When people need to find a lawyer, they typically start their search by asking people they know and trust. This isn’t new. However, how they ask people they know and trust is changing a lot.
Remember writing letters? Remember party lines? Remember email?
For better and worse, legal services consumer behavior has changed. More and more, winning attention from prospective clients is about micro-moments. From Think With Google:
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.
Before your clients want to hire you, they probably want to know something about their situation. Many of them will turn to a device to learn.
For you, the question becomes, “What will they find?”
Will it be:
- Your blog post?
- Your article?
- Your interview?
- Your video?
- Your guide?
- Your comments?
- Your answers?
- Your podcast?
- Your conversation?
- Your mutual connection?
Or will it be those of your competitors?
At some point in their process, your potential clients will switch mindsets from I-want-to-know to I-want-to-hire. Again, many of them will be likely to turn to a device.
First, they’ll be likely to turn to people they know and trust. Maybe they’ll look to their contacts list. Maybe they’ll send an email. Or maybe they’ll use Facebook.
Who will they find? To whom will those people refer? You? Maybe. Have you been:
- Regularly staying in touch with people who know and trust you?
- Regularly sending emails to people who want them?
- Connecting with people on social networking sites?
- Answering questions?
- Helping people?
Or do you pretty much stay locked-up in your office blocking-out the rest of the world?
Second, after turning to people they know and trust, your potential clients will look you up online.
What will they find? Will they find:
- Your happy clients singing your praises?
- Other lawyers’ admiration?
- Your reputation for professional leadership?
- Your fast-loading, responsive website with an easily located click-to-call?
Lawyers tend to think that most of their best clients come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Guess what, they’re right.
Unfortunately, many of those same lawyers conclude that, “their best clients don’t use the internet to find them.”
That’s where they’re wrong.
Your best clients might not be typing chicago divorce lawyer into Google (but you ought not assume that).
But they will use their devices as part of their process to learn, contact and hire their lawyer.
Lawyers that understand and win these micro-moments thrive.
Those that ignore how the behavior of legal services consumers has changed, won’t.