You spent years attending courses about the litigation process, torts, and criminal law and mastered those topics. Now it’s time to make a name for yourself, but you can’t do that effectively without a steady stream of clients. That’s where law firm business development comes into play.
Talented lawyers who excel at bringing in clients are called rainmakers, and they are needed by every law firm that wants to grow and thrive. If you’re ready to make yourself indispensable at your law firm, become familiar with these strategies for law firm business development.
Use the Power of Referrals
Sometimes the path to rainmaker is lined with low-hanging fruit, which is the case when it comes to using old-fashioned referrals to grow revenue streams. Besides simply asking for referrals in a professional manner, you’ll want to proactively cultivate a group of referral sources. This group can include previous clients who have frequent legal needs and members of other professions whose clients regularly require legal counsel. After establishing your group of referral sources, you’ll need to engage them frequently with informative content that’s relevant for them.
Here are some ways to accomplish this.
– Send them curated news stories about specific topics of interest.
– Publish a free newsletter.
– Create video content sharing your expertise.
According to statistics that Broadband Search.net recently published, North Americans spend over 2 hours per day on social media. When it comes to engaging referral sources, you want to use social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to communicate with prospects, current clients, and previous customers. Find out which platforms they use most and establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise on those platforms.
Adopting an attitude of gratitude is another key way to grow your law firm using referrals. While giving thoughtful promotional gift items is always a winner, a simple “thank you” goes a long way too. Insiders recommend thanking your contact when he or she gives you a referral, when you get the case, and after the business is complete.
Foster Strong Client Relationships
Every rainmaker knows that clients come to a law firm for results, but they remain loyal to certain firms because of strong relationships. Those relationships are usually based upon consistently good experiences. Start fostering good client experiences by being responsive.
Nearly everyone uses email to communicate, and sending a response to an email query within a day or so of receiving the message earns points with clients. Just letting the potential client know that you’ve received the message and are checking on their issue can put him or her instantly at ease. Exercising clear and frequent communication throughout the client journey is one of the best ways to forge strong professional relationships and grow your law firm with repeat business and referrals.
Every law firm believes that it effectively delivers client-focused services. However, some firms exceed client expectations while others remain sub-par. To avoid falling into the latter group, you’ll need to establish attainable service goals that are based on client feedback.
Next, implement a way to measure your progress. You can’t manage your goals if you can’t measure them. Follow up by soliciting client feedback to determine if your metrics match the real-life experiences of your clients.
Sometimes fostering strong relationships requires a custom approach. Try developing some service goals that are based on the needs of one of your high-priority clients.
Present that client with some of your proposed ideas for improving his or her experience with your law firm. Incorporate the client’s feedback into your operating procedures. If that client is delighted with your firm’s performance, it’s likely that other clients who have similar needs will be satisfied with it as well.
Lawyer Business Development Means Networking
We’ve learned how critical strong relationships are to any law firm, and you’ll find that networking is a powerful tool to establish those relationships and make them blossom. Networking happens any time that you interact with others. It can take place in formal or casual settings, and it can be done in person or online.
For example, formal networking takes place when you accept an invitation to a special event that’s sponsored by your alma mater or your local ABA chapter. During these conferences, be prepared to speak about your area of expertise. It’s likely that other lawyers at the conference are on the lookout for thought leaders in specialty areas of the law. Bring your business cards, in-depth knowledge, and a dash of humility, and you’re ready to establish some friendships that will carry you throughout your career.
Effective networking doesn’t have to take place at conference centers. Sometimes, the best connections are made when you are out having fun. Golf and tennis clubs are famous for being target-rich environments for casual networking.
It happens all of the time. A couple of lawyers meet for a round of golf, and they run into a few general contractors who have decided to de-stress at the golf course while discussing their next construction projects. Introductions are made, business cards are exchanged, and career-long relationships are established.
Living in the digital age has highlighted the importance of being visible and reachable. You can offer top-notch services and have the best-looking website on the internet, but if your site isn’t visible to the search engines, you’ll have a harder time growing an audience. The same rings true for a rainmaker.
The good news is that there are a multitude of ways that you can stay visible within your industry and beyond. Our society is filled with issues that negatively impact communities. We know that those challenges can’t be solved by one person during a weekend retreat in the mountains.
However, one lawyer can make a difference. By taking part in activities that serve the community, you build a reputation of warmth and empathy that naturally attracts people.
Like it or not. Your target audience looks to the internet for advice about nearly everything, which includes legal matters. When they search for informative legal content, they should encounter your online presence.
Both web users and search engine algorithms favor video content. Publish video content on YouTube about subjects within your legal specialty. Give your viewers opportunities to reach out to you through email, the comments section, and during live chat sessions.
Eliminate Time-Wasting Habits
Rainmakers are found in all legal specialties. Efficiency is one thing that they all have in common. They’ve learned to trim away time-wasting habits and use those recaptured moments to create real value for their law firms.
Knowing your strengths is key during your rainmaker journey. However, understanding your weak areas is just as important.
As you examine your own profile, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all clients. You’ll be tempted to build up those weak areas when it may be more efficient to perfect your strengths and collaborate with others who are strong in your weak areas.
Law Firm Business Development – Conclusion
Law firm business development is a course topic that just recently made its way into law school curricula. To stay on top of the latest strategies and trends for law firm business development, subscribe to our newsletter today.