So you want to be a successful personal injury lawyer, but don’t know where to start? Well, it’s not always about lawyer marketing. I’ve already given you the first tip a couple of days ago, now here goes the second part of this series:
Killer Strategy #2: Understand their “Journey to Justice
Calling your clients is a powerful way to get them bragging to their friends about the amazing lawyer they are working with. In the long term, to understand the whys and wherefores of client referrals, it is necessary to consider what we call the “Journey to Justice” .
Every case goes through a predictable set of stages. If you want to achieve maximum referrability, manage the client through the stages.
The first stage is the injury in which the person has a traumatic interruption of their life which affects their circumstances, their emotional well-being, their relationships, their finances and their sense of hope for the future. It also affects their identity. This is something you might want to seriously meditate upon the change in identity affecting your client.
The client’s sense of “who I am” goes, in some cases, from “ I’m in control of my life, I’m a free agent, master of my destiny, nobody can stop me, nobody can touch me” , to “ I’m vulnerable, I’m a victim, I’m scared, I don’t know if I have enough money, I don’t know if I can take care of my family, I don’t know what the future holds, HELP!
That’s stage one in the Journey to Justice.
Stage two is the runaround stage where the insurance company denies benefits or won’t return calls, or says the client has no claim, or the company doctor tells the client to go back to work. That’s when the person realizes that their injury may not be their biggest problem. Now they know they need a lawyer.
Stage three is finding a lawyer to talk to. Some people are connected. They just call their accountant and get a ood referral. Or perhaps they have a lawyer in the family who can refer it on to somebody else. Those who are ot connected tend to look at television or billboard ads, websites, yellow pages.
Stage four is choosing a lawyer. Most people sign up with the first lawyer they meet. As a rule, any lawyer who is successful is very good at ”closing the deal”. Most people are not able to withstand the personal power of a really good trial attorney who can determine the facts of their case, while being reassuring and confident. The next stage (stage five) is the actual conduct of the case and this is where future referrability is forged or not.
It’s in the back and forth communication and in the relationship between client and lawyer that the highest degree of appreciation and respect in the mind of the client can be built. Even if you do a superb job legally – if you do not communicate well with the client during this phase you are never going to get as many or as good referrals as you otherwise would have.
Stage six is the resolution in which a verdict is reached or a negotiated settlement with the insurance company.
Stage seven is the aftermath – which is the rest of their life, but usually is limited to a year or two after the case is resolved.
In stage seven a person is in the process of transforming from a victim back to their own self. And, linked in their mind to their victimhood is the fact that a lawyer on a white charger came and saved them from disaster. If they have a good relationship with that lawyer they are very much disposed to telling other people and to giving referrals.
Their identity could shift from victim of injustice to champion of a bringer of justice. But, if they don’t have a good relationship with the lawyer – even if the settlement was wonderful and beyond their wildest expectations – they will not refer.
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