“5” refers to the statistic in sales that 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact. Sales take many contacts because they require the time to establish an understanding about what the buyer is buying and what the seller is selling.
So why is this relevant to settling a personal injury claim? After all, you’re not making sales calls. We agree that settling a personal injury claim with a plaintiff attorney is not the same as making a sales call. A negotiation is more like a debate while a sales call is more like a discussion. However, they both require persuasion and persistence.
One of the most frustrating aspects of resolving a case is being able to have a meaningful discussion about it. It is increasingly difficult to reach attorneys and when contact is made, it tends to be rushed. Adjuster aggravation at this result is understandable. Adjusters have to spend time evaluating a case and preparing to discuss it. Plaintiff attorneys (or someone from their office) focus on getting an offer. They do not want to discuss the case. A salesperson’s reaction when contacting most prospects about a service or product is the same.
60% of customers say no four times before saying yes.
Too often, adjusters take a rejection of their assessment of a case as an indication that they cannot talk reason with the plaintiff attorney. So why try? Adjusters convince themselves that it only about the number. They do not want to waste a lot of time and back and forth. But injury claims (even the routine cases) are filled with nuances. Getting a decent settlement requires multiple contacts as this is the only way to inject real substance into the debate. In reality, its only about the number if your let it be.
Sit the in the plaintiff attorney's seat for a moment. Put yourself on their end of the call. The plaintiff attorney has to consult with others about what is being offered (just like a buyer has to when making a buying decision). They may have to speak to medical providers as well as the plaintiff to position the case for settlement. More and more, they ask other plaintiff attorneys their opinion.
As with negotiation, a great deal of emphasis is placed on sales skills. These are important, but they are also useless if you don’t get to use them. The not-so-glamorous fact is that persistence pays off. Persistence is more than outreach. Here are a few tips:
Only make an offer after you have laid out the facts for it (see What are you negotiating?). Skilled salespeople do not jump to the number. They lead with discussion of what drives value. Keep in mind that when you rush to a number, the plaintiff attorney will make a snap decision about it. That’s not a good way to get to substance.
Set expectations on follow up. End a call by making clear what questions you expect the plaintiff attorney to discuss with the plaintiff and, in some cases, with medical providers. Set a date when you will call them back and follow up as promised.
Plan your persistence. 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow up attempt. In fact, most give up after the second attempt. Don’t wait for a call back. Take the initiative by calling and sending written communication that has content and ask questions that require a response. Follow us is NOT a sign of desperation. Many times it is the only way to bring attention to your case. Plaintiff attorneys do not sit around thinking of you. They are just as busy or busier than you.
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