PART 1 – Getting the basics right. In part 2 we look at how to step up your game by offering services focused more on the positive solutions that your clients and prospects are actively looking for.
Promoting wills gives you a golden opportunity to expand your client base and increase client loyalty, so that the business you do today will generate income in the future. Whatever you do, don’t just make extra wills and leave them in your vaults to be retrieved in twenty years time. Take positive steps to ensure that your investment in promotion works for your firm throughout the years ahead. Taking the best interests of your client into account, your aim should be to convert:
- Every enquiry into a will – because they need it.
- Every will in to a joint executorship – because you can make a positive difference when it comes to handling the estate. If you feel not when the time comes, you can always decide to renounce and let them get on with it.
- Every executor, trustee and beneficiary into a client – because friends, family and colleagues of clients are your best prospects and they should feel comfortable with your practice if their friend is well satisfied with what you have done for them.
- Every client of the probate department into a client of the whole firm, because it makes life easier for your client and you can do a better job for them in most areas … can’t you?
This takes preparation, planning and commitment from everyone in your practice. So how well have you prepared for a wills promotion? Everybody does the easy bits: posters in the window, leaflets in reception and an advert in the local rag. That on its own is not enough. And remember, making wills won’t make anyone rich. It’s the administration and other work that can flow from personal contact that makes it all worthwhile. So why not start now and gear your firm up to harness the full potential of the new enquiries that a wills promotion will generate for you?
Ten Point Action Plan
Here are ten practical tips for preparing a campaign – whether it’s a national Make A Will week, or your own independent promotion.
Tip 1. – Make sure all your staff know that what matters most is making the clients comfortable, taking time to build a rapport with them, as well as doing the legal job well.
Tip 2. – If you don’t have a marketing/prospecting database, get one organised before the promotion. You’ll have to set aside chargeable time to sort out a good system, but it’s an investment worth making. If you don’t have searchable records of executors, trustees and beneficiaries, as well as testators, set these up now, before your campaign begins. Otherwise, you will lose out on one of the best sources of new clients available to high street practices.
Tip 3. - When people ring to find out how much it costs to make a will, take time to talk to them about what they need and what you can do for them before you give them a price.
Tip 4. - Always give your clients some added value – something that will surprise them – not just “mirror wills” at a discount. Offer them something different, perhaps a free review in five years’ time. But if you do this then make sure they know how how they will benefit from your initiative. Don’t just throw in a freebie without considering the particular needs of the client and the real consequences of your firm – you could offer a free will for other members of their family or perhaps a free review of their financial affairs to be dealt with by a trusted and independent financial adviser, if not in-house.
Tip 5. - When your clients arrive at the office, offer them a cup of tea or coffee so they experience some quality personal contact and give them some digestible reading material as they wait for the meeting with you.
Tip 6. – Ask open questions like “How will your son deal with the tax side of things?” and listen to what your client says. Show your interest by relating what your clients have said to past experiences of good and bad things that have happened.
Tip 7. – Sell your service as a joint executor. Don’t just tell your clients what you will do – tell them how it will make things much easier for the people they leave behind. Find out what matters to your clients, by exploring their ideas and fears on what will happen after their death and respond with practical advice.
Tip 8. - Get your clients’ agreement for you to keep in touch and keep them informed. Add them to you mailing list and do actually keep in touch. To do this, you need to get your client and contact database in order. This should be an absolute priority for every law firm right now.
Tip 9. – Always be clear about the cost or likely cost of your service.
Tip 10. - Invest some time in business development with your clients’ consent. Invite every executor and trustee into your office when the will has been made to discuss their role and responsibilities, and your role in helping them. Give executors and trustees information to take away and get their agreement for you to keep in touch. Add them to your mailing list and do keep in touch. Again, you need that database.
Solicitors need to recognise that getting paid for the immediate job in hand is not always the absolute priority. Whilst it would make no sense at all to offer free or discounted will in isolation, firms choosing to implement a comprehensive marketing strategy will develop new private client business through new contacts generated by this approach and businesses will thrive after your wills promotion is over.