We, lawyers, love to overexplain! We get into a consultation and blab about every contingency, detailed plans A-Z on how we’ll tackle the case, and even the legal theories we’re going to put forward. We want the client to envision the outcome the way we do, but in reality, we’re just blurring the situation even more for the client.
Let me tell you this – clients are not interested in the HOW. They fear the outcome of their situation. They’re aware of their lack of legal knowledge. That’s why they come to you for help. All the legal mumbo-jumbo you throw at them will only ignite their fear more.
To run your law firm like a business, you have to stop overexplaining and focus on how to improve your communication with your clients. You need to prove you’re the best, if not the only solution for their problem.
How do you do that? By simply answering these 4 questions for your potential client:
- “Can you help me?”
- “How long will it take?”
- “How much will it cost?”
- “What do you need from me?”
That’s it. When it comes down to it, clients are only interested in knowing if you can help them with their problem, and if so, where and how will you need their participation? Where would you need their presence? What documents do you need from them?
I used to overexplain things to my clients, and at the end of my explanation, my clients would consistently say things like, “So you’re saying that I can’t get my green card?” Although I was explaining to them all the reasons I could get them their green card, the problem was that I wasn’t being clear with them. I didn’t say outright, “You qualify for your green card.” I just went straight to the process of applying for a green card, I didn’t assure them first that I could help them.
People come to a professional because they want your professional opinion. You don’t need to hedge your bets and go down every rabbit hole of a possible outcome. You can simply tell the client what he or she is eligible for and what the possible results are – either win or lose.
It doesn’t matter how educated your clients are. Whether you’re working for a doctor or a gardener, in the end, they aren’t as educated with the law as you are. Proving we’re experts in our areas of practice doesn’t mean getting into long conversations. It’s about communicating our knowledge effectively.
Overexplaining turns your clients off. Get straight to the point during consultations.
Some lawyers argue that clients appreciate being educated with all the legal stuff, so they stray away from using the more straightforward and concise method. But ask your clients again about their understanding of the legal side of their situation after about a month, and I can guarantee you they still won’t be able to explain it in legalese the way a lawyer might.
When you answer the aforementioned 4 questions as directly as you can, you save yourself and your client time and energy, and your client will be able to decide more immediately whether or not they want to hire you to solve their problem. Plus, explaining complicated matters in a simplified way will make your clients think, “Wow. This lawyer really knows what she’s doing. It all makes sense to me now!”
If you can believe it, I have even more knowledge to share on this topic! If you’d like to learn more about what to cover during consultations, sign up for my Six Figure Solo program! Six Figure Solo now comes in three tiers – Executive, Solopreneur, and CEO. Sign up here!