Once I land a new client, I don’t need to continue my marketing efforts. All I have to do is produce good legal work and be responsive, and the client will love me and keep coming back.
Now that I’ve succeeded in landing this client, I have to continue my marketing because it takes more than being a good lawyer to keep her.
I suspect #1 is the assumption most of us adopt after our initial marketing efforts have proven successful. We have done everything right to win over this new client….convinced him we have sufficient legal knowledge, experience and record of positive results to land his business.
However, whether we like it or not, Assumption #2 makes the most sense. Retaining clients and getting their referrals requires much more than servicing their legal needs. Retention and future referrals depend on continued legal marketing even though a lot of lawyers would rather focus only on doing the legal work. The need to market to current clients never ends.
So, what does this post-hire phase of legal marketing entail?
1. Expanding the professional relationship beyond strictly business to include a personal dimension. Clients are most likely to stay with you if you are a friend as well as their lawyer. How do you accomplish that?
- Find a common interest in a sport, hobby or interest area and invite the client to attend or become active in those endeavors with you.
- If your client is married or has a partner, you and your significant other can cultivate a friendship with that couple. A couple friendship strengthens your individual bond with the client.
For example, you could go out to dinner periodically, attend events of common interest, put together a quarterly supper club with multiple clients or organize get-together’s in which children from both couples play together.
2. Continuing to bring value to the client’s business or career beyond the legal help you are providing, e.g. find ways to introduce your client to people in your network of connections who may have business interests similar to your client’s or who might be potential clients for your client.
3. Making yourself an integral part of the client’s business by…
- Visiting your clients’ offices to demonstrate interest in their businesses, as well as their legal needs.
- Gaining the trust and positive regard of your client’s leadership team and administrative staff. Never underestimate the power of their favorable comments.
- Assuming you have business acumen, gaining in-depth knowledge about your client’s industry and his/her business in particular, so you can become a valuable business advisor and a well-informed sounding board, thereby making yourself indispensable as both a legal and a business counselor.
Retaining clients and gaining their referrals requires that you bring on-going value to them beyond the legal advice you provide. The necessity of continuing to market after the client hires you is vital to your success as a rainmaker.
Try implementing one of the marketing suggestions discussed here and judge the results for yourself. You may be able to keep some clients by ignoring recurrent marketing, but you will grow the loyalty of more clients by forging personal relationships with them and becoming an integral part of their businesses.