If you’ve spent energy and money marketing and generating a client base, it should be considered a crime in your law firm not to continue to connect with them after you’ve been retained. However, we see time and again that many attorneys don’t make an effort to contact their clients at all in some cases until they’re marketing again for a new service or review of past services.
If you just market, market, market… your clients will stop listening. The secret to staying connected with the most important part of your business – your existing clients – is to give them something tangible and meaningful they can share with their children or with their communities. You want your clients to think of you as “their lawyer.” Give them a reason to brag about you and bring you up in conversation.
Contact should be simple and reflect your personality as well as the culture of your firm. Nobody ever said attorneys couldn’t have a little fun with their clients.
I like to think of client contact as a diamond ring. You can’t support a diamond with one prong. If you only have four prongs and something happens to one, the diamond falls out. Six prongs is perfect. That being said, I know it’s difficult to launch six methods of client contact at one time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once. Lay out a plan to implement 5-6 approaches over time and figure out how to be devoted to delivering on each of those prongs on a regular basis.
Here are a few client contact efforts as suggestions to choose from that can be woven into your marketing calendar:
- Facebook fan page posts. Make sure all your clients and their out-of-town kids are fans and post at least a couple of interesting things per week (schedule when you post these or you’ll forget). One substantive and one fun post (sharing a dog photo day or recipe or fun fact about your town).
- Quarterly written, hard-copy newsletter delivered in their mailbox with a schedule of your upcoming events. Certain services provide a platform where you can purchase the newsletters and some of those services even mail them out on your behalf.
- Have an annual client event. Many Academy Members have an ice cream social in the summer, or even put on a nice annual lunch where members of their team speak about keeping their trust funded, have a guest speaker on an interesting topic, or introduce a couple of new services. It becomes a social event. One of our Members actually has clients start to call in July wondering if they’ve missed the invitation!
- Offer educational or fun webinars with guest speakers on topics that could interest the demographic you serve. Some firms have had speakers on genealogy, or perhaps an interesting health related topic. These mini-events cost very little and when you’re set up, they don’t take very much time to execute.
- Your clients should be invited to at least one seminar per year. Either as a refresher for themselves or as a challenge to bring a friend or family member for an educational night out.
- Birthday cards are a must. Send Out Cards makes this initiative so simple and very inexpensive. (Hot Tip: Be sure to keep your database clean so you don’t inadvertently send deceased clients a card.)
- Holiday cards are another opportunity to be in front of the people who think highly of you and to connect with them at an important and sometimes lonely time of year.
- Mass email messages to clients are also a good idea. Say you’ve read an interesting article that your clients would likely find informational or entertaining… maybe it’s an obituary of a famous person they all know or an article on someone well known in your community doing something exciting. Send the link to an email group containing special friends of the law firm to let them know they’re on your mind and you thought they’d also find the information interesting.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Client contact doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be planned and it should happen auto-pilot on a regular basis. Regular contact generates Trust Administration and Probate work, Restatement or Amendment work and it also poises you to be introduced to the next generation in these clients’ families as well as referrals. It’s completely worth the effort!
It’s not difficult if you schedule these efforts. Just make sure your efforts are calendared on your marketing plan and put some reports in place to show you what has been going on and what type of client activity is being generated.
Chief Operating Officer
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128