We know that we have to do it. Building our books, attorney marketing, business development – call it what you want, but we have to do it to keep our practice going and growing. And, in today’s day and age, clients are generally fickle; they could use you for a case here or there and spread their work around. Haven’t we all heard that?
Well, it can still happen. But, I have found that when my clients dramatically change one of their lawyer marketing tools, their client retention rates sky-rocket! Getting a client to turn to you – for everything – is obviously what you want – especially when you go through the business development chore, which it is no matter how you slice it.
Lawyer Coaching Tweak That Will Give You Return: Treat Your Client Like A Business Partner
Now, it sounds much easier than it is. It actually requires you to take your lawyer hat off and put your business hat on. Remember, your client is worried about running its business efficiently, being more profitable, and focusing on all of those things. They do not want to deal with legal issues, want to minimize exposure, and not have to talk to (or pay you). Those are their desires and goals; so, in the face of this uphill battle, the business person in us has to take over and help them satisfy those goals by becoming our clients’ business partner – not their lawyer!
How? Of course, as a lawyer coach and practicing lawyer, I work with lawyers and associates on this – because it is very individualized. Coaching each lawyer to use their strengths, talents, and focus on their clients’ goals and objectives is key to success. That said, we can provide you some general tips:
- Have a regular meeting with your clients (at no charge to them) to access what their business challenges are, where they want to be with the company, and let them bounce ideas off of you. They will! And, they will be so pleased that you are interested.
*Remember your client’s goals, let them know that you remembered, and help them every opportunity that you can. None of this may be getting your billables up, but they are little things, and if you can have a client for life out of it – why wouldn’t you do it? Examples – introduce your client to your banker friend (maybe also a client) that can assist with financing if that is their biggest challenge. Throughout the year, send notes/emails/articles that address what you talked about, and that could help your client. (Now, chances are they probably thought of it before you did; it is their business after all, but that’s not the point. That you care – when you are not billing them – goes a long way.)
- If they have legal issues, your attorney marketing has to be balanced, as you don’t want to lose the credibility that you’re building by taking an interest in their business. Of course, you will offer to help with that (whether it is in your area of expertise or not), but your approach is key. The client has to know that doing whatever you suggest will achieve their goals (and you have to be too or don’t suggest it).
- Something that is absolutely key, and you must do. At some point, whether during this meeting or throughout the year, you have to turn work away from the client. Now, by work, I mean “potential work.” If the client is getting ready to spend money on you, it is terrific to be able to say: “I am happy to do that and so glad that you would turn to me for it, but I have to tell you from the business side, I think your money might be better spent on . . . fill in the blank.” You only have to do this once. The client might take your advice, and might tell you that they’ll go ahead and spend the money on you. One way or the other, they will be impressed with your personal dedication to them.
Your business development will take a significant and positive impact – if you always remember to treat your client as a business partner, and let them know as often as you can. As clients and lawyers are all different, coaching you through the process is what we do, and would love to help! Contact us today at http://www.ferocecoaching.com/business-coaching/lawyer-marketing-coaches.