Following up enquiries is important, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. This blog will aim to explain why?

In research carried out by Insight6 in 2019 into rates of follow-up to different types of enquiries (there is a new report due later this year) the following stats were reported:

  • Telephone enquiries – this had the best follow-up of 23%
  • Web enquiries – just 5%
  • Walk-ins – 0%

So, what implications do these figures have?  And what can be done?

Well, put simply, it could mean your firm is missing out on 100% of business opportunities when we look at walk-in enquiries. In other words, you are not maximising your ROI – your marketing efforts must have delivered to get the enquiry in the first place – so increasing your conversion rate is surely a no-brainer. From my own experience, following up enquires seems to be an issue across the professional services sector, from sole practitioners to national firms, and a robust process for following up enquiries is most definitely needed.

But lawyers are not salespeople?

When I asked this of a couple of law firm managers, why they don’t follow-up enquiries, I was told it’s because lawyers are not salespeople. In my opinion, this thinking is flawed, as following up enquiries is not sales, it is simply good customer service. After all, you’re not cold calling someone, trying to offer them something that they don’t need. They have already reached out to you and asked you for help. You are simply following up to ensure they receive the email with the quote you promised to send them and that they have everything they need to make an informed decision. You don’t have to ask for the business if you really don’t want to (although if you don’t, this is a missed opportunity in my opinion).

Let’s talk numbers

If we delve a little deeper into the numbers, you can change the situation for a more favourable outcome.  We’ll assume some conversion rates and that these follow-ups are happening for those not converted at the point of contact (be it on the phone, digitally and in person) and those who don’t proactively reengage.

Telephone enquiries, have the best follow-up rate of 23%. This is likely because during the initial call you can build a rapport, so the fee earner is likely to feel more comfortable calling them again. However, it is more likely that the follow-up will be via email instead of phone. So, if firms put a system in place to follow up all telephone enquiries, they can increase the follow-up rate from 23% to 100%. Let’s work on the basis that a firm has 100 enquiries, of which 23 were followed up. If we adopt a 50% conversion rate (i.e.  their win rate is 11 new matters out of a possible 100!) If we apply the 50% conversion rate to those not currently being followed up, then the firm would gain approximately 39 new clients on top of the 11 that have already converted. If we attribute a value of £2,000 per case due to the wide range of work types, this will mean, with a 23% follow-up rate, the case value would be £22,000, and following up 100% of enquiries could mean an additional £78,000 in income.

Web enquires have just a 5% follow-up rate, so the prospect may be less invested in working with the firm, so there is a greater chance a decision will be made based on price, so we reduce the conversation rate on this type of enquiry to 30%. Based on a rate of 5% of 100 enquiries being followed up, and a 30% conversion rate you would be lucky to get 1 client. If we apply the 30% conversion rate to those enquiries not currently being followed up, we will gain approximately 28 new clients, on top of the clients already won. If we again attribute a value to these clients – an average of £2,000 per client due to the wide range of cases we cover, we generate £2,00 with the current 5% follow-up rate and an additional £56,000 if all are followed up.

If you do not follow up potential walk-in enquiries, setting aside those converted on the spot or who pro-actively reengage, and assuming the £2,000 average fee and a 50% conversion rate (they’ve taken the effort to come to your physical location so this higher figure makes sense) you could be missing out on £100,000 worth of business.

So, why would you not follow up enquiries?

If this is something you can’t get your team to do or don’t want them doing, why not employ someone to do it for you. These figures alone should justify why it is important. Bear in mind we are also looking at a transaction value here rather than lifetime value!

If you would like to explore this further, please do get in contact with Lara and she can help put together a follow-up contact strategy that works for your firm.

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