There are two common ways that private investigators acquire more clients: Through an attorney that hires them for a particular case that they have taken, or through an independent customer that is seeking a personal PI service.
When dealing with attorney relationships, matters of confidentiality and sensitive discussion topics aren’t usually a problem. Both sides have experience and know what’s required. Customers who come in on their own, however, may have a lot more questions about your past cases and experience – and answering these questions can sometimes be challenging. How much can you reveal? What should you say to your customer’s need for information while also following confidentiality requirements?
To help out, we’ve got a few ideas below about how you can talk to new customers about your past experience and sensitive topics while still protecting your business.
Emphasize Client Confidentiality First
When someone starts asking questions about the casework you’ve done, it’s a great idea to have a quick summary you can give them about client confidentiality and how important it is to your industry. Assure them that the confidentiality that protects past clients will also protect them, and that their sensitive issues are in good hands.
This is also a good time to talk about how confidentiality laws work, and how P.I.s are typically required to provide information to law enforcement agencies or courts, although rules may vary by state. Once customers understand these confidentiality rules, they will be able to have a more successful discussion.
Talk About the Types of Cases, Not the Details
Talking about your cases is fine! It’s a great way to explain past successes. However, it’s important to avoid specifics, so stick to a discussion about case types. You can mention your experience in divorce cases, company liability cases, criminal cases, and so on, without talking about specific names or dates.
Explain what you’ve helped clients accomplish for the case types you are familiar with. Provide examples of the skills that you have or the techniques you have used, without the need to give additional context. Real-world skillsets and digital skills are both important to mention!
In some cases, a P.I. business may be able to request references from past clients (especially companies) or attorneys they have worked with. When possible, build a portfolio of these references that you can show potential clients when they have questions. Often, this is exactly what clients are looking for when they’re making a decision about investigation services.
Always Be Clear What You Cannot Do
Many people may not know what private investigators are prohibited from doing according to law. As you describe your skills and the types of cases you have taken on, you should be willing to discuss what you can’t do. This includes types of surveillance you can’t legally make, places you can’t trespass, or technology you can’t legally use.
Talk About How Your Company Has Aided Courts or Law Enforcement
Does your case history include successful projects where you were able to aid law enforcement or provide valuable testimony in court that led to a successful outcome? You should certainly mention this: These law-related activities have high value in a customer’s eyes. They are looking for evidence that you can provide the results they want and mentioning legal resolutions to cases thanks to your own work is excellent proof, even if you are light on details.
Use Testimonials to Demonstrate Quality
In addition to references, it’s a great idea for P.I. companies to collect testimonials from past clients about the services they have provided. Testimonies are excellent web content and can often provide some of the specific information that new customers may be looking for without getting too far into sensitive details. Most P.I. testimonials use just the first name of the client for authenticity, although this isn’t necessarily required. Look for reviews and quotes that go into some of the particular things that your company did to make a difference.
When a Case is Public Record Feel Free to Give Some Details
Take a look at this roundup of private investigator responses, and you will notice a lot of details about cases, including very specific acts and compensation amounts. This is likely because these cases are lawsuits where much of the information is on the public record, so the investigators didn’t have a problem discussing exactly what happened. Keep that in mind – if you work on a case that does end up being part of the public record due to a trial or lawsuit, you can probably provide more information about exactly what you did.
Point Out How Much Time and Money Was Saved
Even if you can’t give a lot of details about a case, try to point out the difference that your services made, especially in terms of time and money saved. Talk about how you were able to bring a quick resolution to a problem, or how other routes would have cost a client a lot more money without the same results. This is a great way to focus on the value your services provide without getting bogged down in any particular case.
We hope this information leaves you better prepared to deal with inquisitive customers while maintaining your reputation! Remember, many of these topics are also great ideas for creating online content on your website to better advertise your P.I. brand. There are informative answers for all the questions you get if you keep these important guidelines in mind!