They’ve filled out a contact us form, made an appointment, sat down with you or an associate, and discussed what needed to happen to protect their assets, realize their charitable giving goals, minimize their estate’s tax liability and distribute their wealth over generations. Then, silence.
Most estate planning attorneys have a process in place where, at a certain time, a form letter is sent to tell their almost-a-client that they are no longer engaged in the process of preparing their estate plan. But are there steps in between that could bring that person back into the office and help them become a client?
Are they the right fit for your practice? To find out, you’ll want to call and have a brief conversation. Keep it light and breezy. Was there anything in particular that was a stopping point? It may be awkward, but you’ll want to find out what the stopping point was. Was there a personality issue? Did they not feel comfortable with the plan you presented them with? Direct questions, posed in a kind manner, may elicit useful information.
Are they shopping for a less expensive attorney? Chances are, you’d prefer to work with clients who respect the work you do and aren’t looking to squeeze you on fees. But knowing this is a lot easier than wondering what happened. You can simply thank them for the feedback, or explain that your fees are based on an understanding of the skill and time it takes to properly prepare their estate plan. Keep it light!
Do they have questions or is there a situation that they have not disclosed? There is an old adage from the world of psychiatry that the real truth comes out in the last ten minutes of a therapy session. Often couples are reluctant to discuss difficult situations in a first meeting. One member of the couple may be more willing to have the conversation, or they may need to come back for a second in-person meeting.
Keep communicating! It’s easy to push estate planning to the back burner. That’s just human nature, and we all know it. But a steady stream of communication, including eNewsletters, blog digests, even printed materials, will keep you in their minds and encourage them to move forward. IMS offers an E2 CRM that is all about communicating with clients efficiently, automatically and easily.