I’m pleased to introduce Colin Ritchie of Ritchie Business Solutions from “down under” as our guest blogger for this edition. Colin Ritchie is the principal of Ritchie Business Solutions, a coaching and consulting firm in Australia that helps small law firms to improve their profitability, cash flow and law firm valuation.
Here’s what Colin has to say about how to make legal marketing a little easier by marketing to existing clients:
Do you want to generate extra fees for your law firm but don’t want to spend a lot of money doing it?
If you do, chances are you have been looking in the wrong place for those fees, by looking to attract new clients.
Your Existing Clients are the Answer
If your law firm provides a range of services to clients, most likely you have many existing clients where you are not providing them with all of the services that you could.
When talking to law firm clients about marketing, I have a saying, being, “Before you spend one dollar on advertising, make sure that you are doing everything that you can for the clients that you already have”.
No, I’m not saying that you can’t advertise, but in many cases, I have found that all of the growth that a firm can possibly handle is literally sitting inside the existing client files in the office.
You see all sorts of fancy marketing terms for what I am talking about, such as cross selling and so on, I keep it much simpler than that.
I call it giving your client what they want and need.
Let me explain…
Most law firms do not have a client base full of lawyers. In fact for most, none of their clients, may be lawyers.
So if I asked you the question, “At your firm, who knows more about the law, your lawyers or their clients?” It should be quite easy to answer.
So having asked that question, let me ask another, “Who is best equipped to identify the legal issues that your client may have?”
The answer once again, is obvious, YOU!!
Unfortunately at this point many lawyers get all worried about the fact that they may be seen as “SELLING” their services, so they keep quiet.
I continually have lawyers make comments to me along the lines of “If the client wants it, they will know to ask”.
But will they?
I direct you back to my original question “Who knows more about the law, you or your client?”
Surely, this approach is making the assumption that your client is as up to date about legal knowledge as you are, which is highly unlikely.
So How Do You Do It?
If you are still reading, I presume that you follow my logic and hopefully agree with it.
Let’s then look at how you can convert the enormous potential in your firm into results.
Lawyers continually tell me that a purchase of legal services is a grudge purchase. The client doesn’t want to buy it, but they have to. It is a bit like going to the dentist to fix a sore tooth.
Yet plenty of patients of dentists spend huge amounts of money buying all sorts of cosmetic dentistry to improve their smile. So even though fixing a sore tooth may be a grudge purchase, the cosmetic dentistry that has probably cost way more, is not.
It is no different with clients of law firms.
While the property conveyance is a grudge purchase, the estate planning to protect their family is not.
Give Your Clients What they Really Want
A key strategy then, is to find out what your client really wants. Depending on your client base, there is lots of information available as to what they really want and will pay handsomely for.
For example, using the estate planning example from before, does your client really want your complicated documents and strategy, or do they want the peace of mind that those documents bring? You get the idea. When you think that way, what other services may offer them peace of mind?
If you offer a range of services, there will be many additional ways that you can give your client what they really want.
What brought the client to you, is not the only way you can help them
In my experience, many firms act for a client on the matter that brought the client to the firm and then move on and look for another client.
I think this is the totally wrong approach.
As a former Chartered Accountant, most clients would come to our firm to get their tax return completed. Did this mean that that was the only service we could help them with?
Of course not.
This was the grudge purchase that they had to buy, if not from us, then from another firm.
In most cases they simply didn’t know how else we could help them.
I suggest that for law firms it is no different.
The property conveyance may be the grudge purchase that brought the client to you, it is now up to you to educate them on the services that you can provide that they really do want.
If you can do this and do it well, you will not only unlock the enormous potential that exists in your firm, you will develop a group of happy clients who will happily refer you other clients who want the same thing.
If this approach resonates with you, why not read more. I had an article published in the January 2013 edition of the Law Council of Australia’s Law Management Journal called “Seven Simple Marketing Strategies for Small Firms. This article expands on this approach of marketing to your existing clients. You can read this article by going to the following link here.
Colin Ritchie is the principal of Ritchie Business Solutions, a coaching and consulting firm in Australia that helps small law firms to improve their profitability, cash flow and law firm valuation.
You can visit their website at www.ritchiebusinesssolutions.com.au and while there, subscribe to receive their free fortnightly small law firm blog by going to the blog tab and providing your email address.