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With costs going up everywhere and with staff reward and career path being an important piece of the “talent attraction and retention” puzzle, growth is essential even just to stand still.
I have always been in the “growth” game. I now want to work with firms to help them to identify the growth they need and the route to securing that growth.
But – what does “growth” really mean, and what is good growth and what is bad growth?
To many people that I have talked with over the years, “growth” is commonly taken to mean “winning new clients by marketing and business development”.
I always took the view that better “growth” means:
- Keeping the cases and clients that you have – by good client engagement and by offering a great service – every lawyer, every time
- Generating more cases from those clients
- Then, and only then, trying to get new clients
There is little point doing only 3 until you have 1 and 2 perfected.
1. Great service
To me therefore the first question, if you want to grow your firm, is “What is your service like – across the whole firm?” Do your people work to a common and high standard that everyone has bought into? Without that, a consistently high service across the firm of the kind needed to retain clients and generate more work out of them, is unlikely to be attained.
One can think out of the box here – I introduced a real-time quality assurance system at Darbys by which clients were automatically texted or emailed fortnightly during their case, asking how we were doing. Problems were identified and addressed long before they grew, and clients very much liked our dedication to service.
Working with you, and by listening to your clients, we can examine the nature and consistency of your service and can build ways to develop a service level across your firm that is better than that of your competitors, to help you to secure a lifetime’s value out of each client.
Key here are your people – try doing all of this without them!
2. Offering more support to your clients. Some firms call this cross-selling, but your clients are already buying – only, from someone else
The next questions are – “What are all the possible legal needs of your varied clients?” and “How good are you at telling your clients of all the legal support that you can give them?”
I have never yet come across a law firm that has as one of its KPI’s anything relating to “new matters from existing clients”. This KPI should be central to a firm’s business and culture. I called the project “007” – let’s get 7 matters from each client, over time. The data on client matter numbers is easily available on most practise management systems.
Working together, we can look at all the legal services you can provide (there’s often more than you think!) and we can price them, package them, and promote them to your lapsed clients, to your existing clients, and to every new client that you secure – to get you to the nirvana of “007”.
I can also work with you to identify your key clients (or your potentially key clients) and then work with you in a Key Client Management drive so that you come to provide more of the legal support they need that they are presently procuring from other firms.
The aim of 1 and 2 is to help you to secure the lifetime value out of each client, rather than have them bounce off you. It’s hard work having to find new clients all the time, and new clients are usually most concerned with getting things done at as low a price as possible.
3. Winning new clients
When you are sure that every new client will be retained and their lifetime value maximised, energy and money allocated to marketing for new clients will be better spent.
Whether you wish to acquire new commercial clients or new private clients, we can work together with your legal and Business Support teams to arrive at strategies and tactics, and to get everyone in your firm rowing hard and in the same direction in a sustained campaign. Many a marketing plan has fallen by the wayside in the legal sector as the pressures of life in a modern law firm get in the way. Not here.
Key here are your people – both legal and in Business Support. Try doing all of this without them! Our working together will include quality engagement and communication with your teams about what we are working towards, and around their role in and contribution to it. They are the key to its sustainability and success. They are an incredible force that we will work hard to harness. Not all marketing plans will generate fire in their bellies – we can make sure that ours does.