Legal professionals may think of their marketing and sales efforts as different than those of other professions, but that is a misconception that is harming many lawyers’ ability to differentiate them and drive revenue for their practices. The standard sales funnel applies for the legal profession just like all others.
Buyers go through four stages before making a purchase:
- Stage 1: Awareness
- Stage 2: Consideration
- Stage 3: Intention
- Stage 4: Desire
Then, hopefully, they make the purchase!
How to Manage the Stages
To give you some points to consider, here are how those stages work and can be managed by all legal professionals.
It all begins with recognition: For many people, awareness and advertising go hand in hand, or we fall into the trap of thinking the only thing we can control is how much awareness we can generate for our business.
It can often feel like we make the decision: “They know our name, so they will definitely consider what we are offering.”
This isn’t true.
While awareness is essential, you still have to work to move them down the sales funnel.
The first step is definitely raising awareness, and you can do that in a number of ways like:
- Creating content that educates your market about a specific area that you are an expert in or that is on people’s minds currently or regularly.
- Giving talks and presentations at conferences.
- Offering your ideas up as expert opinions to news, media, podcasts, and other forms of media.
There are three keys to keep in mind when thinking about raising your business’s awareness:
- Whatever marketing efforts you take, do them consistently.
- Realize that you are likely going to want to use different mediums and messages to blanket your target market more effectively.
- Test messages and ideas to find out what resonates with your market because what you consider important might not be where a client’s pain comes from or knowing that your market sees the world differently can give you an opportunity to create demand in your target market.
The second step in the marketing funnel is consideration. “Who are you thinking about working with?”
Imagine your kitchen funnel for a moment. You put a lot of water in the top of the funnel, that’s awareness. You are going to want to elevate your awareness a great deal because many of the people that you are talking with won’t be qualified or considering working with an attorney, at least at the moment.
Consideration is the second step in the marketing funnel and at this point, you have realized that your awareness campaign has brought in a lot of people and a lot of people are realizing that you offer something that may be of value to them.
If you think about the awareness level as trying to get as many people to raise their hand and say, “I’m here” you will want to think of the consideration stage as people saying not only that they are here, but that they are thinking about taking action.
To manage the consideration stage effectively, you are going to work to begin to create a preference for your services or those of your firms.
You don’t do this by pretending like all antitrust attorneys work the same, have a similar background, or know the exact same things.
Because they don’t and pretending you are all the same means that you leave the door open for someone to step in and steal your prospect from you by showing differences.
You can do this by showing the difference between how another lawyer may approach a case and how you would go differently. You might consider showing some of the pitfalls that not approaching a situation correctly could create.
If you’ve done a great job of creating awareness and differentiating yourself during the consideration process, you can move to the point where your prospect intends to make a decision.
Intention and attention are necessary to create the purchase.
At the point that your prospects intend to make a purchase, several things have happened:
- They recognize they have a situation that they want assistance with.
- They have begun the process of educating themselves on the decision that they are likely to make.
- They are in the midst of educating themselves on what the right choice is.
To achieve your aims during this phase, you need to ensure that you are at the top of the list of people that are in the conversation for this project.
Because of the amount of information available on the Internet, combined with the way that the Internet has enabled you to have competition anywhere in the world, the intention stage is where a lot of prospects lose steam and sales die.
To keep the sale progressing, you can focus on continuing the education process, while pulling the prospect closer to your solutions. This could look like some of the following:
- Maybe offering a free consultation.
- Putting together a small group lunch and learn or similar activity.
- Share articles, white papers, case studies, and other examples of what your ideas are or how your expertise is impactful for this specific issue.
The big challenge as you move down the sales funnel is keeping the momentum moving towards a sale. In today’s world that means that you have to continue to find ways to add value in the sales process and drawing people closer and closer to you.
They want you and only you: The final step before you get the deal is the stage where you’ve worked hard at raising awareness, encouraging your market to consider you, and built an intention to consider you or work with you. The final step is creating the desire to take action.
Until you have the desire to take action, you are likely in a situation where nothing is going to happen.
Think of it like the car salesman talk about “tire kickers.” This is the same thing you are dealing with until you reach the point where the desire to take action is great.
At this point, you might think of this stage as closing the sale and creating urgency to take action.
There are countless books and articles about closing sales, but for our purposes think about this part of the funnel, as needing you to ask people for their business because not working with you isn’t a logical choice.
You’ll achieve this by doing things like:
- Painting a picture of the future for your prospect that shows them how much better off they will be working with you than not working with you.
- You might also focus on how not taking action is costing these people.
- Or, you just may be in the right place at the right time because you’ve been consistent over time and the time has come for the decision on a partner needs to be made.
The key during this final stage of the buying process is to make sure you don’t just generate the desire to act, but you ask for the purchase because even though we are talking about managing the sale funnel, you still have to ask for the client’s business. Getting paid, that will make all of this effort worth it.