The Worst First Question You Can Ask?

Jul 2010

How did you hear about us?

The question seems innocent enough.  After all, you want to track your marketing and see what produced a call to the firm.  The problem is that it can actually cause more damage than good, and any information it provides is wholly unreliable.

When someone contacts a law firm for the very first time it is usually because they have a problem.  “How did you hear about us?” has absolutely nothing to do with what they need or why they called you.  It is a self-serving question that they are generally unprepared to answer.  Because it is asked, though, people will try to come up with an answer and usually that answer is whatever is the first thing that comes to their mind, true or not.  At best, you may get whatever was the very last thing they saw or heard before picking up the phone or coming into the office.  For example, they may have been seeing your TV ads for a very long time.  Then something happened and they needed a lawyer so they specifically looked you up in the phone book.  “How did you hear about us?” is then answered by “in the phone book”.
Numerous studies have been done that show that the answer to “How did you hear about us?” is often inaccurate.  Think about how you yourself have responded to that question in the past.  Additionally, it just plain sounds unprofessional for a law firm to be asking it of a prospective client. It cheapens the experience.

Stop asking that question.  Your clients will appreciate it.
Rick –


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