I’ve been in countless marketing meetings with attorneys. Usually, I’m the one who gets to dispel the marketing advice. But sometimes that works the other way, too.
In fact, one of the most memorable marketing meetings I’ve had with an attorney ended with perhaps one of the most valuable pieces of advice I had heard about getting online reviews.
It’s a question we get all the time – how to get reviews – and one that I had treated relatively casually until said meeting. You just have to ask for them, you have to make it a priority as an attorney, I thought. There’s not much a marketing team can do to help.
But alas, my perspective has been forever changed by Mr. Moustache. That’s the name we’ve given to our source as a tribute to his Ron Burgundy-level ‘stache, and I’m sure you will be – as we are – eternally grateful for him laying out literally the perfect system for generating online reviews for lawyers.
When I first read Mr. Moustache’s online reviews, with past clients referring to him as “a rock,” “a perfect advocate,” and a “miracle worker,” I was really surprised. It’s not too often that you see a law firm with that many positive, quality, raving reviews.
After hearing how he makes it happen, it started to make sense…
A quick review on why you should care about reviews – a lot
I don’t want to belabor this point because I know you know how important online reviews are, but it’s always nice to go into something with a reminder of why it matters.
Here’s why (data from ReviewTrackers):
- For 83% of people looking for an attorney, checking reviews is their first step.
- If you have better reviews than your competitors, 70% of people say they’re willing to travel to you, even if you’re in an inconvenient location for them.
‘Nuff said. If you’d like more data, check out this post from Martindale.
“Put the ask on.”
Okay, let’s get into how to make it happen.
First, it’s a mistake to think that all of your clients actually know how to write an online review.
Second, it’s a mistake to think that they’ll just do it.
They don’t, and they won’t.
As Mr. Moustache explains, you’ve got to put the ask on. It won’t just happen. Occasionally you’ll get a client who will think, “Hey, they did a great job, I’m going to leave a review.” But those are few and far between, even if you did an amazing job.
So the first thing to understand is that you’ve got to ask.
But when? When do you make that critical request?
I used to think that it was when you hand them the check, but I was wrong. Instead, you ask when you notify them that they’ve won, right after they say, “Wow, thank you!”
Because at that point, they’re elated, they’re eternally grateful to you… AND, they aren’t thinking about the math (your fees, medical bills, etc.).
“You’ve got to train clients how to write reviews.”
Now let’s look at the how. How do you go about asking them?
A lot of attorneys stumble here. They don’t want to impose or seem aggressive, or they ask in a way that makes it seem like an afterthought.
This is not an afterthought.
You need to make that clear to your clients. This is something that has a profound impact on your firm’s business, and you should be honest about that.
So – after you say “We’ve won!” and they say “Awesome!” you say something along these lines…
“Would you mind leaving us a review online?” If you did a good job, they shouldn’t have a problem saying yes.
Then you say, “Great. Do I have your permission to send a gentle reminder in the event you forget or things get in the way?”
The point here is to get their agreement – you want a “Yes,” meaning they’re willing to hear from you about a review in a follow-up email.
Then you – or an assistant – should check if the review has been left. If, after a couple of weeks, you haven’t seen anything from the client, you send the email that you got permission to send.
In that email, you say something like, “Thanks for your permission to follow up about a review, it means a lot to me and my firm. Remember how it was that you found me? Would you be willing to help the next person who is catastrophically hurt and doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t know where to turn? Would you help them make the right choice?”
What stands out to me the most here – and probably you as well – is how authentic it is. You’re open about the fact that you need their help. But you’re relying upon what you’ve done for them, how you’ve helped them recover from a traumatic situation, to encourage them to help you.
When framed that way, how could they deny you?
After all, around 70% of clients will leave you a review if you ask, and if you make it this straightforward and urgent, that could easily become a greater percentage.
Also, you should consider adding a portion that explains what you’re looking for in a review. Getting the review itself is the important first step, but doing what you can to make sure that it’s quality is a bit trickier. To an extent, you’ve got to train clients how to write reviews.
It can help a lot to include something like this in the above email (bullet points for clarity):
“I’d like you to think about the aspect of my representation to you that was personally most valuable and important.
What was the difference?
Would you be willing to share that in your review?
Because there are a lot of really bogus, cookie-cutter, inauthentic reviews out there and I’d like for you to really think about the difference to you.
Also, could you use my full name at the beginning of the review? We don’t want to seem like some big firm, we want people to know that you get personalized attention here.
It would help both me and people caught in a situation like yours in the future.”
This takes the guesswork out for clients – what to write in the review – and goes a long way in making sure that what they write goes beyond just a star rating and vague feedback. After all, people looking for an attorney actually read reviews themselves, so you want them to be as authentic and impactful as possible.
“There’s a reason we have those great reviews. We worked for them.”
This might be the most important lesson of all.
It’s the response I initially got from Mr. Moustache when I asked about his firm’s amazing reviews in Google, and it rang true throughout our conversation.
For example, he said that sometimes clients will say that they don’t speak English very well, and feel uncomfortable about writing a review. What many firms do in that case is say, “Do your best!” — meaning that either the client won’t leave a review or it may not end up reading very well.
Leave nothing to chance.
Instead, say something along the lines of, “Having represented you for the past X months/years, here’s what I think you would say about my representation…” and write the review for them.
Then, email it to them and ask if it reflects their opinion accurately, and request that they post it.
Done and… done.
Now make it happen!
When attorneys ask us how they can improve their online presence, one of the very first things we look at are reviews. It seems like a simple thing, but it requires dedication and process, which is too often taken for granted.
But don’t leave any of it to chance. While it might be easier to focus your efforts on a website, social media, etc., this is something that deserves your attention and effort, because it can make all the difference to your online presence.