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Lawyers: How to Get Referrals from Existing Clients

May 5, 2017

Filed under: Client Issues,Marketing,Practice Growth,Referral Sources — Tags: — admin @ 5:24 pm

When you think of your clients, do a few favorites come to mind? Do you know why they’re your favorites? Did they come from referrals? Have you taken time to write down the characteristics of these A+ clients to create a client profile?

If so, that’s the first step to creating your Clients-Referring-Clients strategy. If not, it’s time you did. But that’s just the beginning.

A Strategic Mindset is a Must

Having a strategic mindset around how you are going to get referrals from existing clients is a necessity to ensure that your client base grows at a steady or speedy rate. Most lawyers don’t have any type of strategy to gain these types of referrals, but you can by following the steps outlined in this one hour recorded webinar I led for ElderLawAnswers called Getting Referrals from Existing Clients.

How to Improve Your Success Rate

ReferralsIn this webinar recording, you’ll learn the steps it takes to up your client-referring-clients success rate.

Here are four reasons why you might not be getting many client referrals yet…

  • You might not be paying attention to where your business comes from
  • You just haven’t learned how to create this type of strategy yet
  • You don’t want to ask for the business or turn clients off by being too sales-y
  • You feel that clients will come naturally and that you don’t need to make an entire strategy to attract them

If that’s you, don’t fret, that’s how most attorneys think. But you’re no typical lawyer if you’re looking for ways to enhance your practice.

Steps to Get More Referrals

Here’s the short list of to-dos to get you started, but if you want to really up your strategy, then watch the full webinar for tips on building out each of these steps to create a strategic plan that is sure to bring in more business.

Step #1: Create a client profile that describes your A+ client

Step #2: Devise a “Thank You for Your Referral” system

Step #3: Practice TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness), so your clients don’t forget you

Step #4: Hold client-only events

Step #5: Practice the art of asking and get your team to do the same

Step #6: Meet your client’s referral network

Step #7: Plan your firm’s community activity engagement efforts

Mistakes to Eliminate

Part of putting together this strategic plan is to also eliminate the mistakes you’re currently making that may interfere with your progress. Here are just a few to be aware of:

  • Avoid using a virtual answering service. Hiring the right receptionist who will build good relationships with your clients is essential.
  • Stop attracting B and C-rated clients and learn how to attract A+ clients
  • Don’t be too sales-y when asking for referrals

If you know what your clients want most and what your law firm does best, then you’ll have the winning combination to create satisfied clients who will bring in A+ referrals.

Learn more on the on-demand webinar now.

Lawyers: 2 Simple Lists Can Result in Big Wins for 2017

November 9, 2016

Filed under: Client Issues,Enjoying Life,Lawyer Coaching,Marketing,Money,Practice Growth,Practice Management,Stress Management — admin @ 4:16 pm

The holidays are nearly here, and for many lawyers that means using this time to sit back and reflect on their successes or failures of the last year. Some of you will armchair quarterback yourselves over what you should or should not have done.

Stop it. Looking back in regret will not fix those issues. Just because a calendar year is nearing its close does not mean it’s okay to navel-gaze instead of looking for opportunities to improve. You risk falling behind.

Now is the best time for lawyers to set personal and financial goals for 2017. I encourage my coaching clients to write two simple lists to help them make progress in both life and business for the coming year.

Setting Simple Goals

The first list is your top 10 personal and financial goals for the year – as simply stated as possible. This list might include paying more attention to your children, exercising more, increasing your business’ marketing efforts, or paying off old debt by following a new budget plan.

One goal you might consider is hiring an accountability and strategy coach!

Of course, you don’t have to finish this list in one day and laminate it! Some people get writer’s block if they are on deadline. Instead, draft it out, set it aside for a day or two and come back to it to make revisions or additions.

Repetition and Reminders

Once you’ve set these goals, make three copies: one for your desk at work, one taped near the bathroom mirror at home, and one miniaturized in size to carry in a wallet or purse. This might seem silly to some, but reading one’s goals regularly can really help ensure commitment to achieving them. It’s a practice in self-accountability.

Share these goals with your key assistant or another attorney you trust, if you are comfortable doing so. That way, you’re saying you want to be held accountable to meeting these goals because you want this person to check on your progress.

The Little Things

The second list is all about the little things you have been tolerating over the last year. Take 15 minutes and sprint out a list of these annoyances. Don’t worry about prioritizing it, just put pen to paper.

Maybe you’ve been so busy wrestling with issues at home that you’ve come to accept working in a messy work space or office? Or, you’re missing a button on your favorite jacket, and are reminded of it each time you put it on to take the dog on a walk. It might be a garage door that needs fixing or a checking account that needs reconciling.

Perhaps you sacrificed having a dental issue treated because of unexpected business expenses? Or maybe the list will contain names of problematic clients you’ve tolerated instead of letting go.

Once you begin writing these things down, it becomes clear just how many annoyances you’ve been putting up with in daily life that need addressing. Regardless of its content, this list of tolerations will certainly grow if it is not addressed.

You don’t need to take an oath to eliminate each of these issues within the next year, but you will have a much better chance of addressing most of them if you just start by writing them down.

As always, I hope this article has helped you and your practice. If you have a specific practice management issue or concern you’d like to share, please contact me.

Lawyers: Try Sincere and Unique Holiday Marketing

August 12, 2015

Filed under: Client Issues,Enjoying Life,Marketing,Referral Sources — admin @ 5:47 pm

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.

Lawyers: What do you offer so pricing isn’t an issue

December 12, 2014

Filed under: Client Issues,Money,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:32 am

In any industry, regardless of what services or products you sell, pricing (or value) is always an issue. It can be a significant buying barrier when an uneducated customer attempts to make a value conscious decision when hiring for a professional service. By default, they shop by price.

Lawyers see this consistently when dealing with unsophisticated prospects. If a prospect is unsure what he’s looking for and can’t assess an attorney’s expertise and experience, he does what all consumers do: goes right to the bottom line and asks the price or your hourly rate.

The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to be outraged. In my experience, when most lawyers that are asked how their hourly rates in comparison to a competitor’s hourly rates, they are surprised or shocked. My advice is to be ready for this question. How can you help educate the prospect to understand the differences in what your practice offers over the competitor?

I saw a wonderful article in The Wall Street Journal: “Small Toy Shops Play Up the Perks.” It’s really interesting to me because it points out that over the past ten years about 40 to 50 percent of the nation’s small independent retail toy stores closed. When four major competitors control 75 percent of all toy sales, independent store owners have to think differently if they want to stay in business. They will never beat the four major players on price. Never, ever. It’s not going to happen.

So how can lawyers win in a game that’s often driven by pricing?

The article shares multiple strategies. In particular, the writer did a great job showing how personal customer service matters. It sounds like way too simple of a strategy, but some customers really are more inclined to pay a premium for better customer service.

Of course, most lawyers I’ve met would say they already offer extraordinary customer service. Their staff always answers the phone – it never goes to voice mail. The lawyer returns calls and emails promptly. And their clients are treated with the utmost respect.

Those efforts are not extraordinary, folks. They should be the bare minimum. What are you doing beyond that?

Read the article and then try to come up with just one way to improve your customer service so that pricing would not be an obstacle for prospective clients. What could that be?

Let me know what you come up with.

Lawyers: Don’t Let Technology Steal Your Clients

April 7, 2014

Filed under: Client Issues,Innovation,Law Firm Technology,Practice Growth,Staffing Issues — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:27 am

Look, I’m no Henny Penny. But it is true that I’ve been warning any lawyers that will listen how recent changes in technology are encroaching on legal services they provide to clients. For more than a few years, I’ve been talking about this issue in group workshops and one-one-one conversations with my coaching clients. Technology is a major game changer.

Those of you that have seen my presentation on “5 Predictions About the Future and 10 Strategies to Grow Your Practice,” know that I am pounding lawyers to really think about protecting their futures.

Now is the time to ask yourself: “In 10 years, what will my practice look like?”

A recent CNN story, “Here Come the Robot Lawyers,” only further highlights the competitive pressure advances in technology are bringing down on attorneys.

Technology isn’t just picking up services like drafting basic legal documents. It’s also wiping out entry level positions once considered the classic “apprentice” roles to learn the business. Those positions are vanishing, and I’m hearing about it firsthand.

I met a young lawyer who received his law degree a little more than a year ago. For months, he searched for a position at a firm, but he ended up opening a solo practice because he could not find a decent entry level job.

Learning how to research, write, and prepare legal documents in the real world of practicing law — as opposed to talking about it in a classroom — is a critical learning path for young lawyers in entry level law firm jobs. I’m not sure how future lawyers can learn these skills as well as we did after all the entry level jobs disappear.

This issue opens up many interesting questions for us as practitioners. What does this mean to us as owners of law firms? How can we use technology to cement our role in the market? How do we use it to increase value to our referral sources and clients?

If you have not seen the CNN article, check it out. Those of you that are enrolled in the Atticus quarterly workshops, the Practice Growth Program and Dominate Your Market, know firsthand that practice management consultants like myself are encouraging you to look upstream and deal with these coming trends now.

If you don’t do anything, you might as well expect to be replaced by a robot attorney.



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