Finding the missing millions

News | The missing millions

October 30, 2014

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Professor Ian Cooper looks into ‘finding the missing millions’ – converting telephone enquiries in to profitable business.

About a year ago I carried out and published the most comprehensive study and research into how legal firms deal with their incoming telephone enquiries from prospective clients.

It reflected a massive epidemic of poor enquiry handling and an incredible equality of inefficiency, with most firms being as bad as each other. A year later however, and another 200 mystery calls made, the truth is that things haven’t improved and most firms are losing huge amounts of potential business that they could win.

Rather than focus on the statistics, this year I want to highlight very briefly, just three of the most common strategic errors made by the firms that I see, when I go ‘in house’, to show them how to get their conversion rates up. By the way; 90% of firms I work with see at least a 10% increase in conversion rates within the first month and many double their success rates within 3 – 6 months.

1. Failure to understand how much is at stake – Most firms don’t realise how financially important converting telephone enquiries is. Consider this real example of a firm I have been into recently:

They received 3 calls per day, asking for a ‘conveyancing quote’. Over the year this is 750 business-winning opportunities at around £1,300 each. This amounts to £975,000 worth of potential business and across their 4 offices, a massive £3.9 million. Even just a 10% increase in conversion rates, would have generated an extra £390,000. I showed them how to increase their conversion rate by 35% giving them an extra £1.365 million!

2. Having the wrong people handle the enquiries – Most firms regard dealing with telephone enquiries and quotes purely as a low level administrative task that can be handled by almost anyone. The truth is that dealing with prospective clients over the phone is a real skill and some people are simply better at this than others and will get better results. What you need to do is ‘find your champions’. Look at conversion rates of those that are dealing with your enquiries and let whoever gets the best results takes the most calls.

3. Failing to ask for the business –Would you believe that 97% of all calls for all work areas end without the caller being asked if they would like to go ahead? Some make the excuse that to do so appears ‘too pushy’, others admit that they just don’t think of it at all. Call handlers must learn to do this and to do it so congruently that it seems totally in order, client focused and helpful.

The truth is that 85% of the people in law firms dealing with enquiries have simply not had the proper training to maximise call success. Here is a simple fact that has the potential to transform your fortunes: understanding and mastering the art of converting your telephone enquiries into profitable business is the quickest, cheapest and most guaranteed way of generating additional revenue and profit.

Professor Ian Cooper is an experienced specialist business development and skills trainer in the legal sector. He has helped over 900 law firms in 30 years and is the author of 16 books published in 55 countries. He specialises in giving tailored training to law firms to help them increase their conversion rates.

He can be contacted by email: or telephone 0208 953 6262.