By Ally Kennedy, Founder of Amiga
Almost any attorney (or business person) would tell you that the number one way that she brings in business is through referrals. However, most businesses spend their marketing efforts and dollars on trying to bring in new clients.
When I gave this some thought, a lightbulb went off: why don't I spend my marketing dollars cultivating the clients I already have?! In a fundraising training that I attended when I was on the Board of Directors for a local non-profit, I learned that a donor should have a “touch” from the organization at a minimum one time a month. The “touch” should be personalized and make the donor feel special, important, and remembered. I realized that this advice can be applied directly to clients as well. (As it turns out “my” idea was not as original as I thought as there is a whole marketing theory called “Engagement Marketing.”)
Your current and past clients are your most important asset. In addition to the money that you receive from cases, clients are the people who are out in the community spreading your message. They are flying the flag of who you are and what you do.
Ironically the biggest complaint from clients is that their attorneys do not communicate with them enough. Thus, having a monthly “touch” is critical to make sure your clients feel valued and remembered.
Here are a few ideas on how you can make that connection with your clients on a regular basis:
1. Pick up the phone
It can be time consuming to call all of your clients, but it is should be your goal to call every client once a month. Clients often feel like they are bothering us (WENDY’S ARTICLE RE CLIENT PERSPECTIVE) if they call us, so take the first step and call them. It does not have to be the attorney who calls, though it is a good idea for the attorney to call the client at least once every two months or so.
2. Give thanks
If a client referred you a new client, personally call the client to thank him. Let him know how much you appreciate his trust in your firm. Also a short thank you note goes a long way (and so does a small gift like a Starbucks gift card).
3. Document Everything
We’re lawyers so we know to document everything, right? Unfortunately in today’s Google-driven world, we oftentimes think clients will look into things themselves but this is a big mistake. Every client should receive a letter upon signing up that gives the overview of the steps in the case and a summary of the process. Each letter thereafter should explain the current step as well as provide the client another overview of the process.
I found this to be particularly important for U Visa cases where the wait is long due to the limit of available visas. I use every letter to explain the steps of the case, the step we are on, and where everything fits together. I also send a monthly case status letter that explains the latest VSC processing date and what that means for Deferred Action status as well as the U Visa availability. If it sounds like too much work to create these letters, check out our done-for-you resources on Amiga Docs.
4. Make it personal
A handwritten note is beautiful and unexpected. Though an email is easy and appreciated, something that you write and sign by hand shows that you have taken an extra step and gone the extra mile to show that you care. For example, we send birthday cards to every client, client’s spouse, and client’s children. For bonus points handwrite a quick thank you note to every person who comes to your office for a consultation. (The consult stage is perhaps the most important time to cultivate a future client.)
Many of us send holiday cards, but there is no reason why cards or thoughtful notes should be sent only once a year. Try to send your clients (both current and past clients) something personalized once a quarter. For example, we send our clients a card “just to say hi” with the change of each season. This does not have to break the bank. Vistaprint offers postcards that start from $5 for a set of 50, which means that the price is right, plus you save some change on mailing postcards. Great care should be taken to ensure that your mailers reinforce your brand.
What are some ways that you engage with your current clients?
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.