Have you ever wondered what it would take to have the highest cost per client among your peers? Or how you could overspend on your marketing budget year after year? Or, better yet, how to spend marketing dollars and effort on getting clients in your door, just so you can never see them again?
Of course you haven’t!
The idea of marketing is to work smarter, not harder, right? Yet we see many law firms focus their marketing on getting new clients in the door, create a stellar experience for them and then
This phenomenon is what we call the “one and done” client. You put effort into finding them, working with them creating a plan for them, and then after the signing – POOF – it’s like they were never there. On to the next.
For your Friday morning reading pleasure, here are five top ways you might be creating a “one and done” client – and how to avoid them!
- If you fail to plan…
Setting expectations with clients is crucial to your relationship with them – both in the short and long-term. Most relationships with clients that sink like the Titanic do so because of unmet expectations – either on your end or on theirs.
To avoid having a situation with a client that keeps them from being a raving lifelong fan, be sure you take the time to not only create, but discuss your Client Engagement Standards with all new clients. Nothing looks better to brand new clients than having all your ducks in a row and being crystal clear about what each party commits to and is responsible for.
- Love ‘em and leave ‘em
While this is never done intentionally, because attorneys get so busy with all their open cases, it’s easy to let your communication with clients slack. When you first meet with them you may forge a great relationship, but over time they may feel just plain ignored if calls or emails go unanswered.
Having a system in place to stay in communication with your clients is essential to making them feel the love all the time, not just on the day they retain you. You should have a system for a series of meetings along the way that give them facetime with their favorite law firm team (that’s you) as well as a system for ensuring all calls and emails get a response within 24 hours.
- You talk like an attorney!
You are very smart people. There is a lot of legalese up there in your noggin rolling around and from time to time, whether you intend to or not, your “attorney talk” gives people a general feeling of “…. Huh?” While you may think using your legal terms and explaining strategies to the fullest would give you more credibility and help people understand the intended outcome, all it really does is make people feel, well, stupid.
Stay on their level. Don’t over explain things. The best way I’ve ever heard this described was as such: If you need brain surgery, you don’t go into the doctor’s office and ask them to explain every single step of the procedure, including the medical terms. You ask them for an easy-to-understand overview and what you can expect the outcome to be. Do the same with your legal clients. Talk with them in plain English about the strategies you’ll employ to achieve their goals. And make sure they understand along the way. If you start to see glazed eyes, take a break and check in with them to make sure you are all still on the same page.
- You don’t listen.
Most clients just want to be heard, especially by their attorneys. However, as I just mentioned, attorneys have a tendency to not only talk above the client, but to also talk instead of the client. Trust us on this one – when it comes to talking – less is more.
Learn to be comfortable with silence. Consider that you are asking people to share the most vulnerable parts of their lives with you and some of their biggest concerns – what will happen to their loved ones and their assets after they pass away. Rather than talk through the silence because you’re uncomfortable, continue to remind yourself that your job is to listen to them in an effort to understand their point of pain and how to alleviate it.
- You “delegate” them.
If the only time your clients see you is when they come into the office to sign on the dotted line, you definitely haven’t created a raving fan. If you only make an appearance when money is on the table and then hand clients off to others in your firm, you have created a major disconnect in the loyalty chain.
Build in facetime with clients into your workflow process. They should know you just as well as they know your receptionist or your paralegal. If you were the guy or gal who they came to know and trust in a consultation, be sure they know they still have access to you and you still have their back. Even if someone else is drafting documents and conducting final signing meetings, your clients need to know all of that work was done under your watchful eye and with your final stamp of approval.
Bottom line: treat your clients like you want to be treated by other professionals. Stay in touch. Be human. Show them you care. Remember – your clients aren’t an interruption to your work. They are the reason for it.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128