Should you highlight a free consultation?

Free law firm consultationMany law firms do free initial consultations.  For many law firms, the thought is that if you offer free consultations, the law firm stands to get more business because it helps get clients in the door.  In other words, many make the “free consultation” the central piece of their marketing plan.

One can debate the wisdom of free initial consultations in the first place.  Some would argue that free consultations simply results in lots of potential clients looking for free legal advice.  Some would argue that quality potential clients will be happy to pay a consultation fee, just like they would ordinarily pay a fee for seeing a doctor or dentist in most circumstances.  On the other hand, some argue that like lowering taxes, if you offer free consultations, you are essentially stimulating the economy of your law firm by making an initial meeting risk-free for a potential client.

No matter the competing arguments, many law firms ultimately choose to do free initial consultations.  Some law firms do free initial consultations across the board.  Other law firms may limit it to one-free initial consultation for 60 or 30-minute for example.

Regardless, if you are doing free initial consultations, it’s probably still wise not to overly highlight  the phrase “free initial consultation” on your webpage and advertisements.  In other words, when potential clients call, you can tell them that do a free consultation as a courtesy to them.  You can also explain that the consultation is risk-free because there is no cost to the potential client.  You might also explain that you do complimentary consultations on your webpage and advertisements in a more subtle way way that doesn’t make it the primary theme.

However, the “free consultation” shouldn’t be your selling point in terms of getting your phone to ring in the first place.  In other words, from a marketing perspective, the phrase “free consultation” probably shouldn’t be plastered in bold font on your webpage or advertisements in the most visible place.  It shouldn’t be the first thing a potential client sees on your webpage or advertisements.  Put another way, the “free consultation” shouldn’t be your major selling point or marketing plan.

If you make it such, the reality is that you may well end up attracting the lower quality potential clients who are not serious about proceeding with a case or who are simply seeking free legal advice.  Overly emphasizing “free consultations” might also cause a potential client to think that the attorney or law firm is not in-demand.

However, if you want to offer a free consultation as a courtesy to clients, and to help stimulate new business, that may be a strategy that works for some law firms.  But for most, just don’t make the phrase “free consultation” the central piece of your law firm webpage or advertisements.  If you do so, it is likely counter-productive.  Try, instead, to come up with other attributes about your law firm that you feel are positives worthy of being highlighted.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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