Do you know what your clients value most about working with your law practice? Knowing the answer to that question has a huge impact on your ability to attract your ideal best client.
Thomson Reuters created a white paper on how to prove your value that I found interesting. It needed a bit more detail to be actionable so I decided to provide that here. Let’s walk through the steps together, shall we?
Know what your clients value & provide that
Clients know what they want. They want the end to their legal problems. But, how exactly? A resolution that seems good to you might not work for your client. You know the old chestnut about assuming, right?
How do you determine what clients want from and value in their interaction with you as their lawyer? Ask them. Here are three methods you can use to understand what experience and outcomes your clients want most.
- Do a Win/Loss Study
- Add a survey to your intake process
- Do an exit interview
- Do a Win/Loss Study Work with a neutral consultant to determine why the client hired you and what they thought about their client experience and outcomes. Don’t try to do this with your staff. You need an objective third party who is good at question formation and follow through to get clear undistorted responses.
2. Add a survey to your intake process Along with the information that you need to start the matter include a short “Getting to know you’ survey that inquires about the client’s reasons for hiring your firm and what makes a great client experience for them. Don’t just sip the information. USE it to improve your processes.
3.Do an exit interview with your client Everything you need to know to get your next client you can learn from your last client. Ask questions that help your client think deeply about their experiences with you. Don’t settle for surface answers. The key is to be specific without leading.
For example, if you ask Why did you decide to hire our firm? the client might remember but they also might not. Having a legal problem is stressful and often clients suffer from brain fog because of that stress. They literally don’t know.
Instead, try asking these questions:
- What is something you remember from working with us that made a big positive/negative impact on you?
- If you were referring a friend to us, what would you say to persuade them to work with us?
- What surprised you about working with us?
You’ll begin to develop a picture after asking 10 or so clients. Do this as a regular practice to fine-tune your messaging.
Set client expectations properly
You practice law every day. Most Americans only interact with a lawyer to purchase their home, to get a divorce or perhaps draft a will. That means most clients have no idea how to behave or cooperate with you on their legal matter. Help your clients to not feel stupid and you have won their hearts forever. How can you do that easily?
- Decide what you expect from clients.
- Set expectations around common problem areas like communication, payment, and social media
- Communicate these expectations early and often so your client understands.
- Determine what you expect from clients. When you are launching a law practice it makes sense to take any customers that come along. However, as your practice ages and you have more experience, it’s important to define who is an ideal best client for you. Which clients do you love working with? Who inspires you to do your best work?
One expectation every lawyer has but probably doesn’t articulate is getting paid. Make it explicit by asking clients if they indeed to pay you and explaining what may happen to their legal matter if they do not pay you. Clients still think lawyers are affluent so your client might assume you don’t need the money unless told otherwise.
2. Tell clients what to expect from you. They have no idea what is normal or what to expect. Be crystal clear about communication because poor communication is the #1 bar complaint. Help them understand when to call and when not to call you. Explain what things will be out of your (or their) control. The more they know, the less panic your clients feel. Tell them not to air their dirty laundry or discuss their legal matter on Facebook, if that’s gonna be an issue. Give them an alternative.
3. Communicate early and often. Create an infographic or video that outlines the lifecycle of their legal matter and what is required at each step. Use an app like Case Status to keep clients informed without spending your time on the phone. Brain fog, remember? Your client didn’t hear you the first time or the 5th time for that matter.
Today’s legal consumer is more savvy and price-sensitive than ever before. The Clio Legal Trends study suggests that clients are demanding more cost efficiency from their lawyers. They don’t want to pay extra because you are a solo and small firm so things take longer. How can you please your clients without writing down hours?
- Review your foundation
- Improve your systems
- Delegate marketing and admin work
- Review your foundation. Your practice is only as solid as the cornerstones of your practice. By that, I mean your website, online presence, systems and client attraction. Review each cornerstone to determine what is lacking and adjust. For instance, if you spend billable time on social media, it’s time to find responsible social media management. Your social will be consistent, fresh and relevant and you’ll be able to use that time to build relationships or bill client hours.
- Improve your systems. You run your practice the best way you know how, which is great. However, the way you do things isn’t the only way, or even, the best way. Take a look at these systems to see how you can update them: lead generation, intake, onboarding, information updates, billing and follow up. Do you have a system for getting client testimonials or reviewing client satisfaction? You need those.
- Delegate your marketing and administrative tasks. Did you know that lawyers spend 48% of their time on client attraction and marketing? Studies report that some lawyers only bill 1.6 hours a day. Ouch. Reclaim your time and get better results by delegating your marketing to a virtual assistant who is more skilled than you and actually likes marketing.
Your virtual assistant will help you do so many things like research your keywords, set up your CRM system, follow up on late invoices. And so much more.
And no, hiring a virtual assistant will not be a time suck. It will be a huge benefit. You see as you prepare to set your talent up for success you will be creating your own operations manual. Your practice will be more organized and less chaotic. You’ll be able to sit back and enjoy more time to practice law, write articles, network or even be with family.
Not sure how to get started with delegation? No worries. That’s my jam. I’ll help you decide what to delegate and share the best resources with you during your VIP Day.