Does “always be closing” ring a bell? If not, you may not be a rainmaker! If not, watch the movie Glengarry Glenn Ross’ famous Alec Baldwin “ABC” or “coffee is for closers” scenes on YouTube. Why? It always lights a fire in the belly that there are others out there competing against you and you need to work to keep up. I firmly believe that anyone can bring in business with enough effort.
However, as in Glen Garry Glen Ross, there is a downside to closing the deal! In personal injury law, most of the time, the first lawyer to speak with the client gets the case. That is just the way it is in auto litigation. In more complex cases, like a pelvic mesh case, I will refer those cases out to firms that specialize in that area.
In auto law, if you are the first person to speak with a client, it is important to have the client understand that their case has low, medium, or high value. If you don’t give a valuation range to a client, often they may not stay with you. If the client thinks that you are a lawyer who will settle for the first offer, then why would they stick with you?
I close most of my client interactions where I see a case that is worth pursuing. People like that I generally do not speak to them like a lawyer and that I empathize with their plights. With that being said, I have lost clients to other lawyers and it sticks in my craw. The worst is when it is a larger case that wanders off to some other lawyer for no reason. We have a whole protocol we are supposed to follow in taking cases from other lawyers when clients are unhappy, but people only seem to follow it when the case is not good.
My clients rarely have interacted with lawyers. Thirty-five percent of the time they are coming to me from google or other internet searches. What that tells me is that they do not know any lawyers or don’t have faith in the ones they do know. The other sixty-five percent come through word of mouth referrals and hence know lawyers and have a higher level of faith in what I am telling them. So, your typical internet referral client requires more convincing 1) that they have a case worth pursuing and 2) that I am the lawyer for them, that I am trustworthy etc.
Finally, if you tell a client that $100,000 is the case value and over time the case declines in value for whatever reason, you are going to have to get the client to come off of their $100,000 expectation that YOU put there. That is not fun. Clients understand it, but it is not a fun conversation.