I believe every law firm recognizes that in 2014, it is more important than ever to maximize relationships and work with current clients. Yet, most law firms don’t do it very well.

Those firms are not alone. When I practiced law, I found our firm talked a good game on cross-selling (I prefer cross-serving). But, when it came to actually doing it we fell short.

What was holding my old firm, and many other firms back? At our old firm, our first issue centered on credit. Our system of compensation and allocating credit created “silos” within the firm. Beyond that, our discussions focused on end results rather than action steps. Our discussions also focused on what we wanted rather than what our clients wanted.

After I raised the issue, I was asked to prepare a one-page memo on the subject. I recently saw it and found many things I wrote back then are still relevant today. Take a look. Is this something that would serve as a good discussion topic in your law firm?

To expand relationships with your existing clients and provide services you are not currently providing.

Main Point:
Selling will not work. Clients do not want to be sold. They want to buy, but only what they want and need. In order to get clients to buy other services, you must thoroughly understand their business, their perspective and their views of lawyers and of your firm. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Create industry teams
  2. Identify specific clients and client heads.
  3. For each client research and describe their business.
  4. For each client describe what you know about the client representatives.
  5. Identify the legal work being done for the client in the practice areas.
  6. Put together a team to focus on finding ways to add value and serve the client in other areas.
  7. Prepare a client service plan (not a marketing plan) for each client, including specific activities to better know the client, the client’s business and the client representatives.
  8. Identify and prepare list of “joint projects” that could be done for a client not “cross-selling” but rather integrated services.
  9. Identify something extraordinary and memorable to “give” the client from the other practice groups (guides, newsletters, white papers, check lists, workshops etc.). Keep in mind that if it is not extraordinary and memorable it will be ignored.
  10. Conduct regularly scheduled team meeting to discuss what is going on with the client and their business.
  11. If possible, set up meetings at no charge for us to learn more about the client’s business. 

Get together a group of lawyers in your firm over coffee, tea, lunch. Start by announcing the purpose of your get together is to come up with as many ideas as possible on how the firm can expand its relationship with existing clients. Don’t share my list. Go around the room and have each person suggest an idea. After  have run out of ideas, rank them 1, 2, 3, and so forth. For each one identify the next step.