- Building Trust
- Building Client Relationships
Many lawyers have told me that their clients see them as a necessary evil, rather than a trusted adviser. No doubt if the matter is in connection with a divorce, litigation or a criminal matter, it is easy to see why.
All of these situations are painful for the client and of course human nature is such that we all want to avoid pain.
If however, you want to build your practice in the most cost effective way, the key is to change that relationship from being seen as a necessary evil, to that of a trusted adviser.
I think the key to building that type of relationship is one of regular communication. Many clients use a lawyer on a very ad hoc basis. It is not unusual for a lawyer to tell me that they have clients that they haven’t seen for ten or more years.
If that is the case, it will be almost impossible to build a trusting relationship. If you saw your spouse once every ten years, do you think you would have a close, trusting relationship?
In my time as an accountant and financial planner, many is the time, that I have asked a client who their lawyer is and the client’s reply has either been that they can’t remember their name or they dealt with so and so years ago, but who would I recommend.
Now of course, you could choose to blame the client for this state of affairs, but that won’t get you very far. The far better approach I think, is to do something about it yourself.
The beauty with regular communication with your clients is that it doesn’t cost you very much. You don’t have to place advertisements in the local paper, as you already know who they are. Chances are you already have an email address,telephone number or street address for them.
I was talking recently at a Law Society function in western Sydney about regularly communicating with your clients and the reaction of many of the attendees was quite negative.
The major issue seemed to be that any form of contact initiated by the lawyer, was seen by this audience as a sales pitch.
In my experience, professionals have an incredible fear of being seen as selling. I recall a partners meeting in a previous accounting practice where one of my partners, stood up and yelled “I didn’t become an accountant to sell things to people”.
Unfortunately, without communicating in some regular way with your client, you are unlikely to ever build the relationship to that of a trusted advisor with that client.
Having said that, of course you will be a trusted advisor with some of your clients. I think if you analyse this, you will find that these are clients where you do have a good relationship with them, which has usually come about through regular contact.
Even if this contact has initially been instigated by the client on each matter, it is still contact and inevitably a relationship will build.
If you want to want to become the trusted advisor with as many of your clients as you can, the key is regular communication. If your client is not regularly communicating with you, then it is up to you to do something about it.
If you want to become the trusted advisor with many more of your clients and benefit from all the advantages that this will bring your practice, then go to www.marketingalawfirm.com.au and watch the 3 minute video.
This risk free program has been developed for small law firms that want to grow their practice in an incredibly cost effective way. I’m sure that you have heard the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. There has never been a better time to get your small law firm running how you would like it.
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