Probate Marketing Explained – How To Get Probate Clients
Whilst some solicitors are struggling to market probate services to generate new clients, others have as many probate clients as they can cope with. Which category do you fall in?
Marketing probate services has changed dramatically from just a few years ago. It used to be the case that if you had Wills in the basement, the probate instructions would naturally follow.
“Nick Jervis is the man – especially if you have a law business. I’ve been a convert for nearly 10 months now. It has made a huge difference. I am well on the way to tripling my turnover. Enjoy legals. It works.”
Viv, Petone, New Zealand
Now, you are much more likely to have the offspring turn up to collect the Will so that they can administer the probate themselves, or take it to their local solicitor. Can you do anything to change this? Can you generate more probate instructions or is it time to give up?
When it comes to marketing probate services, I am pleased to tell you that I have a system that you can replicate to generate as many new probate instructions as you would like to receive.
I will even tell you the three forms of marketing that you will only ever need to market your probate services and show you how to use them.
Simply enter your details below to receive more information about this system for marketing probate services.
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Paul Doran – Doran Law Solicitors
“I went to see Nick in 2012 when I need to drastically change my publicity strategy generally and my website. He gave me a great deal of very wise advice and as a result, my turnover has increased considerably. My website was also revamped and this is now regularly at the top of the Google Adwords site resulting in far more enquiries in a week than I previously had in a month! I cannot thank Nick enough for this and will thoroughly recommend his firm to anyone who enquires.”
Martin Smith, Martin T Smith Solicitor
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If you are looking to grow your Probate Services, how should you do this?
Let’s look at the most successful forms of marketing probate services.
1. Referral Partners
You would think that this part would be easy.
There are a lot of people involved in the probate service, the key people being the undertakers. They are notified as soon as a death occurs, so clearly have a lot of sway.
However, in my experience, they are rarely keen to refer to solicitors. I feel that this is due to them already having to cover a lot of core bases which must all take place quite quickly, such as the funeral itself, flowers, burial plots etc. all of which have an immediacy which probate simply does not.
If they tried to hard sell a probate service provider whilst dealing with the delicate issues above it is likely that their efforts would fall on deaf ears and be unsuccessful, so I can see why referrals from undertakers are not as frequent as they might otherwise be.
With this in mind, the next section is crucial.
2. Being Front Of Mind When Needed
If you cannot persuade undertakers to promote your services for you, then the crucial aspect of marketing probate services, and one which puts you in a much stronger position than anyone else, is to ensure that you are the first firm that clients think of when they are in need of help with probate.
If you do this correctly, you can even put yourself ahead of the call to the undertaker and instead send referrals his way, but I am not sure that I know many solicitors who would like to take calls in the evenings and at weekends as undertakers are required to do, so perhaps that part is unlikely.
However, you can easily be front of mind if you put in the ground work to be there when your prospects need help with probate.
Therefore, the remainder of this article is designed to ensure that you give yourself every opportunity to do so.
2.1. The Marketing Of Probate Services Start Well Before They Are Needed (Often Years Before)
There are excellent opportunities to be placed in front of your clients at the exact moment that they need a probate solicitor which I will cover later on.
However, if you do this part correctly, you might not need Part 3, unless you want even more clients in which case it will work very well for you.
However, for now I want to concentrate on the opportunities that exist to ensure that the only firm your clients think of when it comes to finding a probate solicitor is your own.
2.1.1 Selling Probate Starts By Selling Wills
This is a vital part of the Probate sales service.
The selling of your Probate Services starts by selling Wills.
Once you understand this, it actually becomes much easier to sell more of your Probate Services.
This is much the same as when I say to you that you don’t need billing targets at all. If you take care of your new file opening targets and you know your average billing for each legal service and the average file life before billing, you know that the billing will take care of itself.
The same applies to Probate.
If you write enough new Wills each year, AND THEN FOLLOW THE PROCESSES ON PAGE 6, you will always have enough probate instructions, and certainly far more than your competition.
So when you think of marketing probate services in the long term, start with Wills.
If you are interested in marketing probate services in the short term in that you want fast instructions, don’t worry, I cover that too. However, I would not be doing my job properly if I did not emphasise the importance of selling more Wills first as this is the cheaper, more cash flow positive and better long term security option for growing your probate department.
The marketing of your probate services should start the moment that you prepare a Will for a client.
How? By following my proven formula for generating Will instructions and Probate Instructions for years to come.
I have covered this in Marketing4Solicitors 43 so I will only outline the procedure briefly now, but in summary it is as follows:
- Write a will for your client
- Immediately add them to a database.
A simple spreadsheet with one tab for each month of the year is all that is required. Add the client to their corresponding month of Will, i.e. if they make the Will in January add them to the January tab, if February, the February tab etc. and include a column in which you add the year that their Will was made/updated as this will allow you to personalise the mail merged letters. I have added a precedent spreadsheet database for you in the Private Zone to make your life as easy as possible.
Once a month each month send your Free Will Review letter from M4S 43 and in the Precedents section to everyone in the corresponding tab in your spreadsheet, so that in March each year you write to everyone in the March tab reminding them that their Will was made in March 20XX (mail merge this in from the year tab in the spreadsheet above) and that you are offering them a Free Will Review.
This has two benefits
- You win new Will instructions and
- You are front of mind when they need probate services as, unlike every other solicitor out there, you have kept in touch with them each and every year since you prepared their Will so have a real prospect of winning their Probate instruction, as opposed to ‘hoping’ that they might remember you!
If you are really organised, you follow my suggestion to automate this process using Aweber email marketing software – again see M4S 43. This way you automate your marketing so that each and every year your clients receive reminder emails from you, thereby ensuring that your marketing happens with or without you which is always a good thing to do.
This system provides more revenue in the form of Will updates but also more importantly gives you the best chance of receiving Probate Instructions from your clients.
2.1.3 Cross Selling Wills
The method on page 6 ensures that everyone that has ever made a Will with you knows that you are there to help them with their Probate needs, but hat about all of your clients who have not yet made a Will?
Clearly, you need to fix that problem and encourage them/remind them that they really must make a Will with you. The obvious opportunity to do this lies in the methods listed below.
184.108.40.206 Email Marketing
You are of course sending a regular email to everyone who has ever expressed interest in your services, aren’t you?
If not, see M4S 42 and 43 for why you should do this and how to set up your email marketing software.
Now for most of you who are sending a monthly email marketing newsletter, you MUST mention your Will services regularly to ensure that each and every one of your clients at some stage makes a Will with you.
These are the methods that I would use as a part of your email marketing campaign:
- Regular articles in your monthly email marketing newsletter stressing the importance of Wills, LPA’s etc linking to the full article on your blog but including a call to action in the email to call or email to ask you about your Will writing services; Occasional Will specific emails just selling the importance of Wills at key times of the year (just before Christmas/Easter and Summer holidays when you can relate back to the importance of protecting their families). These will be sent in addition to the monthly email marketing newsletter that you send; and
- Comments on any current news stories that related to the provision of Wills as and when they happen (to prove that you are experts in this field of law and to remind clients that you offer these services).
220.127.116.11 Conveyancing Clients
Why do solicitors like to make their lives harder than necessary?
I know that solicitors do not like to think of themselves as sales people, but I also know that they very much do care about protecting and serving their clients.
This is why it always surprises me just how few solicitors manage to consistently sell Wills to conveyancing clients.
Surely there is no more logical time to sell a Will to clients than when they are making THE most important asset purchase of their lifetime?
In my opinion, this is exactly the time to sell Wills.
The usual excuse for not doing this is that it is hard to sell to the client once they are going through a house move, but it does not have to be the case if you sell the Will well before exchange of contracts when very little is taking place.
More importantly, with so many house sales falling through, if you sell the Will before exchange you will at least guarantee some income from the client and have another Will on your database to give you more chances of Probate Instructions in the future.
You will know that I am not a fan of discounting legal services fees generally, but I think this is one of those rare occasions when you can legitimately offer a small discount of say 5 or 10% if they complete their Will before exchange of contracts as a ‘packaged sale’.
This provides you with a deadline to sell the Will and an incentive to the client to take action, so it really does provide a ‘win, win’ result for you both.
18.104.22.168 Employment/Personal Injury/All Compensation Claims
Any claim leading to a compensation payment provides you with the ideal opportunity to sell a Will.
However, there is one key factor in this process; that of when you sell the Will service.
Sell the Will BEFORE they receive their compensation settlement, not after.
If I ran a firm I would make it a disciplinary offence for failing to sell a Will to at least one of every two settled claims.
No excuses here; remember you are trying to fill your Will bank to generate future Probate Instructions.
22.214.171.124 Business Clients
I have included this separately, but it ties in with the item above.
Any business owner selling their business MUST make a Will with you BEFORE they sell their business and receive their windfall.
126.96.36.199 The Simple PS
Each month you should include a PS on all of your letters and emails which sells one of your services. You should ensure that Wills
188.8.131.52 are regularly featured in this PS. It works.
3. Building A Pipeline Organically and Without Cost
The second part of this process is a slower burner, but it is one designed to ensure that you are seen as an expert locally, or nationally if that is your target market.
This involves quite a lot of work but has the benefit of not costing you in terms of financial investment, whilst it will of course require an input of your time.
The purpose of this section is to achieve the following:
- Be seen as the expert; and
- Be asked to be quoted by the media on any features relating to probate.
How do you achieve this?
3.1 Answer The Questions Already Being Asked By Your Prospects
Probate is one of the legal services which every client believes that they can do
without a solicitor as they are keen to avoid the reasonably high costs.
Therefore, you can either ignore this fact or use it to your advantage.
If you choose to ignore it, the remainder of this section will not be of interest to you, but that will mean that you are missing many opportunities to win more probate instructions in the future.
If you embrace it, it is another way for you to ensure that you have another consistent flow of new clients for your probate services, in addition to the methods outlined in Part 1 above and Part 3 below.
3.2 Questions & Answers
If this is a service that people believe they can do alone, without a solicitor, they are going to be doing a lot of research online to find the answers to their probate questions.
“Why not provide them with the answers to these questions alongside the ability or them to ask more questions too?”
The easiest way to do this will be to have a questions page within the Probate section of your website. Whilst I think about that, I ought to issue a reminder that if your clients are looking for help with Probate on your website they will not be looking for “Wills & Probate” as a navigation item.
Probate is a stand-alone service and should be listed as such in your navigation. Failure to do this will confuse some of your clients and lead to them hitting the back button
Probate is a stand-alone service and should be listed as such in your navigation.
Now that I have cleared up that point, within your Probate section you should have a page/section entitled “Questions” or “Your Questions”, depending how much space you have available for navigation items.
Do not call it Frequently Asked Questions as you want to actively encourage questions whereas those pages, which in my opinion are now a complete waste of time on a website, were designed merely to showcase general questions and answers.
Encourage any questions about probate by adding a form to the questions page and explaining that all questions asked will be answered completely free of charge.
Create the form from within an email marketing software system like AWeber,
so that each time a questions is asked they are automatically added to your “Probate” email list.
At the same time as they are added to your email list, you will receive an email with their question and email address to which you will need to reply, but in addition to this you can also schedule AWeber to send them an email once every 7 or 14 days answering other questions that you have previously been asked.
These emails can be automatically programmed in to AWeber so that you only have to put them in once but then they keep on marketing your services automatically time and time again. This is automated marketing in its purest form so I strongly recommend it.
If you are not yet using AWeber and it seems as if I have suddenly started talking in a foreign language, please see M4S 42/43 for a step by step guide, and see the training videos section for more practical help on using AWeber.
Each of the follow up emails which you schedule into AWeber should do
- Answer another common Probate question;
- Highlight another pitfall of doing the Probate without a solicitor and what can happen when you do something wrong;
- Offer a free call with you to discuss any aspect of the Probate process.
Remember that the whole purpose of your website and these emails is to encourage the client at some point to speak with you when you will then be able to sell the benefits of your probate services.
You should not try to sell your Probate services from the emails; just follow my formula above.
3.1.2 The Additional Benefits Of Questions
The additional benefits of receiving questions related to Probate are as follows:
- You see what questions are being asked by your prospects so that you can go back and improve your Probate section to deal with these on the main Probate Services pages;
- You will be provided with an endless stream of blog titles to create to generate even more visitors to your website; and
- You will be seen as the expert in the Probate arena.
If you are doing both of the items contained within Parts 1 & 2 above but still would like more instant Probate Instructions, Part 3 is for you.
4. Instant Marketing Of Probate Services
If you are looking for an instant influx of Probate Instructions, Google Ads/PPC is the answer.
Google Ads will present your advertisement to people searching for a “Probate Solicitor” at the exact moment in time that they are looking for one.
It is one of my favourite forms of marketing for my business and for all of my clients because, quite simply, it works (and usually at a very good return on investment multiple).
I can only scratch the surface of marketing probate services in this article, so click the button below to discover more about growing your probate department the easy way: