In divorce services client management initial rapport is paramount right from the first phone call to the first visit.
In all aspects of life, first impressions can have a profound effect on success. When interacting with a potential client, how you handle your initial communications will determine whether or not they actually become your client.
In the divorce services business, client management begins with your first client phone call and first office visit to quickly build trust. Clients considering divorce are naturally in a vulnerable state of mind, and putting them at emotional ease is essential.
One important way to put your potential customers at ease is to project a warm, sensitive, and caring demeanor. Expressing empathy can make a huge difference in how comfortable people feel in deciding to work with you.
First Telephone Call
Client management for your divorce services business starts with the initial telephone contact. When people call your office for information, they are usually anxious, upset, and unsure of what to do. This is your opportunity to reassure them that you can help them. Establish rapport by telling them your name, asking for their name, and then using their name continuously during the conversation.
Start by finding out their goal, what help they might need, and getting their pertinent information. This is a good place to relate your own personal divorce experience or someone you have helped. A personal story will be helpful in cementing the personal bond that is important to make with your clients.
Now, you can discuss how you can help them. Give them a brief outline of their options in contemplating divorce. How the various processes work, how long it should take, and emphasize that if they and their spouse are in agreement on the details of the divorce they will not even have to go to court. At the end, discuss your service fees and explain your payment schedule, as well as the cost of any court fees.
If you are not an attorney, be sure to let them know that you cannot give them legal advice, but you can provide them with materials that have been approved by an attorney. Emphasize that you can help them understand the process so they can decide the best way to proceed, and that they can save thousands of dollars by pursuing a peaceful divorce instead of going through litigation in the court system.
After answering their questions, ask them if they would like to schedule an appointment. If they are not quite ready to meet with you, express your willingness to speak with them again, if they have further questions. Summarize how you can help them by reiterating the option they have of peaceful divorce, how you can help them plan and facilitate the divorce process to achieve a peaceful with a fair outcome at a reasonable cost.
First Office Visit
When clients arrive, make them feel safe and comfortable. Give them your full attention (let phone calls go to voice mail), and make sure you have scheduled sufficient time for the meeting so they don’t feel rushed.
If you are not an attorney, reiterate that you cannot give legal advice, and explain again what you can do for them. Also reassure them that if they do need any legal advice or representation, you will refer them to an attorney.
If they want to proceed with the divorce, explain how the legal system works in your state, and considerations that they may need to deal with such as property division, child visitation and support, and/or spousal support. Make sure they understand your fees and payment policies have them sign your contract, and collect whatever deposit you have agreed on. Give them a questionnaire and the financial forms to fill out. You can start typing the legal forms as they finish each page of the questionnaire, and have them sign the initial forms required in your state to start the divorce proceedings.
At the end of the first office visit, tell them what you will do next (i.e., file the paperwork; make arrangements for the papers to be served, if required, etc.). Also tell your client what they need to do next (perhaps gather missing information) and when to contact you for the next meeting.
Your first contact with potential clients should communicate your professionalism and your sensitivity to their situation. Your first objective is to put them at ease, inspire confidence and build rapport quickly. Once you are sure you have done that now you can begin to help them understand the value of your divorce services.
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