You’ve just read the title of this blog and I can hear you say, “Wait a minute, Robert, I’m an estate planning attorney… what ‘group’ do I have that my clients want to be a part of?” Attorneys tend to think of clients as acting independently with no group awareness. They arrive from different sources and have different needs. They come into the office, sign papers, and leave, maybe never to be seen again. We tend to think that what clients want is anonymity and professional distance in their relationship with their attorneys.
The truth is that everyone wants to be part of a group that they can identify with in an extreme way and that they’ll defend and be loyal to. You can cultivate a clientele for your law firm that will be this kind of group. They will be champions and fans of your firm who will identify with each other and recruit new clients for you.
You can’t be everything to everyone, so the first step is to define your ideal client, and educate prospective clients on what your firm is looking for. This means focusing your message on a small group that matches the profile of your ideal client and deliberately discouraging those not matching your profile. For example, in order to discourage do-it-yourselfers, explicitly say, “If you’re looking for information on how to find an online site or book for making a will, we wish you the best of luck, but we can’t help you.”
You need to educate your group on the culture of your firm – your firm’s identity, what sets you apart from everyone else, and who your clients are. Let them hear your message frequently, in a variety of ways. Encourage your clients to interact with your staff and with each other through meetings, socials, even cruises. All of these things work toward creating a loyal group, and offer your clients an experience beyond just having some papers drawn up at a lawyer’s office.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124