October 26, 2015
Unfortunately, you aren't taught in law school how to build your book of business or how to get clients.
And most importantly, you aren't taught how to grow your legal practice.
Like any other business, growth is extremely important for a law firm and solo-practitioners. Without growth, your firm could go the other direction into plateauing or failure. So what are some of the things attorneys must know to supercharge their practice?
There have been several surveys that have asked the question, "If you need a lawyer, what would you do?" The most recent survey conducted by Moses and Rooth presented similar findings to the survey conducted in 2011 by the American Bar Association and surveys following.
The survey highlighted that clearly, majority of people would got to a person they know.
As a lawyer, the strength of your relationships and network is vital to your business and the future growth of it. Did you know that clients who are referred by friends or someone you know are worth much more in profit than a cold encounter? Referrals are "inherently cost-effective" and more efficient to gain with your time.
When one of your friend's friend asks for the best attorney for a problem they have...will your friend remember to refer you?
This is where staying top of mind is extremely important. It will determine if your friend, acquaintance, previous, or maybe current client will reference you when someone asks if they know a lawyer? To ensure that these individuals refer you, you can stay top of mind in these ways:
Sending a quick follow-up after an event, meeting, or some type of get together, can spark the professional relationship to move forward with whatever happened beforehand. In your follow-up make sure to outline the clear next steps in order to ensure that you both are following through with what you need.
Warning: Everyone's inbox is probably filled with newsletters, coupons, and other types of email that seem to jam our inboxes; however, email is a form of communication that almost everyone checks on a daily, or hourly in my case, basis. Because of the latter statement, you should create a piece with valuable and relevant content that pertain to something your clients should know.
Identifying relevant events in the timeline of a client or through a connection in your network can work in your favor. You need to avoid being invasive or creepy with some of the timeliness. If you enter the conversation at the right time with the most relevant information, you'll add strength to your relationships and increase the overall chance for a referral in the future.
With previous people you've met, depending on the degree of relation, you should determine some type of cadence to personally engage with them. For example, if you got coffee with someone two weeks ago, follow-up with them in a month to check-in to see how things are going since you last chatted. Also, be sure to reference something you talked about over coffee. This could lead to more conversations and ensure that you are the person that refer for legal issues.
Staying top of mind doesn't mean there needs to be a constant stream of communication. It just needs to be consistent, relevant, and meaningful for the other party. When there comes a time that someone needs a lawyer, people in your network know to reference you.
Having a digital presence is just as important now as referrals and almost always after getting your name someone will then do an online reference check to find out more about you.
Consider opening a Twitter account or refreshing your LinkedIn with relevant skills, you could inherent some added connections or followers that you wouldn't have gained otherwise. Social media opens up an opportunity to expand your reach beyond your network. Creating these accounts also increases the quality of your SEO impact. For example, Google now indexes tweets into searches, so if you are tweeting relevant things about your industry, your tweets (with the appropriate keywords) will show up in searches.
Did you know that there are over 250,000 with the title lawyer or attorney on Linkedin? Or If we look at the entire legal population in the United States there are over 1.22 million lawyers. Taking that into account with the numbers on LinkedIn and Twitter, for the lawyers who invest in their digital brand in some way will have an advantage in the field.
With these three ways put into action, you'll be able to grow your book of business and client base beyond what you could imagine. We're not promising millions, but solidifying best practices in relationship management combined with digital efforts your practice will flourish.
Are you currently using any of these techniques? What has worked best for you? Let us know in the comments!