Are you looking to grow your law firm?
It’s no easy thing. Competition has never been fiercer, and your prospective clients have never been more selective.
So what can your firm do to stand out?
What if we said that the answer might not be out there, but within your office right now?
What if we said that the most impactful thing you could do to grow your law firm is to invest in the team you already have?
This article will break down why investing in training and development for your existing legal team may bring about more business growth than any marketing campaign.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Social media
- Digital advertising
- Conversion funnels
- Legal intake
- How to hire the best people
Benefits of Training Your Law Firm’s Team
There are many benefits of professional development that have a powerful impact on your law firm’s bottom line. Trained employees are more engaged and perform their tasks better at all levels.
Let’s take a closer look at the top three benefits of staff training and professional development.
Benefit #1: Professional Development Helps to Retain Your Employees
Professional development is one of the most popular employee benefits.
In a survey of over 400 professionals, 70% of respondents said that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay. And that number is even higher with millennials. 87% say that access to professional training and development is very important to their decision to remain at a job or leave it.
In fact, 68% of workers claim that training and development is the most important company policy.
And it’s up to you, their leaders, to make it happen.
Unfortunately, just 26% of business leaders report that employee engagement or training is a vital business area that they think about, plan, and do every day. 42% reported that they work on it frequently, and the rest only occasionally, rarely or never.
On the other hand, managers who report that they “think about, plan for and work on engaging their employees every day” are 3.5x more likely than others to say their team is willing to do what it takes, even if it means going “above and beyond.”
Those who prioritize engaging their employees daily also have lower turnover rates than other teams. 64% of those leaders report their own teams to be “much better” than others in terms of turnover.
By investing in your team, you not only help them be better at their jobs — you set yourself apart as a boss that cares about your employees.
And if someone is good at their job and happy with their boss, why would they quit?
Benefit #2: Training Helps Your Law Firm Outperform Your Competitors
So an investment in training and development results in your team sticking with your firm through thick and thin.
But what about performance?
Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%, on average. And that’s not all. Companies that invest in employee training enjoy a 24% higher profit margin versus companies that don’t.
But why? Why does continued training have such an impact on a firm’s success?
The answer is simple:
The market evolves quickly.
There are always new marketing channels, tools, and strategies. Generations shift, and with them, priorities and selling points change. If your firm stays the same, it won’t be on top for long. Instead, make sure you invest in continuous training for your staff. Highly-trained staff will give you an edge on your competitors. From marketing and sales to matters of the law, high-performers will help you outperform them in all areas.
Benefit #3: Training Improves the ROI of Your Legal Team
Companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training.
And that’s the bottom line, right? Is your practice benefiting from a hire, or losing money? That’s the essence of employee ROI. Do they create more value than the investment of retaining them?
Some of you might protest at the idea of calculating employee ROI. But the value a team member produces for your firm is just a result of how good they are at their job. We already covered that trained employees are much more engaged at work, so it’s not like you will be improving the ROI at the expense of your team.
Professional development benefits everyone, from senior partners and leadership to individual staff members.
Top law firm training tip:
Be sure you’re keeping track of your team’s training.
For instance, Crisp Academy (offered exclusively through Crisp Coach programs) offers your law firm customized curriculum planning and reporting to keep your team on track — and keeps you in the loop every step of the way.
With this approach, you always know which team members are on track and hitting their goals, and which ones might need a little extra encouragement. The added accountability ensures that every member finishes the training and reaps the rewards. Effective learning plans help train your staff while maintaining their work-life balance.
Essential Subjects Your Law Firm’s Team Needs to Learn
Many attorneys think that the end-all-be-all of professional development is law seminars. Taking your litigation and defense to the next level is all that matters. But if you’re focused on growing your firm, there are other essential areas your team needs to master.
We’ll cover four essential subjects to train your staff in — subjects that will help your firm’s bottom line.
In the digital age, you don’t want to rely on price as a selling argument. The internet has enabled large firms to compete nationwide, and those large firms can afford to outbid you on ads and underbid your proposals to win new business.
The antidote to this commoditization is branding.
Your law firm’s brand defines every element of your marketing campaigns. But that’s not all. Your brand also positions you positively in the minds of both your staff and clients. A well-defined brand guides how all members of your team do their jobs. It helps potential clients choose your firm over competitors with flimsier brand images.
But communicating a clear brand message is no easy task.
To increase awareness of your firm, ensure your team is up-to-date on the most recent branding strategies and techniques. And above all, you need to clearly define your brand and reinforce it often with your entire staff. This approach will turn your entire team into a branding machine.
Real-world law firm example:
Alexander Shmulsky, of Alexander Shmulsky Law, has seen the power of branding first hand. Instead of rushing into a branding strategy or digital marketing, he bided his time running his practice.
Before he even thought about branding or video, he spent years personally interacting with and closing leads. He understood the factors and arguments that made each client choose him:
“Clients pick my firm based upon our reputation for providing the best possible outcome in criminal cases,” he explains.
In an attempt to skip the “convincing” part of the process and focus exclusively on his ideal clients, Shmulsky worked with Crisp Video to plan and create a video that assuaged the doubts of his prospective clients and started closing potential clients right on the website. As a result, the law firm saw a 100% increase in ideal cases and a 33% lift in average case value.
To date, the return-on-investment for that branding video is more than 600%, and the number will only keep rising.
#2: Social Media Marketing
But if you want to leverage your new brand positioning to its full potential, it’s not enough to get a video produced and post it on your website.
You need to build a presence on social media, where you can reach a broader audience.
Just because you are a lawyer, and the industry gets a bad rap by the general public, doesn’t mean social media isn’t right for you.
Attorneys can use engaging video with a combined paid and organic push to get great results on social media.
Every person who watches the video is not going to need your services right away. But making a great impression on someone is like money in the bank.
71% of US consumers who had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their family and friends.
So long term, having team members in your law firm that know how to leverage social media can be a massive boon to your business.
#3: Digital Advertising
Digital advertising can give you great returns on your advertising dollars. On average, businesses double their investment with Google Ads, and social media ads can be just as powerful.
At 1.61%, the legal industry has the highest average click-through-rate for Facebook Ads:
Both those stats are exciting, but before you can boost brand awareness with a Facebook advertising campaign or drive a single client from Google Ads, you need to know what you’re doing.
So training is essential. Digital advertising moves faster than other marketing areas. Degrees and certifications become obsolete fast.
Your team needs to be familiar with the latest platforms, trends, strategies, and tactics. They also need in-depth knowledge of analytics and marketing automation tools.
You also need to understand law firm email marketing to maximize returns from your ad campaigns. It’s not something you can do overnight, but most senior or managing partners are busy. They run high-profile cases, act as lead counsel, and educate junior attorneys. They don’t have time to become digital marketing experts.
But investing in your team’s existing marketing team or junior team members — investing in their professional development — can both increase employee retention at your firm and give you the advertising presence you need.
#4: Conversion Funnels
By creating a trustworthy brand and leveraging social media and paid digital ads to spread the word, you can build an effective platform for your firm. You will get a lot of eyeballs on your social media posts, and interested prospects will visit your site and maybe even fill out a contact form.
But if you don’t know how to build a relationship with online prospects at scale, most of those potential clients will go to waste.
That’s where conversion funnels come in.
They help give you some control of the buyer’s journey of every Facebook user that watches your video, or prospect that visits your website. By using tools like automated emails and retargeting ads, you can tell prospects the whole story about your firm and help them choose you over your competitors.
A team that knows conversion funnels can help you turn social media followers and site visitors into clients that sign the dotted line.
#5: Legal Intake
Most law firms struggle to improve their legal intake. In fact, it’s one of the top challenges law firms face across the country.
Pricing pressure and winning new business are both issues that relate to your firm’s intake efficiency.
Effectively using the consultation call to turn a prospect into a client is a skill. And it’s not a skill that most attorneys or receptionists are born with. It’s a sales skill — one that requires an understanding of both your firm and how to turn a call into a client.
But telemarketing and cold sales training won’t give your employees the tools to succeed. You might even notice reduced conversion rates if they use pushier sales tactics after training.
Instead, you will need to develop scripts and processes that align with your law firm’s brand and its values. If you have top performers, analyze how they are handling calls compared to other staff.
Instead of using old-timey analog methods, you should integrate CRM and marketing automation tools into your arsenal.
A team that has mastered conversion funnels knows how to build relationships with leads and set your intake team up for success.
Learn how to use your prospect data to help your team close more potential clients. What it takes to convert a lead into a client changes from person to person, and your intake process must reflect this.
#6: Hiring the Best People
Every company wants to hire the best person for the job — and with good reason. Research has shown that top talent produces four times the value of an average employee.
Even with a training program in place, their drive and passion will help them outperform other staff.
Whether your firm has a dedicated HR team or a partner or founder in charge of hiring, they need to know the secrets to acquire top talent.
To attract top talent, you need to understand the motivators that drive potential employees to apply for a position.
The top factors won’t surprise anyone. Wages and location are a top priority for job seekers, no surprise there.
But moving your offices to Washington DC and doubling salaries isn’t a viable strategy.
Focus on promoting your law firm’s work-life balance, growth opportunities, flexibility, and culture. Your firm also needs to discover where the top talent in their region is. They need to identify hot spots — law schools, organizations, even specific internships — that pump out unicorns (the one-in-a-million team-members who can help your law firm grow). Then, you must also learn the right away to attract these students and young professionals.
Mastering branding, positioning, and digital advertising are vital pieces of this puzzle. So is developing a strategic hiring funnel to make sure you are bringing on the best possible fits for your law firm’s culture, and the ones that have the strengths necessary for them to thrive in the roles you are looking to fill.
The ultimate goal is a marketing and sales machine that nets your law firm a long list of interested high-quality candidates every year.
It’s a hard task, but the payoff is enormous. Get it right, and the diverse skills and passion offered by these unicorns will become the resources that help grow your firm.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the role that training and development play in your firm’s growth.
Your team is your most valuable resource.
Not your ad budget or your website — it’s your people that make the difference.
Professional training and development through programs like Crisp Academy make all the difference. They can help you retain your employees and increase your firm’s profitability while also improving your team’s performance.
As part of our Crisp Coach programs, you can also connect with like-minded professionals, and learn from their successes and mistakes.
Are you ready to get started? To learn more about training and development opportunities for your firm’s team, check out Crisp Academy, and request an invitation today