Initial consultations: The little things that can matter

Initial consultation with lawyerLittle things matter for lawyers in initial consultations. Sometimes, it isn’t just about what a lawyer says or how well they listen. It can be the small things that many do not think about that can make a difference.

Below are some little things that can make a big difference when meeting with a potential client for a consultation:

1. What view do you give the potential client? In other words, are the blinds open? Is the client getting a nice view out of the window? Or are the blinds down or the potential client facing a wall? If you give the client a nice view, and not make the potential client feel as if they are in a cave, it can make the potential client relax and feel more comfortable.

2. Are you sitting at the head of the table? Or are you sitting across the table from the potential client? This might seem like it is not very important, but sitting at the head of the table is a power position that exudes the type of confidence many want in a lawyer.

3. Do you have the chair pulled out for the client before or as they enter the conference room? The reality is that chivalry is not dead. If you do this, it helps alleviate the initial uncomfortableness about where everybody is going to sit. This can put a potential client at ease.

4. Do you have your fee agreements in the consultation room with you? While you should never pull out a fee agreement until the client says they want to hire you (to avoid the appearance of being a pushy salesperson), having them with you in the room in someplace discreet is much preferred to having to leave the room, retrieve one and come back.

5. Are you limiting the number of notes you are taking and instead focus on making eye contact? The reality is that you really should not take a ton of notes until the potential client has decided to hire you. If you do, you will not only have to store these notes for years to come (as you would any client file), you will detract from the personal connection you could make by looking at the potential client in the eyes, which shows warmth and empathy. Any notes you take in an initial consultation should be limited to the bare essentials until you know this person is going to be your client.

While these may seem like little things of minimal importance, attorneys who focus on little things can see significant improvement in their initial consultation conversion rates.

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

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