Law firms spend huge amounts of time and money in trying to bring in new clients. While a fresh client base is always useful, lawyers often ignore their best source of building their practice: their current clients.

A client who has already selected a lawyer she is satisfied with is much more likely to come back to that lawyer when she needs additional legal services, rather than start the search process again. A satisfied customer is also much more likely to tell their friends about their experiences – and a personal referral can be much more effective in bringing in new business than an untargeted and expensive advertisement.

Follow these tips to make sure that your current clients stay clients, and bring new business to your firm:

Tell clients about new laws and regulations that affect them

Keep your clients informed about changes to things that you help them with – for example, if you do estate planning, a great opportunity exists whenever the tax laws around inheritance change.
However, when you inform your clients of pertinent information, do it in a personalized way. Every business and organization out there has a newsletter or mailing or email blast – most of us just ignore these messages, so make sure your message gets noticed. Only target the specific clients who need a certain piece of information, and make your communication to them personalized – a letter or phone call will go a lot further than an email sent to a list.

Know your clients

Get to know your clients. If they run a business, go visit it and ask questions. If their business is something you don’t know about, find out. Be informed about the industry. The more you know about what your clients are involved in, the better services you will be able to provide.

Notice your clients

Don’t just know WHAT your clients do…notice WHEN they do it. You don’t need to track their every move, but keep in touch enough to know when your client’s business gets a write-up in the paper, or when someone’s kid wins the state track championship. Send a congratulations card or message – your clients will value that you are invested in their successes.

Patronize your clients’ businesses

If you have a client who runs a business, you should make every effort to patronize that business. Your client is supporting your company, it’s only fair that you support theirs. This won’t just help you appear friendly to your clients, it can help you have a better understanding of the issues facing their business if you are actually familiar with what they do.

Introduce your clients to everyone at your firm

Different lawyers have different specialties, even if you practice in the same field. Make sure your clients know everyone you work with – it’s possible that someday they may have a need (or a friend in need) that can be better fulfilled by your colleague, but their business will still stay with your firm if they know you can provide that service.

Take good care of your clients

It’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. Always respond to your clients promptly when they contact you. Keep them up to date on their case without needing prompting. Make sure there are no hidden surprises about their case. If something falls behind or a mistake is made, own up to it and sincerely apologize. No one is perfect, but honesty goes a long way.

 

Make sure your current clients know you value them, and that you are grateful when they continue to give you their business or refer someone new to you. Creating strong relationships is the best way to keep your practice busy and strong.

Kimberly Hanlon
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Kimberly Hanlon

Attorney at Law at Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC
Kimberly Hanlon is an estate planning and small business law attorney in the Twin Cities. She is also a co-owner of MoreLaw Minneapolis, the executive suite exclusively for attorneys in downtown Minneapolis.
Kimberly Hanlon
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