People DO Judge a Book by It’s Cover! How Your Law Firm Can Make A Great First Impression!
by Ultimate Attorney | May 3, 2017 | Law Firm Optimization
In as little as 5 seconds, your clients will evaluate you and your firm for the first time. This first impression will set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

If the first impression is wrong, they are difficult to reverse.

That is why you want to be sure that your firm, and each individual they meet, gives a great first impression.
You should think of your client’s first meeting with you as if they were going on a journey. Think about every aspect of what they will see from the moment they park their car until they get back into their car on the way back home.
Here are some key points to consider as you create a great first impression for your client’s journey to your firm for an appointment.

1. The Exterior
The first impression your client will have of you firm is in the parking lot. Drive up and see it as a client. What do you feel?

- Is it clean?
- Is it well-maintained?
- Is parking easy to find?
- Are the sidewalks well-maintained?
- Is the front door well-marked? Is it easy to open?
- Do you have greenery as they enter? Is it alive?

2. The Reception Area 
Once your client arrives in the building, what do they see? At this point, you begin introducing people into the scenario. Not only do you need to look at the reception area, but also at those who receive your clients.

- Does the area feel friendly?
- Is it well-lit?
- Is the receptionist well-dressed?
- Is the receptionist polite and friendly?
- Is the reception desk neat and orderly?
- Is the waiting area comfortable?
- Is there up-to-date reading material available?
- Are all plants green and vibrant? (Or old and dead?)
- Does the decorating reflect your brand?
3. The Lawyer
Finally, the first impression of the lawyer they meet will make a big difference as to whether they are happy with their experience in your firm. Here are some tips to help your firm’s lawyers make an outstanding first impression.

Smile: Smiling at your client is a great way to make a good first impression. Smiling can also help put your client at ease. However, be sure that your smile is sincere. Clients are able to detect fake smiles a mile away.

Be Attentive: While your client is in the office, be sure that you are focused on them entirely. Turn off your cell phone, do not check your email, and stay involved in the conversation. Your client deserves 100% of your attention.

Timeliness: Do not run late for meetings. When you run late, you are suggesting to your client that your time is more valuable than theirs. It is far better to be early! This is also true when it comes to phone calls. Always return calls in a timely manner to show that you care.

Confidence: Be calm and confident. If you seem on-edge, your clients will feel on-edge as well. Be sure to show that you are capable.

Avoid Jargon: Many clients are upset when they visit a lawyer. You can help them feel more relaxed by using common terms and skipping the “Lawyer-eeze”.

Dress Appropriately: Clients expect lawyers to be dressed in a suit, with a tie for men and heels for women. Coming in wearing a polo shirt or jeans could signal that you are not serious or are not professional enough for their needs.

Be Tidy: You also need to think about how your hair, facial hair, and/or make-up look. You need to look the part of a lawyer.

Body Language: Be sure to have body language that shows you are confident. This means standing up tall, making eye contact, offering your hand for a handshake, and not crossing your arms in front of your chest.

Make Small Talk: Chatting with a client about something of common interest will help them feel more at ease. As you find ways to bond over similarities, you become allies. Clients want to have their lawyer as an ally.

4. The Follow-Up
Once a client leaves the office, you can continue to improve your impression by following up. Make sure that you have systems in place so that clients never have to wonder where their case stands. There is nothing worse than feeling forgotten. (Look for our upcoming blog post on Simple Email Marketing!)
By following these straightforward steps, you can make your client’s journey one that gives them a great first impression. You’ll find that great first impressions can lead to more business for your firm.
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