5 Business Development Tips For These Economic Times

It certainly is no secret that the buyers of legal services are closely scrutinizing the costs associated with outside law firms, especially during this economic downturn. There are two things that some firms recognize in that climate: first, there is a need to re-think their approach to developing business;...

How To Improve Your Client Service

Most law firms would say, if asked, that they provide excellent client service, or at least very good service. Unfortunately, this self-assessment is not based on fact in most cases. As my friend Stacy West Clark reports, when clients were asked how their law firms were doing "most gave their firms...

Basic Networking Tips

Do you feel uncomfortable networking? Maybe better questions include: Do you enjoy helping friends and acquaintances? Are you a good listener? Do you like to party?? Then, you may be better at networking than you think. So, maybe it is the word "networking" that is the culprit. Think of it...

Still Not Offering Clients Alternative Fees? Beware!

If you still don't like the idea of offering clients alternative fees or value pricing options, then how about just letting the client decide how much they want to pay for legal services? WHAT!!!, you say. A pretty far fetched (or ludicrous) idea, right? Not so fast. CMS Cameron McKenna , a UK...

Does a small general practice law firm have a future in a small market?

A partner from a law firm in a small legal market (under 500,000 people) in the United States asked me this question a few days ago. The answer is really one of definition. While the term "general practice" is relatively benign, claiming to be "full service" can be toxic for a...

Discover the Client's Need, Before Selling the Solution

Doesn't every lawyer do that? Well maybe not so much. Sometimes professionals are too busy talking about the solution to a problem they assume the client has, when in fact the client may not even recognize they have a problem. In other words, you can't solve a problem that the client doesn't...

Have You Called A Client Today?

It's 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, and Tom Peters of In Search of Excellence fame undoubtedly would like to know if you called a client today. Peters has an excellent 1 minute 7 second audio clip I ran across today. You should listen to it as well. He admonishes us to never get out of touch with customers...

Free Lunch

A surprising number of otherwise sophisticated law firms spend a horrifying amount of time and money pursuing strategic alliances, partnerships, or other relationships with other firms. Some of these relationships work well. Most, however, produce disappointing results for both parties. This is the...

Client Interviews: Think Defensively

I have advocated for years the need for client satisfaction interviews as a means of keeping competitors from pirating your clients. Not only do these surveys, especially in-person ones, help to solidify the client relationship, but they let a firm know about any client dissatisfaction before the client...

Client Communications: What Has The World Come To?

A reporter called the other day to ask about whether client communications have changed, and what I thought about how lawyers should communicate with clients in this new age. She mentioned that in talking with some digitally savvy "younger" lawyers, they preferred communicating by email and...

A Prospect Didn't Hire You, and You're Surprised?

Okay, you met the ideal prospective client, who had a legal problem you really could have helped them with. BUT, after your conversation which you thought went well, he or she didn't hire you. What's with that? Well, according to RealPractice's Company Blog , there could be five reasons...

Value questions to ask your top clients (Part 1 of 2)

When an AmLaw 100 senior partner recently asked us for advice on strengthening the relationship with a top client, we recommended asking questions about his client's perception of value. We sent this list. His task was to pick a few key questions that fit this situation, schedule a meeting, and let...

Value questions to ask your top clients (Part 2 of 2)

This post concludes our list of questions to ask top clients. As noted last week , the idea is to pick just a few that fit your situation, schedule a meeting to discuss them, and listen to them while they talk 80% of the time. Whatever the client says, do not argue or get defensive. Just listen. More...

Manage Client Expectations To Get More Referrals

There could be a number of reasons that clients might bad mouth your firm. As the saying goes, an unhappy client/customer will tell up to 10 people how dissatisfied they are with a product or service. For a lawyer, that can be the kiss of death, since anywhere from 71% to 80% of new matters come from...

Is Seeking Client Feedback in Your 2011 Budget? It Should Be

The budget process for 2011 marketing efforts should be well underway in your firm; and clearly finding out how loyal your clients are is vital to your firm's economic future, not only for the coming year but beyond. Joyce Smiley in a recent item on her web site refers to a classic Harvard Business...

It's time to make business personal

In our world of computer-generated auto-replies ("I'm on vacation" or "I went to the dentist" or "Thank you for your question. In a week and a half, someone will surely get back with you" or "I can't help you, call Susie Drum, and if she's not available...

Are law firm newsletters worthwhile?

I recently participated in an interesting discussion with a group of law firm partners about the value of newsletters. About half of the group said that their firm's newsletter was worthwhile overall; but the other half argued that it was a complete waste of time and resources. Research that...

Organized Networking Makes Sense

Too often when working a room, many of us do so with little thought on being organized. As lawyers, we are methodical by nature in many of our dealings, but I expect networking isn't one of them. Then, I ran across a post Bruce Allen did on his Marketing Catalyst blog during the holidays, that I...

Handwritten Notes Can Make You Stand Out Big Time!

Having preached...yes preached for most of my marketing life about the importance of sending handwritten thank you's , congratulatory notes, etc., I continue to be amazed at how little of this is simply activity is done today. I have at least a dozen posts over the last six years of this blog that...

How Satisfied Are Your Clients? Ask Them

It continues to amaze many clients that more law firms do not seek their feedback on the legal services provided. Over the years I have met with dozens of law firm clients, and heard often that they welcome opportunities to provide feedback. In this economy, client satisfaction surveys are more important...

Hush Up and Listen!

Admittedly, I am not a good listener. I've gotten better, in part because I began listening to my own preaching. More and more in coaching sessions, I advise lawyers to listen more than 50% of the time. In fact, more than 80% as they get better at it. Remember the old saw, since we have...

Are You Pressed To Find Time for Marketing?

A client mentioned to me this week that things are a little slow, so he has more time to think about marketing. Too bad! He should have been thinking about his next clients when he was busy. Yeah, I know, easier said than done. However, when you are pressed for time to complete a client's matter...

Marketing Tip: Avoid Malpractice Claims

Now there is a brilliant title, right? Obviously, any client who sues for malpractice (or even files a grievance with the state bar), is probably not going to hire you again. Not to mention how many people they will bad mouth you to. Okay, so that is pretty darn obvious. But stay with me a minute...

Do Client Experiences Drive Your Firm?

No. 76 in Ric Willmot's weekly wisdom series "Customer Experiences Drive Your Business" hit a core nerve with me. He starts by stating "(c)ustomer service shouldn't be a poor man's cousin to growing your business." He is right, of course. It should be the center of...

How to Have a Successful Solo or Small Firm Practice

There are lots of things one can do from a marketing and business development standpoint to have a successful practice, whether you are a solo or, quite frankly, a lawyer in any size firm. Considering the fact that you will have less resources to bring into play the smaller your firm, here are a...