This phone conversation is almost a daily occurrence. A new client calls your firm and after the initial chit-chat, you ask, “How did you find our firm?” Your new client is effusive in their praise for your law firm, “I found you on Google. Your reviews are AMAZING!”
Your clients don’t trust what you say about yourself, but they crave Google reviews (Google is the world’s top review site). That’s why Google reviews are marketing gold. Just think, when was the last time you picked a new restaurant without checking their Google reviews? You do this almost every week, and so do your clients when they search for a lawyer.
So, why don’t lawyers focus on getting Google reviews for their law firm? That is a rhetorical question—there is no answer. If you’re not getting Google reviews, you are just like every other law firm in your town. But what if you have 368 Google reviews and your biggest competitor has 6 on the Google Local listing? Who do you think the prospective client is going to call?
The Low Hanging Fruit for Google Reviews
Google encourages businesses to ask for reviews (unlike Yelp). It’s more than okay to reach out to your client base to ask for Google reviews.
One rule of thumb: if you don’t ask for a review, you won’t get a review. If you think there’s even a slim chance that the person will give a review, JUST ASK. The worst that happens is the person doesn’t respond. No big deal.
There are vendors, referral partners, clients (former, new and current) and friends just dying to post a review for you, but they won’t UNLESS YOU ASK. Okay, but where do you begin? In order of priority, the following persons have the highest success rate for posting a review for your law firm.
#1:Vendors: This is the true low hanging fruit of Google reviews. Your vendors (e.g., persons who make money from your law firm) will post a Google review roughly 80-90% of the time.
Ask your firm’s bookkeeper for a list of the vendors who have made money from your law firm over the past 90 days. Next, ask the vendors for a Google review.
“We appreciate working with you and value your work for our law firm.
If you feel the same, would you mind posting a review on our firm’s Google profile? If so, click this link, click the blue button ‘Write a review’ and post the review. No worries if you’d rather not.
Please let me know if I can do anything for you."
Requesting Google reviews from your vendors works like magic.
#2: Referral Partners: The lawyers (a/k/a referral partners) who know, like and trust you are almost a sure bet to post a review for you. But, YOU HAVE TO ASK. Reviews from your referral partners will be customized and personal and reflect the high caliber of your work. Nothing beats a review from a referral partner.
#3: Current and Former Clients: Go through your case management software and ask for a Google review from your former and current clients. Your clients LOVE your work and will post endearing, personal reviews that are heartwarming. Don’t miss this golden opportunity for Google reviews.
#4: Intake/New Clients: After every new intake phone call with a grateful client, send an email summarizing your conversation, providing helpful resources and asking for a Google review. Some of your best Google reviews will be from prospective clients, who barely know you.
#5: Witnesses and Experts: You meet lay and expert witnesses with every lawsuit and in some cases, you develop strong bonds with them. Go through the Contacts from each case in your case management software, and ask for a review. Expert witnesses tend to be very willing to post Google reviews.
#6: Gmail Contacts: Over time, you’ve developed hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts in your Gmail account (or other email provider). Go through your contacts in Gmail, and if you think there’s even a slim chance for a review, send an email asking for a review. Even if you haven’t had contact with a contact for years, there’s still a decent chance they will post a Google review.
#7: Speaking Engagements/Focus Groups: Whenever you speak publicly (or conduct a focus group), you have a golden opportunity to request Google reviews.
Whenever you speak at an event, provide your contact information with a free offer (e.g., signed book). You will get requests for your free gift in the dozens or even hundreds, and when you follow up, ask for a review. Many attendees will be happy to post a Google review.
#8: Give Reviews, Get Reviews: Think of the lawyers/business persons who you admire the most. Now, post a review on their Google My Business profile. You will find that when you post a review, your colleague will reciprocate, even without a request, with a Google review for you.
With this approach, you don’t have to buy an expensive review software (e.g., BirdEye) to get Google reviews. I wasted $3k on BirdEye—don’t make the same mistake.
Following Up on Requests for Reviews
Should you send follow up reminders for reviews? That depends. If someone agrees to post a review, but doesn’t follow through, it’s fine to send an email reminder. But don’t be a pest. If the person does not post a Google review after 1-2 reminders, let it go.
3 Steps to 500 Google Reviews…in less than 12 Months
First, a word of caution. Getting 500 Google reviews is not easy—it takes work, dedication and consistency. But if you follow the 3 simple steps, you will get at least 500 Google reviews in less than 12 months. Don’t think so? You won’t know without trying.
Step #1: The 4 Disciplines of Execution
The book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, by Chris McChesney, Jim, Huling and Sean Covey, provides an incredible strategy for executing almost anything. The 4 Disciplines of Execution consist of 4 simple disciplines:
Discipline #1: Your Wildly Important Goal (WIG)
You begin by establishing your Wildly Important Goal “(WIG”) of 500 Google reviews. This is the easy part.
Discipline #2: Act on Your Lead Measure
A Lead Measure is the activity that you must do to achieve a result. A Lead Measure is a behavior or activity, not a result.
When it comes to Google reviews, the most important activity you can do to get Google reviews is ASK FOR THEM. The Lead Measure that will get results is simply asking for a Google review.
Discipline #3: Create a Compelling Scoreboard
Once you’ve identified your Wildly Important Goal and Lead Measure, you should create a compelling scoreboard that shows your Lead Measure (# of Requests of Google Reviews) and Lag Measures (# of Google Reviews).
A compelling scoreboard increases the likelihood of success by 10X. The Scoreboard must be:
- Highly Visible
- Have lead and lag measures
- Tell immediately if you are winning or losing.
You place the Scoreboard in your conference room where it will be a constant reminder of your efforts (Lead Measures) and results (Lag Measures) and your update your Scoreboard every day with the number of Lead and Lag Measures. Keeping score lets you and your team see—every day—whether you are winning.
Discipline #4: The Cadence of the Weekly WIG Meeting
The final step (and most important for execution) will be holding weekly WIG meetings with your team. Weekly WIG meetings are the secret ingredient to execution.
Meet for 20 minutes on the same day and time every week and do 3 things:
- Report on last week’s commitments.
- Review and update the scoreboard.
- Make new commitments.
The weekly WIG meeting will usually be a time to celebrate your success. Keep a record of the streak of consecutive weekly WIG meetings that you hold and fight like crazy to hold the WIG meetings without missing a week.
Step #2: Streaking
Streaking is where you will find wild success. These concepts are derived from the exceptional book, Streakers, by husband and wife, Jeff & Jami Downs.
This is how streaking works:
- Pick a laughably simple activity that you will do at least once every day (e.g., asking for at least 1 Google review a day);
- Document your streak, ideally in a journal; and
- Share your streak with a community of like-minded streakers (we have a private Facebook . When you document your streak, you have a record of your credibility. You are doing what you say you will do.
By asking for at least 1 Google review every day, you are virtually guaranteeing wild success. You might not see the results at first, but over time, the Google reviews will pile up and you will be stunned by the power of streaking. You’ve got to try this!
Step #3: Competition for Google Reviews with a Lawyer Friend
If you want to push the envelope a bit further, challenge a high achieving lawyer friend to a challenge: the first to 500 Google reviews wins. You will have fun with the back and forth of the Google challenge and it’s a great way to motivate yourself and your team.
5 Taboo Practices for Soliciting Google Reviews
Google rejects reviews that do not comply with its policy requirements. If tagged as inappropriate, reviews can be removed from Google Maps, Google My Business and Google Search.
These are the 5 of the most prevalent practices that are taboo, or frowned upon, by Google.
#1: Reviews from Employees: Do not request reviews from current or former employees and you cannot review your own law firm. This is explicitly prohibited by Google’s policy for reviews as a conflict of interest.
#2: Incentivizing Reviews: While not strictly prohibited, Google frowns on incentivizing reviews, e.g., “If you post a review, I will send you a free book.”
#3: Mass Email Requests: Do not send a mass email asking for reviews. Google doesn’t like mass solicitations for reviews, and they are not effective.
#4: Buying Reviews: Google’s policy prohibits businesses from offering money in return for reviews. Whatever you do, NEVER buy Google reviews.
#5: Reciprocal Reviews: While not prohibited in the Google policies, many internet marketers believe that Google does not like reciprocal reviews, e.g., “if you post a review for me, I’ll post a review for you.” You run the risk that Google will not accept your reviews if you have too many reciprocal reviews (a few are fine).
Do these things are your own risk! If Google catches you violating their rules, it might reject your reviews even after they’ve been published.
Why You Won’t Do Anything
Am I concerned that you will take my advice and get 500 Google reviews? If you do, I will be the first to say, “Let’s push for 1,000 reviews!” A rising tide lifts all boats. That said, 98% of you will ignore this advice and maintain the status quo, and that, my friend, is a damn shame.
For the 2% who proactively try to increase the number of your Google reviews, you will find results that will never cease to surprise you. You will become a virtual superstar to prospective clients, even before they speak with you. Almost every day, new clients will gush emphatically that your Google reviews are “UNBELIEVABLE!”
And after a few conversations like this, you’ll realize that Google reviews are the secret ingredient to internet marketing that most lawyers ignore. That is their loss and your (potential) gain.
Can I Ask a Small Favor?
If you find this article helpful or appreciate the content of our newsletters, email newsletters and books, would you mind posting a review on our firm’s Google profile. Posting a Google review is easy:
- Go to www.ReviewFisher.com, and
- Click 5 stars (you don’t have to write a comment if you would rather not).
Your review will be much appreciated. Please let me know if I can do anything for you (cell: 518-265-9131; firstname.lastname@example.org).