Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
Another sure-fire way to ensure you are getting more referral clients is to go the extra mile in your service delivery. Be as flexible to your clients’ need as possible.Provide them with samples or case studies of past work to help them understand the process. Make sure that if you’re not available at any given time, that someone on your team is. Never leave your clients hanging in their time of crisis. Do whatever you can to deliver the best possible service.
I’ve said this many times, but what makes your clients happier even more than your ‘lawyer’ skills, is your approach to service. Always remember, at the core, you are a service provider.And that is what will stand out for your clients just as much if not more than your lawyering ability. Another value-added approach, especially if your clients are business people, is making introductions for them to your vast network. Help them grow their business.
Many of you already build relationships with other lawyers as a referral source. But think about all of the other professionals that would have access to, or be in front of the people you are targeting as clients. They could be accountants, financial planners, real estate agents, contractors, hair stylists, personal fitness trainers, and so on. It will vary depending on your practice of course. Build your network with diversity. For example, build relationships with real estate agents that target different groups or geographical locations. The same goes for all of the professionals in your network.
Then be sure to reciprocate. You will build a much more loyal following by sending them referrals as well. Another reason you want to build diversity into your network, to make it easier for you to refer clients or leads back to them.
Reward the people who refer people to you with a personalized gift. It could be a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or tickets to a show or sporting event. You will stand out and they will think of you more often. Write a handwritten thank-you card to go along with your gift.
In addition to speaking at conferences and events, putting on educational workshops is another excellent business-building tactic. There are many applications for this. You can offer workshops to current clients as a value-add, and it’s a great way to strengthen your relationship. It’s also and excellent way of building more relationships in your prospects company or organization. One of the reasons I like this tactic so much, is that you’re not asking your contacts for anything. You are providing them with valuable content and knowledge.
You are a service provider right? That means you help people in one way or another. If you are a lawyer, perhaps you help your clients through a sticky situation or prevent it from happening at all. If you are an accountant maybe you save your clients from paying too much tax. And if you are a personal fitness trainer, it could be about transforming someone life through better health and fitness.
Whatever service you provide, you can’t help people you don’t know. So don’t feel small about helping people. Don’t feel small about getting out there and finding more people to help.
Would you like to increase your referrals? Would you like to have raving fans for clients? One of the ways you can do this is by making sure you know your clients are happy with your work.
Even if they smile when you have your final meeting. Even if they don’t dispute your final bill. Can you be certain they were happy with your work? Can you count on them to provide you with referrals? Are you willing to take that chance? I have worked with many clients who have realized they don’t know for absolute certainty their clients are happy.
The easiest way to ensure they are? Give them permission in your initial meeting to give you feedback. Ask them to let you know if something is not exactly the way they want it. If they are unsure about something, make it easy for them to ask you. Believe it or not, a lot of clients are intimidated by their lawyers. They won’t feel comfortable bringing something up unless you make it perfectly clear that’s how you like to work.
By doing this, you are then in a position to correct any small issue in the moment, as it happens. This prevents small issues from festering and growing into large ones. By the time they become large issues, it’s almost always too late to effectively correct the situation. This approach also strengthens your relationships with you clients.
So the next time you open a file, a new client, or long-standing one, try this approach. Watch for the subtle reaction on their face.
I was working with one of my clients on Friday of last week. We were reviewing what he has done or is doing to attract new clients. He mentioned that he had a system in place with the receptionist. Anytime a cold call came into the firm in his practice area, she would pass them directly to him. I thought this was a great idea. He mentioned that he thought it might be a waste of his time. He went on to say that a lot of these calls went no where. I helped him put the time he spent on these calls into perspective.
Any business development activity is going to take time. It’s an investment. What if he were able to figure out sooner than later if the person calling was worth investing more time in? I asked him to create a list of questions. Have them ready for when he gets these calls. Determine in five minutes or less if he should move forward.
In the scheme of things, if he spent five minutes on 10 calls a year and landed one client, it would pay off. That would be a good investment of his time. Think about how much time you spend at a conference? How much time do you spend writing an article? This could be a very lucrative investment of his time and yours.