How often do you, as an expert witness, convert initial calls from potential retaining counsel into a paid expert witness assignment? If your answer is less than 75% of the time you are losing a considerable amount of expert witness income. Depending on your area of expertise and the size and complexity of the case, a new assignment can be worth $2,500 to over $100,000. That is a lot of money to lose due a failed phone conversation. Many experts do not have a higher conversion rate due to the fact that they do not fully appreciate that the initial call from counsel is their interview for the assignment. It is crucially important for expert witnesses to fully appreciate and excel during this initial call from counsel.
Let me give you two examples:
SIX CALLS NO CASES
I spoke with an expert witness that specializes in complex financial cases. Over the past 12 months he has received six initial calls from counsel to discuss their cases. In each case, the expert was well qualified but failed to land even one of the assignments. Why did this expert fail? The expert did not fully appreciate that he was being interviewed for the assignment and made many common mistakes during the calls including: being unprepared, not having an initial call protocol, being overeager, not demonstrating the skills and abilities the lawyer was looking for.
LARGE CASE INTERVIEW
In this second example the expert, who happened to be a physician, was to be interviewed by several lawyers at a large well known law firm. They wanted to discuss retaining him to testify in a large complex case with damages in the millions of dollars. This expert contacted me for some advice before he was to be interviewed. We spoke generally about the initial call process and what lawyers are really looking for during the call. When he asked about anything written on the process I referred him to the SEAK Research and Opinion Paper, How Expert Witnesses Can Excel During the Initial Inquiry Call from Counsel. The expert contacted me after the call and thanked me for the white paper. He said “They loved me. The First Call White Paper was a tremendous help. In fact, I read it three times before the call and it paid off big time.”
If you are not regularly converting the initial inquiry calls from counsel into paid expert witness assignments consider looking at the methods and techniques you are using during the calls.