Over the years when I mentored and later coached lawyers, many thought it was way too complicated to attract and retain clients, so they never got started. While there are many ways to do it, getting hired and expanding relationships with clients has these elements:
- Become visible – Clients need to know who you are.
- Become credible – Clients need to know what you do and that you do it well.
- Build relationships with weak ties – Your visibility and credibility will lead to relationships with weak ties. Find as many ways as possible to increase the number of these weak tie relationships.
- Recommendations – Weak ties who know you and know what you do and that you do it well, will recommend you.
- Potential client meetings – Weak tie recommendations lead to meetings with potential clients.
- Build trust and rapport, ask good questions, actively listen and focus on what the potential client wants – Your potential client decides whether he can trust you to handle the matter and what it will be like working with you. He does not care about what you do. He cares about what he needs and wants.
Expanding Relationships with Clients
- Understand client’s industry, business strategy and customers by Google Alerts, iGoogle, and trade publications.
- Figure out your clients’ problems and opportunities before other lawyers and be first to market.
- Interview clients to understand what they consider to be extraordinary service.
- Create Client Service Policy (goals) based on client input.
- Get feedback during and after projects.
- Give things away at no charge (Guides, Webinars, Podcasts, Blogging, Training).
- Create a buzz through associations and trade publications.
- Create a community by putting on programs.
- Focus on causes important to your clients
I think you will agree that you can do all of the above. When do you plan to get started? What will be your first step?