Clients choose lawyers they know, like and trust.
You get them to know you through advertising, marketing, referrals and word-of-mouth. You earn their trust by being honest and competent.
Getting them to like you is just as doable, though it might require a few personality tweaks. It starts by knowing what clients want from their lawyer, and then giving it to them. After that, just sit back and let the good times roll.
Just Be Yourself
If you think likeability is an inherited or baked-in trait that some people have and some people don’t, think again.
“Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented,” says one psychologist. “When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the most likeable people they have ever worked with. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under people’s control, such as approachability, humility and positivity.”
What qualities in a lawyer do clients find likeable? Studies like this one and this one tell us they like lawyers who are professional and courteous. They like to be listened to. They like lawyers who try their best.
All of these things are within your control. It’s just a matter of developing habits to make them flourish.
Seven Ways To Make Clients Like You
- Keep it real. “No one likes a fake,” says Dr. Travis Bradberry. “Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin.”
- Don’t pass judgment. Be open-minded when you listen to a client’s problem. Don’t dwell on what they should have done, or how you would have handled the situation. Put yourself in their shoes. This doesn’t mean you have to condone their behavior or accept their version of the truth. It just means putting aside your preconceived notions in order to understand them better.
- Don’t try to be the star of the show. “You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. [T]he fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.”
- Greet clients by their name. Research shows people feel validated by and drawn to those who call them by name.
- Make a strong first impression. The first seven seconds of an initial encounter set the tone for the future relationship.
- Keep it light. Clients want their cases taken seriously, but they appreciate a sense of humor. They like it when you smile and shake their hand. This gives their brain a jolt of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that causes a sensation of well-being.
- Don’t waste time. Clients don’t like sitting in waiting rooms. They don’t like long, unfocused meetings. They like lawyers who get to the point, especially if they’re paying by the hour.
What qualities do your clients like? What items would you add to the list?
- What Clients Want From Their Lawyers http://www.slaw.ca/2012/05/08/what-clients-want-in-their-lawyer/
- What Do Clients Want From lawyers http://clarkcunningham.org/PR/MU-WhatClientsWant-Pt1.pdf
- Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-travis-bradberry/11-habits-of-ridiculously_b_11708852.html?