If your firm offers assistance with estate law, then it’s important to know that you’re going to be working with a different type of client than most other law firms. The people who come to you to plan their estate are people who are putting together some very serious plans for their future and the future of their families. They are also people who are making major decisions that they are likely to have next-to-no experience with, initially. As such, it’s important to make sure you introduce them to concepts they need to know in a meaningful and thoughtful way and know how to speak directly to their concerns. Here are a few ways to do that.
Know what they’re looking for
People who look for estate planning attorneys tend to be looking for a few things in particular. For one, they want to make sure that they have an experienced hand that isn’t going to cause problems for them. They want someone who can communicate the aspects of estate planning that they may not understand too well. They want someone who will stay in touch to update them on the progress of various parts of estate planning. Most importantly, they want a partner that is regularly available. Most clients aren’t going to call their estate planning lawyers unless it’s vitally important, so make sure that you are accessible.
Make sure your website offers peace of mind
Estate planning is a pretty new concept to a lot of people, with a lot of new terms and considerations to learn. However, it is also of vital importance to people who want to make sure that their assets are used in the way that they want. As such, it can be confusing and intimidating. You should make sure that you do your best to dispel that feeling, such as by investing in a good legal firm website design that makes use of simple navigation tools and clear assets to highlight the different points of interest to the client.
Lead your client on a journey
Some clients will come to you with knowledge of how to start planning their estate, but many more are going to be brand new. You should start by gauging their knowledge. You can do this in person or over the phone by asking how much they have already thought about how they want to plan their estate or if they are new to it. On the website, however, you should structure content to lead them on a journey, giving them a clear call-to-action to click if they are new to the process, leading them to a landing page that will explain the basics of estate planning and how you can help them.
Publish guides on concepts that they need to know
Throughout your time in both marketing to and working with your clients, you are going to have to help them come to an understanding of the terms of estate planning that they may have heard before, but not have a complete understanding of. Writing a blog that answers many of their much crucial questions, such as what is power of attorney, can help them develop the understanding they need. Of course, you should be there to clarify any misunderstandings in person, but a lot of clients may like to do their own homework so that when they talk to you they can do it with some shared reference.
Speak kindly and patiently
When you’re directly in touch with a client, be it in person or over the phone, you should mind how you speak to them, especially depending on what stage of their life they are considering estate planning. Lawyers are used to being very careful with their choice of words, since the legal definition of terms can the common definition can often differ, but this focus on professionalism can result in a rather impersonal approach. Take the time to work on your tone of voice and how you speak to clients. People who are planning their estate are more often than not quite old and even considering the end of their life, so they need compassion and care.
Write and talk with clarity and definition
One of the big problems that a lot of attorneys have, especially if they haven’t worked directly with too many clients, is that you will naturally use the language of someone who has spent years learning about estate law. You might have been surrounded by similar people, too, so the way in which you talk about it will reflect that. It’s easy to slip into jargon and to talk about topics as if you’re speaking to a peer rather than someone who might not know much about what you’re talking about. Be sure that you write and talk with clarity and give room for definitions so that people can quickly catch up with you on the topic and you can make sure that you have a shared understanding.
Stay in touch
While you are in the middle of helping a client plan their estate, you should not be a stranger to them or someone that they are nervous to get in touch with. Legal business of all kinds can make clients feel a little antsy and they might not want to interrupt your work, meaning that they will hold back on getting in touch even if they have questions or concerns that do legitimately need to be addressed. The best way that you can get rid of any hesitation to contact you is to do it first. Stay in touch with them by calling, encouraging them to sign up for a newsletter, or even on social media. Build the bridge and they will be less hesitant to use it.
Estate planning can be confusing and, yes, it can be upsetting to many clients. With the tips above, however, you can ensure that your clients know what they need to and that you position yourself as the authority to help them get through it as simply as possible.