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Report: Landing Estate Planning Clients Takes Patience, Trust

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 06, 2017 6:57 AM

If you're a solo practitioner or small firm that specializes in estate planning, you may have already sensed it intuitively, but a new report from FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing can back up your intuition with numbers: estate planning consumers can be more elusive and selective, and harder to motivate into action than other legal consumers.

And because your average estate planning consumer doesn't choose their legal services like other legal consumers, getting them to hire you may take some different marketing strategies, especially when it comes to technology and social media interaction. Here's a quick look at estate planning consumers and how to bring estate planning clients into the fold.

Looking at the Estate Planning Consumer

According to FindLaw's consumer insights report, The Long Game: Getting Estate Planning Consumers to Hire You, the demographics of the estate planning consumer market aren't all that surprising. The typical estate planning client is 61 years old, and over a quarter of them have an annual household income of $100,000. That's older and wealthier than the average legal consumer, who is 48 years old and only 13 percent of whom earn that much. Clearly, consumers aren't seeking professional help until they've amassed enough wealth to protect and are closer to needing a plan.

They are also slower to pull the trigger on legal help. We all know we need estate planning help, but it's never fun to confront our mortality by planning for what happens after. Estate planning consumers know they should take action, but are generally comfortable gathering information and waiting until they find an attorney or firm they like.

Landing the Estate Planning Client

It's that last part that should give the estate planning expert hope -- these consumers do want legal help. Just 10% of estate planning consumers tackled the task without consulting a lawyer, according to FindLaw, while 22% of overall legal consumers handled their legal matter on their own. And far fewer estate planning clients are interested in do-it-yourself resources like boilerplate forms or document preparation services. This means estate planning clients want your services, and it's merely a matter of winning their business.

But, for the reasons mentioned above, landing an estate planning client requires some different tools and strategies than the average legal consumer. While your Millennial clients may be all over social media looking for legal advice, just 4% of estate planning consumers are using social media to search for estate planning information. And they are less likely to use mobile phones or tablets. So learning how to tell your story, how it sets you apart, and how you are perfectly suited for your estate planning client's needs, and delivering that information in person and in language non-attorneys can understand, becomes essential.

So while estate planning consumers may be slow to act when searching for and choosing legal services, they are also generally more affluent and committed to working with an attorney who can meet their needs. Landing an estate planning client likely won't be quick or easy, but a long-term strategy can ensure a steady source of business for your solo practice or small firm.

For more insight into the estate planning consumer market, download FindLaw's consumer insights report here.

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