This article was originally published on March 12, 2020 in the ABA Journal.

Have you ever sent an email to a prospective client and not received a reply? Perhaps, you followed up by sending another email or two, and after still not hearing anything in response, you gave up. All too often, lawyers drop the ball when it comes to effectively following up with prospects for fear of being judged as pushy or pests.

Three key obstacles can keep lawyers from being effective with follow-up.

OBSTACLE #1: THEY MAKE FALSE ASSUMPTIONS

When lawyers don’t hear back from a prospect, they often make up all kinds of assumptions—often based in fear—as to why the other person hasn’t responded, such as:

  • “They must not be interested.”
  • “They will get annoyed if I keep following up, and I don’t want to seem like a pest.”
  • “They will think I’m desperate.”
  • “If they’re serious, they’ll respond or reach out to me.”

OBSTACLE #2: THEY FEAR REJECTION

We fear rejection and usually don’t like having to put ourselves out there because that means being vulnerable. Rejection is no fun. This is why so many lawyers avoid being persistent with their follow-up efforts. This obstacle can be the hardest to overcome.

OBSTACLE #3: THEY DO NOT KNOW THE RIGHT APPROACH

Lawyers often mistakenly assume that follow-up means continuing to reach back out to the prospect with the same ask over and over again. It’s no wonder they’d fear looking like a pest. Either they go about it the wrong way or they get stuck when not knowing the right approach, so they don’t do much of anything.

THERE IS A BETTER WAY

By challenging assumptions, adopting a new mindset and using strategic approaches to follow-up, you can be much more effective and achieve better outcomes.

Case in point: One of our clients—a BigLaw female partner—was ready to give up on following up with a prospect after he failed to reply to her last two emails; she assumed that he was not interested. But after we helped her develop a different mindset and approach for her follow-up, she took additional actions that led to the prospective client responding and ultimately sending her new work. If she had given up when she first wanted to, she would not be serving this Fortune100 technology client now.

The following tips will help you be more effective in following up.

To read the full article in the ABA Journal, please click here

To your success!