experience proactively and can alleviate it before a decision to go public is made.
3) Provide OUTSTANDING Service
That’s easier said than done but really try to put yourself in the position of your clients and the time of their lives they’re in. If this means calling directly to give updates on their case and giving them the opportunity to be heard, it’ll pay dividends in their opinion of your firm and whether they choose to refer your practice at a later time.
A Few Don’ts
Don’t be that firm that takes a compliment from a client and guides them right to the customer review computer. Ask them for a review, sure, but give them the freedom to choose when and how to do it. It’ll be more authentic that way and it’ll help you avoid getting flagged on online review sites when they notice all of your reviews are coming from a single location.
Don’t ignore reviews. Whether they’re good or bad, ALWAYS respond. For positive reviews, a simple “thank you” will generally suffice. Negative reviews, however, present an incredible opportunity to address the needs of your previous clients in a direct and service-oriented way. Nobody is perfect and neither is your firm. You just want that 4-point-something to be as high as possible and supported by more positive reviews than negative. At the same time, negative reviews expose areas of your practice where you could be better. Most complaints aren’t without some validity. So take it as an opportunity to get better and to address previous clients who have had negative experiences.
Don’t offer a reward or incentive for a positive review. Just don’t. It’s unethical and if you’re caught it could lead to some serious repercussions with your local bar association.
Simply put, a subtle shift to create a standard practice for accumulating more positive reviews, can do A LOT of pushing you past your competitors and being the first choice for prospective clients.
And the best part is that it’s free. All you have to do is ask.
In the hyper-competitive space of your field, you deserve to come out on top, to know what’s ahead, and how to act on it for the betterment of your future. At Scorpion, we’re here to help you increase the efficiency of your time and maximize your marketing investment to bring you more cases.
For a marketing expert dedicated to bringing you the clients you want, give me a call.
About the Author
Peter Webb is an expert in digital marketing strategies at Scorpion. Having been with Scorpion since its inception nearly two decades ago, Peter helps law firms develop tailored marketing strategies to acquire the growth they desire. Formerly, he managed and operated a general construction company which has been in his family since 1977. He has two daughters and spends time golfing, traveling, reading, and cooking. He currently lives in Southern California, but he has also lived in the Midwest and British Columbia.