For your vision to truly take shape, you need to find a way to communicate them to the rest of the world – staff, clients and prospects included.
Now, communicating with your staff can be as simple as holding regular meetings to be sure you’re all on track…
But what about those clients and prospects? How do you stay in front of them year round?
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep your clients and prospects feeling connected and informed. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ways here:
- Seminars – Hosting seminars on various timely topics accomplishes a couple of things: first, it gives you an easy way to touch base with your clients and prospects. The second thing it does is allow you the opportunity to convert those prospects into clients. Teach them something new, let them realize the importance of proactive planning and you’ll have yourself a new client. You can also use these seminars to provide new services to existing clients, turning a single event into a multi-faceted marketing tool.
- Newsletters – You should also have a law firm newsletter that is sent out at least 4 times a year, although we recommend sending it out monthly. Your newsletter can include all sorts of information, from articles on new legal developments and estate planning challenges to announcements of new staff members and upcoming events. You should also include non-legal events such as birthdays and anniversaries, birth announcements, hiring news and interesting bits of trivia.Make your newsletter interesting, eye-catching and informative and you’ll find that your clients and prospects look forward to receiving it throughout the year.
- Client Review Meetings – Like the seminars we mentioned above, client review meetings are a perfect opportunity to touch base with your clients and perhaps offer additional services as well. These review meetings give you the chance to go over your clients’ needs and make note of any changes that may have occurred over the last year.
- Client Appreciation Events – Some law firms serve wine and cheese while others opt for an ice cream social… whatever your preference, client appreciation events create an informal, engaging opportunity for you and your clients to get reacquainted.
- Client Advisory Board Meetings – When was the last time you asked your clients for feedback? Client Advisory board meetings are a great way to do just that. Invite your clients to become part of your “Advisory Board” and provide your firm with a client-perspective report card on a regular basis.
- E-Alerts – Of course, we can’t forget about your referral sources and e-alerts offer a unique and effective way to stay in touch with those wonderful people who send business your way. These mini-electronic newsletters give you an excellent venue to notify your referrals of upcoming deadlines, developments in the law, events and other newsworthy stories that relate to their industry or niche. Providing your referral sources with this kind of useful information is the perfect way to strengthen bonds and remind them of the services you can provide to their clients.
- And more! – All of the above suggestions should be in addition to your regular correspondence, such as birthday cards, emails, letters, announcements and the like. Adding these additional communication methods to your standard correspondence schedule ensures that you touch base with your clients, your prospects and your referrals on a regular basis throughout the year.
Now, you’ll notice that many of these interactions take place via electronic delivery, so if you’re not already collecting email addresses from your clients and prospects, now is the time to start.
Put them into whatever database management software you use or, as an alternative, sign up for one of the many online mailing management services and do your electronic mailings from there. You should be able to designate separate mailing lists – one for clients and one for prospects – allowing you to fine tune your communications to each group.
Now, don’t limit yourself to just one or two methods. Instead, mix and match these ideas to come up with a well-rounded communication system that allows you to touch base with your client AT LEAST 12 times each year.
So, why so much emphasis on communication?
Our philosophy is to create relationships with clients, prospects and referrals that keep them from leaving the fold. To quote marketing guru Dan Kennedy, you should “build your herd and then build an iron fence around them” to keep your clients in and your competition out. A good communication strategy is the perfect way to do just that.
A solid communication system can also help build multi-generational relationships with your clients – that is, relationships that last through multiple generations of their family – by providing them with a Transformational Experience…
A “WOW” moment that puts your firm into the enviable category of being a trusted advisor rather than a commodity vendor.
And that’s exactly the kind of client relationship you want… that’s the kind of relationship that fosters loyalty, not to mention higher referrals. And when you have a loyal client, you have a client for life.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.