Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

9 Easy Ways to Build Strong Client Relationships

handshakeHere’s a solid-gold law marketing tip: stop handling cases and start building relationships.

It can mean the difference between having a job and launching a career.

A case is a linear event. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. Along the way, you do some work and get paid for it.

A relationship, by contrast, is a living thing. It is brought into existence by two or more people, and it lasts as long as its creators want it to.

You can make money on cases. But you build a career – a long, profitable and pleasurable one – on relationships.

“There’s more to building a business than buying a few online ads and praying for clients,” says Clio Law. “You’ll need to spend time building relationships, while also keeping existing clients happy to ensure repeat business—all of which can be more difficult than it sounds.”

Where to Start Building?

Close to 80 percent of practicing attorneys say their top challenge is getting new business, according to a Thomson Reuters study of solos and small firms.

Most are looking for new business outside their firm. They’re spending tons of money – on ads, marketing services, referral groups, pay-per-clicks, you name it – to reach the vast universe of potential clients out there just waiting to sign retainer agreements.

In the process many are overlooking a motherlode right under their noses. Or, more accurately, inside their file cabinets. To wit: their existing clients.

Think about it. You’ve already invested time and money getting them into your office. You’ve demonstrated what you can do for them.

Build on that foundation, and watch your practice soar.

9 Ways to Build Strong Client Relationships

  1. Reach out for no reason at all. Perhaps you send cards to your clients on birthdays and holidays. Maybe you subscribe to a service that does it for you. But how about calling a client just to check in? Ask if their injuries are healing and if rehabilitation is helping. Ask how child visitation is going. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
  2. Show your value. Clients may think legal services are rote and lawyers are interchangeable. Convince them otherwise. Start by doing a great job. Show them how your efforts saved them money or grief.
  3. Go the extra mile. My accountant doesn’t just prepare my tax returns. She also gives me written instructions on where and how to make my payments, and she encloses envelopes – pre-addressed and stamped – to send them in. This makes my life easier, and it keeps me coming back.
  4. Offer a range of services. “We tend to focus on a particular area of expertise and seek clients for that,” says this Clio article. “But clients are actually seeking lawyers that can handle their needs, not necessarily just your expertise. Make sure that you’re open to helping clients, even if it means referring or handing a client off to an appropriate source for aid.”
  5. Ask the million-dollar question. “What’s your greatest concern?” This question shows your commitment to help, and it opens the door to serve your client in new ways. Thanks to Dan Pinnington of LawPro for this nugget.
  6. Get to know your client’s business. Visit them at their office. Attend a trade meeting with them. Show interest in what they do and how you can help.
  7. Help them for free. You don’t have to send a bill every time a client calls with a question. Show them you are there for them, and the fees will follow.
  8. Make it easy on them. Communicate by text or email if they prefer. Offer to meet on Saturdays or at night if that’s more convenient for them.
  9. Stay in touch. There is no faster way to destroy a relationship than to keep your client in the dark or be unavailable when they need you.

 

What are some ways you build strong client relationships?

Sources:

 

About the Author

Jay Reeves

jay.reeves@ymail.com | 919-619-2441

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.

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