Workflow is one of those funny words business people use to talk about the process of completing tasks within their company. For you attorneys out there, that means moving a person from prospect to client and the subsequent process of completing and delivering documents to them. In fact, good old Webster defines workflow as “the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through with a piece of work passes……….” Wait. Let’s stop right there. While Webster might have it right to an extent, I’d like to suggest that workflow should be so much more than just the zeros and ones of how work passes through your law firm.
At the Academy, we have a pretty fancy poster we’ve created that outlines every step of the workflow process from meeting prospective clients for a personal consultation through the actual signing of the documents and delivering their estate plan portfolio. It’s really quite something to take in and it’s an OCD dream come true: Perfectly aligned boxes, all of the same size and shape, color-coded for easy at-a-glance understanding, all on a crisp white background. I mean, just look at it:
However, the part of this poster I want to focus on today is where the flowchart specifically identifies the space between the zeros and ones – the opportunity during each step of workflow in your firm where you get to connect with your clients and build a relationship with them. That, my dear readers, is where your firm goes from being an easily replaceable commodity to a trusted advisor.
Take a look at the image above, which is just one part of the entire workflow poster. Every green square in this image represents an opportunity for continued communication with, and thus, relationship building with your clients. Additionally, this workflow system is comprised of four meetings with your clients along the way so they get to stay in touch with you throughout the process of having their estate plan created. But what does that matter? What kind of impact would it make to the relationship you build with your clients if, through your entire workflow process, you were able to purposefully and predictably create a foundation of trust? Let’s take a look:
- Your firm is seen as more than just a place to get documents.
When you meet with your clients several times throughout the planning and creation process, you let them know you are there to solve their problems and deliver value to them, not just to fill in some fields and provide cookie cutter documents.
- You are their trusted advisor.
Rather than inundating them with “legalese”, you have expressed your concern for their peace of mind and ensuring their concerns are addressed now and in the future. These clients know you are “their guy (or gal)” – and know they can come to you as their trusted advisor. Someone they could never imagine replacing.
- Building a foundation of trust fosters more business.
When you provide a WOW experience to your clients, not only will they return for reviews and updates to their existing plans, they will tell their friends and family about you (hello, referral stream), and are more likely to also retain you for ancillary services you offer, like financial services. When people trust you, they buy from you. Period.
- Their family knows you before they have to.
By staying in touch with clients after their initial plans are created and the work is completed, their families and loved ones get to know you, as well. You should strive to be a familiar part of your clients’ family before they have to get to know you when your clients pass away and they have to come work with you. Staying in touch after the initial plan creation as well as connecting with family and friends of your clients on social media will keep you top of mind.
Everyone has an idea of how work flows through your business. Some people even have a fancy flowchart that ensures nothing falls through the cracks and work gets completed accurately and efficiently. But the businesses that rise to the top are the ones who purposefully and reliably incorporate meaningful opportunities for building and maintaining relationships with clients.
How does your work flow?
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555