11 Ways to Tap into the Legal Market’s Greenfield
A survey conducted in 2019 determined that nearly 80% of Americans with a legal issue didn't hire a lawyer to handle it. When you consider that over 50% of people in the US claim to have had a legal issue at some point over the last two years, you’re looking at a considerable amount of potential clients. In other words, there is an enormous array of people who need lawyers who simply aren’t hiring one.
The secret to tapping into this greenfield dormant legal market is knowing the reasons behind their aversion to lawyers. By understanding the reasons behind people’s hesitancy to pay for legal services, you can attempt to better appeal to them, and tap into a huge pool of potential clients.
Why people are hesitant to hire lawyers:
The first and most obvious reason why people are hesitant to hire a lawyer is the price tag attached to them. Considering the majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, it’s not surprising that paying between $100 and $400 an hour for a lawyer (or more) is a stretch for their wallets.
Even “simple” legal cases can cost thousands of dollars, and more complex ones can be financially detrimental for a cash-strapped client. Although many lawyers are starting to move towards a flat-fee pricing system that delivers an upfront summary of costs rather than wondering how much your case will all add up, a lot of people still aren’t biting.
It’s time for lawyers to start asking themselves how they can transform the way they deliver and price their legal services to tap into this untapped world of would-be clients.
!Lack of transparency
Ever heard the joke, “what’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a lawyer riding a motorcycle?” — “The vacuum cleaner has the dirtbag on the inside.” This is just one of the many zingers out there about lawyers. It’s no secret that many swindling lawyers have made it hard for the honest ones in the profession. Now, lawyers have to defend themselves against lousy reputations for lack of transparency about their prices.
That's why it's incredibly important that you lay out your pricing system from day one. Be clear about your prices, and you'll save you and your client a world of trouble later on.
The only way to convince people that not all lawyers are bad is to get things started on the right foot. Using automation software is the only way to respond quickly when you're handling multiple cases at a time. Workflow automation for law firms makes your clients feel connected to you from the first moment they reach out. Law firm client intake software allows you to set up trigger-based emails that automatically send a message out based on an action of your choosing. The end result is satisfied clients who feel connected to you every step of the way.
!Bad past experiences
Another frequent reason for the untapped legal market not hiring lawyers is because many people have had bad experiences with a lawyer in the past. Surprisingly, people's biggest reason for a negative experience is often because they felt their lawyers were very bad at communication. Believe it or not, a positive client experience doesn’t always come down to their lawyer winning their case or not. Clients often just want to be informed on their case and answered in a timely manner when they have a question.
That means there are people out there thrilled with their lawyers and their lawyers didn't even give them the best possible outcome on their case. Ultimately, what people want is a positive client journey. Yet, without a systematic method in place, it can be hard to deliver the kind of service that people want.
The only way to convince people that not all lawyers are bad is to get things started on the right foot. Using legal client intake software is the only way to respond quickly when you're handling multiple cases at a time. Workflow automation for law firms makes your clients feel connected to you from the first moment they reach out. Legal client intake software allows you to set up trigger-based emails that automatically send a message out based on an action of your choosing. The end result is satisfied clients who feel as if they're your only client.
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11 ways to tap into the untapped legal market
1 Identify your clients
Basic marketing 101 tells us that the first place to start is identifying who your would-be legal clients are. What kind of job do they have? Where do they live? How do they spend their days? What's their average salary? Do they have kids? How about a spouse? The more you can pinpoint who you're trying to appeal to, the more you can adjust your marketing efforts to catch their attention.
A one size fits all marketing approach doesn't work. Knowing the specific details of who you're trying to reach will help you fine-tune your marketing, and be the first lawyer they think of when they find themselves in need of legal services.
2 Adapt a client-first mindset
Welcome to 2021, where we live in a consumer-driven market. Statistics show that companies that adopt a customer-centric mindset are 60% more profitable than those that don't focus on their clients. It's clear that pushing your products in your clients' faces doesn't work anymore.
In other words, it’s time to start shifting your law firm's mindset from your needs to your clients' needs. Focusing on your clients' first results in more referrals, increased client loyalty, and a reputation so strong that the untapped legal market will have no choice but to want to give in and hire you as their lawyer.
A client-focused approach varies depending on your industry. In the legal industry, you'll need to focus on the needs of a legal client. By understanding some of the most common frustrations about lawyers, you can come up with creative solutions to overcome them.
For example, one common complaint that almost always comes up first about lawyers is their expensive price tag. While lowering the amount of money you are willing to accept for the amount of work you do might not be an option, adjusting the way you do things is.
If you can manage to put a system in place that handles clients' cases in a fraction of the time, you can offer a more attractive price attached to your services. Not only that but you can take on even more clients since automation tools like Lawmatics offers, streamlines everything.
From the minute a contact first reaches out to your firm inquiring about services, to the minute you sign a retainer agreement, the right legal technology can take care of the time-consuming and monotonous administrative work.
Another way to appeal to clients with reservations about lawyers is by responding right away. The faster you can get the ball rolling, the more convinced people will be to hire you for your services. Perhaps you can offer a chatbot on your website, or pay for a legal answering service to ensure no call gets missed. These are just a few ideas for a customer-centric approach to running your legal practice. There's no limit to ways you can come up with to make life as easy as possible for your clients.
3Streamline your client intake process
One of the most time-consuming aspects of running a law firm is the client intake process. Administrative tasks take a long time that you could be spending on more important things. Tasks like making contracts, and manually entering information can start to eat up your day in no time. Not to mention, a lot of moving your leads through the client intake process isn’t considered billable work.
Yet the intake process is an unavoidable part of running your practice. If you can manage to streamline and speed up this infamously time-consuming portion of your job then you can take on even more cases. The faster you can get things done, the more attractive of a price you can conceivably offer. Because the faster it takes to get a case done, the less your clients have to worry about an endless bill.
Not only does a client intake software speed up your process, but it also tracks every lead meticulously. That means you never have to worry about an opportunity slipping through the cracks again. An easy-to-read dashboard allows you to see what clients need to be followed up with, and what actions need to be taken next.
4Make it easy to sign documents
The easier you can make your clients' lives, the better of a client journey you can provide. One of the most practical ways to make things easy for your client is by allowing them to sign signatures electronically thanks to a client e-signature tool. Asking people to get in their car and physically come into your office to sign something, or even print, sign, and mail something back to you requires quite a bit of effort on their part. Not to mention there's a global pandemic, and not everyone may feel comfortable having to leave their house to sign something. Offering electronic signature for legal documents is an incredibly convenient and streamlined way to get the ball rolling, with minimal work required of your clients.
It's as simple as sending a link and allowing them to sign from wherever they are at any time without the hassle of printers, scanners, or post offices.
5Use a client communication portal
Using a client communication portal is an innovative way to collaborate with your legal clients instantly. No longer do clients have to play phone tag or wait days to receive an email back inquiring about the status of their case. A client portal is a space where lawyers can securely provide information on their clients' cases. From important documents, to messages, to invoices, and more — clients can log in and see where their case stands from a glance.
Beyond being extremely convenient for your clients, it makes your law firm much more efficient. Providing the ability to easily send information back and forth with your clients means less hassle of endless back and forth and phone tag. The more you can deliver convenient services like these, the more that untapped legal consumers will be driven to hire you.
6Make it easy to pay you
Not everyone has direct access to the kind of money it takes to pay for legal services. Allowing your clients to be able to pay with a credit card means people who might not have otherwise been able to afford a lawyer now can. Many lawyers don't accept credit cards because they don't want to deal with the hassle of fees. This is not a client-centric state of mind, however.
Nearly 20% of Americans can't even afford to cover their monthly bills, and according to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans claimed that they couldn't cover an unexpected $400 expense. So, coming up with accommodating ways to pay you can be a great way to appeal to an untapped legal market.
Your clients don't like having to go through the hassle of getting in their car and bringing a check to your office either. Accepting online payments is a great way to boost the client experience. Make things as easy as possible for your clients, particularly when it comes to payments, and you'll find yourself with plenty of five stars reviews, and more clients.
7Make it easy to schedule an appointment
Finding an appointment time that works for everyone is often a long-drawn-out string of emails. Eliminate the friction of appointment setting by offering automated appointment scheduling. It's as simple as sending a link to your clients and allowing them to choose a date of your choosing. Not only will they receive an automatic confirmation email, but they'll also receive a reminder leading up to the appointment. Streamlining your appointment setting process makes everyone's lives easier, including your own.
8Use their preferred form of communication
Not everyone has the same kind of communication preferences. Many people love the effortlessness of picking up the phone to call, while others prefer text messages because they provide a unique kind of freedom that phone calls don't. Text messages allow clients to take time to think about their messages and reply conveniently whenever works best for them, yet it can also take much longer than a simple five-minute call. Yet, some people feel that phone calls can be disruptive, and for that reason they prefer texting. Whatever your client’s preferences may be, offering your clients the opportunity to communicate with you in the method they prefer best is a client-centric mindset.
Get to know your client's communication preferences, and take note. If they prefer emails, communicate by email, if they prefer texting, then offer text messaging for law firms. By communicating with their preferred method, you're delivering a personalized client experience that they'll never forget.
9Offer flat fee pricing
It's no secret that flat-fee pricing is much more attractive to legal clients since it can be terrifying to look into an abyss of wondering what their final bill will cost. Flat fee pricing is also a lot easier for lawyers to get paid upfront without them having to chase their clients for money. However, a lot of lawyers are hesitant to turn towards this billing option because they feel that they may put in substantially more work than what they're getting paid for.
But, the untapped legal market doesn't want any question marks attached to what their final bill will be. Offering flat fee billing Is a straightforward way to price your services and appeal to people who might be hesitant to pay by the hour. If you are not sure how to price your services, a great place to start is using your law firm’s data with legal reporting software. By observing patterns in your practice like how many hours it takes you to complete tasks, you can get a better idea of how much to charge for your services.
In a world where people can stream a movie instantly, or order something to be delivered the next day, or even sooner, people don't like having to wait. A quick reply greatly improves your chances of converting a lead into a client. A recent study showed that responding even as late as 10 minutes after initial contact can drop your chances of converting a lead to a client by as much as 80%. In other words, time is your greatest enemy, and yet also your greatest asset. If you can manage to eliminate response time, you can significantly increase the number of leads you turn into retained clients.
Whether a client reaches out by email or by phone, the rule remains the same: reply immediately. Tools like email automation for law firms make it easy to respond right away by sending a little bit more about your firm and setting the tone for what they can expect from you as a lawyer.
By observing the patterns in your practice, you can find any bottlenecks, and address them to make your operations smoother.
If the idea of data conjures up images of over complicated graphs and pie charts, think again. Legal reporting software like Lawmatics delivers easy-to-read straightforward data that clearly spells out your indicators of success. From where you're spending the most time in your practice, to how many clients you're bringing in, the more insight you have into your firm's data, the better decisions you can make to attract more clients. Having a clear understanding of where you're at can help you form the best possible plan to get to where you'd like to be.
Attract a world of would-be clients with Lawmatics
When you start looking at how many people need lawyers, compared to how many of them aren't hiring one, you realize how much of an enormous opportunity you have to tap into a huge market. By taking a closer look at what the untapped legal market's pain points are, and finding creative ways to appeal to them, you can tap into a whole galaxy of clients that are looking for legal services delivered in a new way.
Are you ready to see how Lawmatics, the most intuitive and robust attorney intake software and law firm CRM can help you deliver an exceptional client experience and thrive in ways you never imagined as a law firm? Sign up for a free product demo today!