The Business of Buying Leads – An Interview

By Preston Clark

Legal leads. To buy or not to buy?

I recently wrote an article addressing the best way to optimize your return on investment from the purchase of legal leads (Read Article). This is certainly not something we learned about or even discussed in law school (not going there, don’t worry). My article spurred a few G+ comments and emails about the fundamental question whether lawyers should buy leads.

The fact is that as more and more attorneys look to online marketing to drive business, the question of lead generation—whether done through our own channels (e.g. blogging and PPC) or through third

party providers (e.g. lead providers), we are all getting closer to the business of leads.

And while many attorneys are fundamentally against buying leads, I wanted to get first hand perspective from an attorney who actively does it.

In my earlier article, I mentioned a couple of well-known lead providers for lawyers, and a reader in Los Angeles, Anthony Khoury, sent me a note (Tweet) offering to share his experience buying leads from one of them—Total Attorneys.

Anthony Khoury is an attorney in Southern California and has been purchasing legal leads since 2011.

Anthony Khoury has been buying leads from TotalAttorneys since 2011.

Anthony Khoury has been buying leads from TotalAttorneys since 2011.

I recently sat down with Anthony and here’s what he had to say:

What are all the ways you currently market your practice?

Of course, as with most solo practitioners these days, I have a website, but I also use social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) to market my practice.

How long have you been buying leads from TotalAttorneys?

I believe I first started using TotalAttorneys to assist in my marketing efforts in June 2011.

What is your methodology for handling leads as they come in (e.g. how many phone attempts, how many emails, etc)?

To be perfectly honest, I was very organized about handling leads when I first started using TotalAttorneys because I was receiving so many of them! I had a dedicated legal pad on which I wrote down every bit of information about each lead I received, as well as every attempt I made to contact the lead, and what the outcome of each call was.

Unfortunately, leads started to dwindle over time–due in part to less overall volume, but also because I stopped receiving non-DUI leads as well leads from outside of my main geographical area of practice. Now, I receive so few leads that I no longer find it necessary to keep track of all pertinent information in a central location.[pullquote]I definitely recommend conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis first, because the cost of leads adds up very quickly month-to-month, and many clients need significantly more time to pay than before because of the serious economic down-turn.[/pullquote]

However, if the lead’s legal matter is outside of my geographical area of practice, I immediately apply for a transfer through the TotalAttorneys website, and if the contact information provided by the lead is clearly erroneous or even fraudulent, I immediately contact customer support to have the lead removed from my account–so, in those cases, I DO need to keep track of pertinent information to relay back to TotalAttorneys.

Do you maintain a newsletter?

No, but I probably

should!

Have you measured the ROI on the TotalAttorney leads?

Roughly, yes. I think that if I had streamlined the types of leads I was receiving from the very beginning, I would have a much higher ROI at this point. Unfortunately, I probably wasted a good 6-9 months just trying to figure out what worked best for my practice, and I invested a LOT of my marketing funds during that period.

After that initial period, I had a clearly-positive ROI until the economy seemed to grind to a halt about 6 months ago. Since then, my conversion rate has fallen drastically, but also I’m getting a lot fewer leads, so I’m not paying as much monthly.

Of the leads you’ve closed, has there been any measurable long term value via referrals from those clients?

No, not really. I haven’t noticed any difference in the likelihood of future referrals from clients that originated from TotalAttorneys leads or elsewhere.

Would you recommend buying leads or some other marketing mechanism for lawyers?

Absolutely. But, I definitely recommend conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis first, because the cost of leads adds up very quickly month-to-month, and many clients need significantly more time to pay than before because of the serious economic down-turn. In other words, you may be paying a lot more for your monthly leads in the short-term than you’re making from them.

 

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About

Preston Clark is a licensed attorney and entrepreneur based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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