Williamsons: "How we hit 70% conversion rates"

Hull-based Williamsons Solicitors have been working with First4Lawyers and enjoy conversion rates at around 70% after changing from a vetting-led to a sales-led process.

Partner Jim Suthers explains:

"When new clients contact the firm, particularly those that have come through First4Lawyers where a lot of the information regarding their accident and injuries has already been obtained, we make sure we don’t treat this call as a vetting process; instead we focus on client capture by selling ourselves to the client.

"We aim to do this by building a quick rapport with the client and to try and avoid repetition in light of the questions which they would have already been asked prior to the direct call transfer.

"The conversation typically follows a set agenda:

  • We give a brief introduction as to who they are speaking to (together with their qualifications as far as PI experience is concerned), followed by telling them that we are sorry to hear that they have been involved in an accident and quickly emphasise to them that we have already received an email from F4L so they do not need to worry about being asked the same questions all over again.
  • We then talk to the client about whether their claim is viable.
  • Explain what is involved in pursuing their claim.
  • Explain how a successful claim would be valued.
  • Explain how the claim is funded.

"If for example a client has been injured in an accident at work, we would simply explain to them that because they have had an accident at work does not mean that they are automatically entitled to compensation.

"However, in order to succeed with a claim we would need to show that their accident was caused due to their employer's negligence and/or breach of health and safety regulations.

"We would then use this opportunity to clarify any obvious points regarding the circumstances of the accident or just go straight to explaining that, based on the information we have, we consider that they have a claim worth further investigation.

"We then explain how the claim would be pursued in terms of the Protocol requirements, to include what steps are necessary and time scales involved, with an emphasis on the claim being pursued against the employer's insurance company directly under the new Protocol.

"Next stage is to explain how we value the claim with a quick breakdown between General Damages and Special Damages, with an opportunity to emphasise to the client to keep a tally and receipts for Special Damages, and in more serious injuries a recommendation that they keep a daily diary as to how their injuries are affecting them.

"When discussing the injuries we always refer to the fact that personal injury claims these days are not always just about compensation and very often we will look at encouraging the insurers to engage in rehabilitation, which is another good selling point, particularly in more serious cases.

"We then conclude by explaining to the client that because we feel they have a reasonable claim worthy of further investigation, that we can accept the claim on a 'no win no fee' basis and then give them full details regarding the funding; we do not negotiate down from the 25% deduction.

"We generally find that by being able to keep to that agenda the average time for this process is approximately five to eight minutes.

"At the end of the funding explanation rather asking the client if they have any questions, we go to the 'closing the deal question' by simply asking, 'are you happy to proceed on that basis?'

"If the client raises any concerns at this point then it is very important that we look to address this – by simply asking what is making them unsure and deal with the concern.

"Usually clients confirm that they are happy to proceed so at that point we explain briefly to them what paperwork we will need to send out to them (i.e. CFA, a Personal Injury information leaflet and a client care letter) and I also give them the option of sending a sign-up agent if they would like further explanation of the documents in person or alternatively for the paperwork to be either posted or emailed to them (we are also presently piloting a sign-up company who can actually enable clients to sign the paperwork online and return it the same day).

"We then conclude by explaining to them who would be the person who has day to day conduct of the claim, once again emphasising their qualifications and experience and also telling them what they can expect regarding contact and next steps.

"It is only at this point at the very end of the process that we then ask them if they have got any specific/additional questions before ending the call.

"In cases where we have not used a sign-up agent, we then have a process whereby the matter is diarised for a period of no more than five days, at which point a courtesy call is made to the client purely to enquire as to whether they have received the documentation.

"At 10 days if the documents have not come back we will send them a friendly chaser letter which states that we trust they have had chance to review the documentation, explains the funding again and concludes that we look forward to receiving the signed copies, alternatively it gives the client the option to contact us further.

"We are aiming for a 75% conversion rate for CFA's signed and returned by clients, currently we’re just shy of that, but the above process has now been in place for about six months, and prior to the implementation our conversation rates were around about 50-55%.

"A great deal of this process comes from a course I attended with Howard Cooper, entitled: How to convert more business. I would highly recommend this course to any law firm looking to convert more enquiries, whether by telephone or in person."


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