This week, I want to share with you five business boosters for your law firm that, when put into place, can increase your bottom line immediately. Some cost little or no money; some cost a little bit more. All are worth the investment.
Business Booster No. 1: Differentiate Your Law Firm
Develop a list of why your legal services are the clear, inarguable best choice. Be sure to list the benefits to your prospective clients. It’s not about you; it’s about them.
You must be clear. For example, simply stating that you are board certified is not enough. How does being board certified benefit your potential client? Tell them. Could it be that insurance companies and judges have more respect for board certified lawyers? Or, could it be that only a very small percentage of the lawyers in the state are board certified, so the client is getting the best representation for the same contingency fee?
The key is to give the benefits, not just the features. By doing this, you will see your business increase substantially. Just being board certified is a feature, but the benefit of that particular feature is what the potential clients wants and needs to know … how is your being board certified going to help them?
A few years ago, we wrote about creating a “Black Friday Unique Selling Proposition” for your law firm. You can read that article here:
Business Booster No. 2: Mine Your Database
Constantly work on building your database. One of the most important possessions of your law practice, believe it or not, are your mailing and email lists. These are your No. 1 assets. I’ve often been reminded that lawyers believe that once they have represented someone, then that client will remember them forever. This is simply not true. You must stay in front of them on a bi-monthly or at least monthly system with e-Zines, newsletters or some other “touch.” When someone on this list needs an attorney or has a friend or family member who needs representation, you should be the first name that they think of. You must constantly be at the top of their minds!
You should also segment your list. When I mean by this is, break it down into sub-groups such as doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, etc., and do different types of newsletters for these professionals who you rely on for referrals. Because as we know, what would interest a fellow lawyer or doctor is not going to be of interest to a past client whose educational level is somewhere between the fifth and seventh grades.
Business Booster No. 3: Create a Referral Culture
This starts with you at the top, how you train your staff and how you communicate with your present clients’ friends and family. First, you’ve got to let people know that you appreciate referrals. You should do this using several methods. One technique we used and liked at our law firm was to put little stickers on the back of every piece of mail that went out that said, “We love referrals.” Second, we did a monthly newsletter that, among other things, talked about referrals. You will become your client’s trusted legal advisor. And, what I mean by this is, whenever they have a matter that involves a legal question, they should call your first. You want to encourage them to do this. One way is to simply remind them that anytime they have a legal issue, they are more than welcome to give you a call. If they have a situation that you cannot handle, you will refer them to someone trustworthy who can.
Another way to create a referral culture is the handwritten, personal “thank you” note to those folks who do refer clients to you. In this day of computers and emails, a handwritten card really makes a statement. And, although ethically you cannot pay for referrals, you can give Christmas gifts to clients who have referred new clients over the past year.
One of the best ways to create a referral culture is to use books and give out your consumer books to clients. The clients can then pass these along to friends and family and tell them that this is the lawyer who represented them. By using the consumer book in the proper manner, that – it and of itself – will result in referrals.
Check out our past post on doubling your client referrals:
Business Booster No. 4: Diversity Leads to Stability
“One” is the worst number in the world, whether it be in marketing or in the number of vendors you use. Diversity means more ways to get cases. There is no magic bullet. You must use a multitude of different marketing tactics because different people will be attracted to different tactics. Therefore, instead of relying on one or two different marketing techniques or tactics, you should have at least 10 to 15 at all times. Our firm used 32 different marketing tactics on a weekly basis. As for vendors, it is a good idea to have more than one on-hand to keep them honest. Get two or three quotes every time you’re doing a big project or renewing a lease or whatever the case may be. This will keep you from being held hostage by the vendor. This rule should apply whether it be a printer, an SEO vendor or even housekeeping. They key is to have two or three vendors that you can get quotes from on a regular basis.
Learn more about the “marketing mindset” you need to have to grow a successful law firm here:
Business Booster No. 5: Create a Strategy of Preeminence
You’ve got to change the way you think. View yourself as their most trusted legal advisor. You want to be seen by your client base as a helper, not as a purveyor of services.
So, this requires a shift in mindset. Make sure everything you do is for their advantage, improvement, enhancement, betterment and well-being. Become their counselor, advisor, authority, fiduciary and their go-to person when they need legal advice. If you can get this mindset instilled throughout your law firm to all your lawyers and your staff, your firm will grow exponentially.
It is important to recognize that you really have three sets of “clients,” so to speak. You have your office staff, your associates and your actual clients. Remember this: The way you treat your staff and your associates will be the way they treat your clients. And, you want your firm to be known for treating its clients well. This will be a great opportunity to earn new business.