Discover First Impressions in the Details

You have probably heard the old adage, “The devil is in the details.” Whether you agree with that statement or not, it has proved itself reliable during my years of practice. Are you paying close attention to the first impression you make before a potential client even decides to contact you? The details are so important because first impressions are perceptions that can either gain or turn away potential clients.

One day, a potential client reached out to our firm.  She shared with the receptionist that she had found our firm online and had a specific need. She called to set up an appointment with me. The receptionist tried to explain that the attorney responsible for handling her particular type of legal matter was another attorney within the firm. She insisted the appointment be with the attorney whose photo she saw online, as opposed to the attorney that routinely handled the matter in question.

The receptionist asked me what to do. I agreed to see the woman, knowing I would make sure she was resourced to the appropriate attorney.  When I met with her, the first thing I asked is, “How were you referred?” Even though I already knew the answer to the question, it opened the way for me to ask an equally, if not more important question.

The power of using questions and listening for the details in the answer will serve your firm well in knowing what impressions you are making and how to shift if needed.  Remember, peoples’ perception of you are reality, as far as they are concerned.

Always acknowledge that the person you are speaking with has a choice in representation. Which leads to the second question, “Why did you choose to consult with our firm?” Listen closely to the details in the response. The answer given can be golden in terms of what perceptions consumers have about your firm.  This question became one of the most important for our attorneys to ask during every consult. In this case, the woman replied, “I just loved the way you looked in your photo—confident, warm, like you care and would fight for me.”

Interesting impression, isn’t it?  I can’t tell you how many people had that same sort of response over the years.  That specific detail gave me the feedback needed to keep that photo. It captured my essence and created a first impression before a person ever met me.

The question is what essence are you portraying in your first impression?  Does your online photo communicate qualities your ideal client is looking for?

Ask questions and listen to the details. Then make the shifts you need to capture the clients you want. And by all means, invest in a fabulous, professional photo!

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