Summer is coming to a close, and it’s time to begin planning your law firm’s holiday marketing strategy. I’m not talking about advertising. I’m talking about connecting with the very people who put coins in your coffers: referral sources and existing clients.
What you spend is up to you. It’s the sincerity behind a thoughtful gesture that makes an impact. Your choice of gift can reveal that you really thought about a person’s interests, hobbies or needs. Your consideration will be noted and likely rewarded in the form of more great referrals and return business.
I have three quick suggestions:
- Identify and acknowledge your practice’s top twenty referral sources. What would be a unique gift for each person? This is where you might spend most of your holiday budget since you are thanking the people providing your best new clients.
- From within that group, identify your “next level referral sources.” These top three or five people provided your firm its highest revenue-generating clients this year. Along with a unique gift, include a high quality thank you card containing a note personally inscribed by you.
- For your key clients, what could you do for them so they know how important they are to your firm? The gesture or gift depends on your practice area, and whether you receive recurring business from these clients. And again, including a handwritten message makes a much better and more lasting impression than a card signed by your staff (or a stamped signature).
Here’s a bonus suggestion:
- If at all possible, have a staff member lead this project. If no one has time, then hire a temporary marketing assistant. You’ll still be filling out thank-you cards and choosing the gifts, but the actual number-crunching, store shopping, and package wrapping needs to be managed by someone else.
I hope this has helped you and your firm. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please contact me.
Many of my coaching clients who are confident in their hourly rates are concerned about ways of determining profitability for their fixed price, or flat fee, services. They want to know how to reach a profit margin that will make them the kind of money they need to be successful.
Profitability is a term that is thrown around in business settings, but people often use the word without knowing what it really means. In order to define it, let’s first talk about what profitability is not.
When I talk about profitability, I’m not talking about what you or anyone else thinks is a fair price. “Fair” is a relative term, and everyone has his or her own idea of what that means. Whose idea of “fair” are we talking about? Fair to you? To the client? Is there some sliding scale of “fair” out there? Of course not.
Profitability also has nothing to do with what the client would wish to pay. Most people are looking for ways to save money. But you are not in the business of providing the cheapest, bargain priced, clearance rack service. You are in the business of providing excellent service. And excellence costs money. If the client doesn’t want to pay the rate you need in order to be profitable, then they are not the right client for you.
I’m also not talking about market expectations. Just because your competition charges a certain rate, that doesn’t mean that the service they are providing their clients is on par with yours. Their overhead may be different or their staff may be larger or smaller. They may cut corners or provide extras you aren’t aware of. You can’t base your rates on what your competition charges.
The Acid Test for Determining Profitability
All that you need to be concerned about here is figuring out what you need to charge your clients in order to ensure that your business is profitable, that it’s making you money.
Many people have complex ways of figuring profitability. But determining what you need to charge your clients in order to be profitable does not have to involve long drawn out calculations.
There is a straightforward, simple way to determine profitability. It’s what I call the “Acid Test.”
- Calculate the amount of time it will take to provide the service. This includes your time and your staff’s time.
- Figure up the cost per hour for that time. Include the amount your work is worth per hour and the cost of your staff’s work.
- Then multiply those two figures to arrive at the amount it costs you to provide the service your client needs.
But that number does not make you a profit. That number only covers your costs. Note my emphasis: Your costs. Not the client’s cost. That is the minimum amount you need to make just to break even. You can’t run a profitable business that way.
To make a profit, you need to build in a 50 percent gross profit margin on top of your total cost for the service. So basically, take what it costs you to cover your expenses, and then double that number. That is the amount you need to charge the client in order to make a profit. It’s that simple.
If you apply this simple acid test to your fees for service, you will become profitable.
Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:08 pm
Greatness is rarely an overnight experience. Anyone who has watched great litigators try cases knows these attorneys’ skills are the results of years of trial work. They didn’t get great at trying cases by accident or by deciding to walk into a courtroom for the first time that morning.
Talent can be effective, of course, but greatness doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. One basic action in creating greatness must occur over, and over, and over. That’s the simple act of “showing up.” Sometimes, persistently and consistently showing up to do your best work is all that’s required to become really great at your craft.
The greatest example of “showing up” is in our next Practice Development Call. Over the past 25 years, Atticus has hosted free monthly Practice Development Calls supporting the legal community in ways of growing their practices. The next one is our 200th call!
Please join founders Mark Powers and Shawn McNalis as they celebrate the milestone of our 200th Practice Development Call. They will share the 10 biggest insights and strategies for growth that they’ve learned as practice advisors over the last 25 years.
My suggestion: Just show up. It will be great.