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The Magic Formula that Guarantees 5-Star Online Reviews

At the end of a case, love is in the air.  Your clients are thrilled with the outcome and they swear allegiance to your law firm for life.  You’re feeling good and you don’t want ruin the moment by asking for a testimonial.  A few months pass and the case is forgotten by your clients (and they might not remember your name).

Now, your chance of getting a testimonial for your law firm is almost zero.  And this really sucks—you know that testimonials are the Holy Grail for online marketing.  Prospective injury victims LOVE testimonials, but they won’t believe a word you say.  So, do you throw up your hands and give up?

If you’re like most lawyers, you take the easy way out by sending an email request for a testimonial with a link to Google My Business, Avvo.com or Yelp.  Okay, this might work, but 90% of your clients won’t respond to your email requesting an online review.  Email requests for an online review don’t work, but there is a far more effective approach that almost guarantees that you will get a 5-Star review.

Step #1: The Power of a Promise

First, get your clients to promise to give an online review.  This begins by calling your client and asking four questions:

  • Would you recommend our firm to a family or friend?
  • Would you be prepared to post a 5-star review?
  • Would you be prepared to make time for my assistant to give you a call and help you write and post your review (this will make it super easy for you)?
  • Will you promise me that when my assistant calls you, you’ll make the time to work with her and post your review?

Once your client promises to give an online review, the likelihood of getting the review is virtually guaranteed…if you follow the next two steps.

Step #2:  Asking for Feedback

Your assistant should then call your client asking for her “feedback” about your law firm (“feedback” sounds much better than “testimonial”).  Have your assistant ask, “What can we do better?”  Chances are your clients will respond “Nothing, you were amazing!  My life changed because of you.”

Now, it’s your chance to get some details: “What did we do that you liked about our law firm?”  Make sure you get specifics from your clients—generalizations are useless for online reviews, i.e., “You were amazing!”  The best sequence of an online review consists of 3 components:

The Problem: The Problem facing your client before she hired you,

The Action Taken: What you did to solve your client’s problem, and

The Benefits: The Benefits received by your client, i.e., income, financial freedom, top-notch healthcare, etc.

This sequence provides a story that is memorable and stands out from 99% of online reviews that are generic and have little SEO value.  You want your client to use the magic words from their case, i.e., “atrial fibrillation” or “perforated esophagus”.  The use of keywords in the online review will help prospective injury victims find the online review.

Next, your assistant should rewrite the question and answer into a review for your client. This guarantees the content of the review.  Now, you move onto Step #3—posting the review from your client’s own computer.

Step #3: The Magic of Screen-Sharing

You want your clients to post the review from their own computer. Screen-sharing technology lets you connect to your client’s computer and post the review from their own IP address.  Screen-sharing websites, “Log Me in Rescue” or Team Viewer” lets you post reviews using your client’s own PC, from their internet connection with their own IP address.

You copy and paste the edited review into your client’s web browser (because you have full access to their computer) and then ask your client to click the “submit” button.  This removes a big obstacle in getting a review and guarantees the content.

Where to Post the Online Reviews

99% of law firms post testimonials on a single web page of their website. Big mistake!  Ideally, you should create a unique web page for every testimonial—this will help the search engines find the review and in turn, prospective clients will have an easier time finding it.

Every testimonial should be posted on review sites that will boost your website on the search engines.  Begin by building reviews on TOP 3 review sites (in order of priority):

  • Google My Business,
  • Avvo, and
  • Yelp

Just by focusing reviews on Google My Business, your website will go to the top of the local rankings for organic web searches for your town.  Local rankings of websites are determined by the number of reviews—the law firm with the most reviews on Google My Business will be featured as #1 in the local rankings. If you do nothing else, begin by building reviews on Google My Business.

BTW, if your clients do not have a Google or Yelp account, you can help them create an account using screen-sharing technology.

Soliciting Reviews from Clients

Under New York’s ethical rules, you cannot ask for a review while the case is pending.  But once the case is over, you should ALWAYS ask for an online review.  Ideally, you should get a video testimonial from the client when they come to your office to sign the release agreement or get their check.  When your clients are happy and love is in the air, it’s almost a sure bet they will agree to give a testimonial.  And don’t forget to post the video testimonial on YouTube.

But even if you can’t get a video testimonial, you should get a photo of your client and get their consent to use their full name, town and state and photo in the online review.  Photographs and full names and residences make the testimonial far more authentic and genuine—do not bother using abbreviations for client’s names, i.e., “John C.”.

And here’s a small bonus: when you have special events, i.e., client appreciation parties and speaking engagements, you should ask for a testimonial from every person who gives positive feedback.  Recently, I had speaking events in NYC and every time that someone complimented the event, I asked for an online review.  Just over a two week period, I received 14 new reviews to my law firm’s Google My Business profile.  That’s marketing gold!

Leveraging your Online Reviews

You need to leverage your online reviews by posting them on social media and asking your friends to “Share” and “Like” them.  Through a website such as Testimonial Director, you can post your online reviews to Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.

Now, it’s time to take one final step: put the testimonials on a DVD or CD and make them a part of your Shock & Awe package that you send to prospective clients.  The DVD or CD will have a collection of your Top Ten video testimonials.  With this fantastic DVD of video testimonials, you are instantly putting yourself miles ahead of your competition.

And don’t stop there: add the audio from the testimonials to the telephone hold system. Now, your prospective clients will hear wonderful things about you every time they call.  You should also create a small “Brag Book” that contains your best text testimonials and give add it to the Shock & Awe package that you give to your new clients.

If you want to learn more about online testimonials, check out the great book by Simon Aronowitz, “The Untapped Goldmine in Your Business: Discover Testimonial Secrets that Will Skyrocket Your Sales”.

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