More clients for your law firm – or just better ones?

More clients for your law firm

Do you really need more clients for your law firm? Throughout my career I’ve worked with many legal practices and the answer I hear from most is “yes”.

Let’s turn that mindset on its head. How would it be if you had fewer clients but better ones than you currently have? Or alternatively, could you turn your existing clients into better ones?

Okay, so I’m a big fan of minimalism and modernism, but could Mies van der Rohe be right – can less really mean more?

Take time out.

Have a look back at the clients you have dealt with over the last year. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did they all pay you on time or at all?
  2. Did they trust you enough to get on with the job or keep pestering you?
  3. Were they disrespectful towards you and your team?
  4. Were you drained or energised by the relationship?
  5. Was some of the time for the matters written off?
  6. Did they choose you or did you choose them?

Your practice management system should be able to fill you in on the answers to 1 and 5 and you’ll probably recall your feelings about the others. However, it’s question 6 that should carry the most weight.

By analogy.

Once you have gathered your thoughts, think of the analogy of the retail sector. At one end of the High Street you have Primark. They sell all manner of goods in large quantities at low-end prices. The quality may be variable, but the goods are cheap. At the other end you have Harvey Nichols. They operate fewer stores, have a relatively narrow choice of very high-quality goods.

Primark operates by making tiny profits on huge volumes of sales. Harvey Nichols sell to a much smaller client base, but their brand image allows them to generate much higher margins. In effect, they are choosing who their customers are.

Where do you want to be?

More clients for your law firm

So, in which sector of the market would you like your legal business to operate? More clients for your law firm may not necessarily be the only way to go. I can’t answer that question for you. However, I believe that focusing on a niche area with a smaller number of carefully selected clients will allow you to do the following:

  • Spend less time working.
  • Charge higher fees.
  • Feel more fulfilled in our job.
  • Have a better work / life balance.
  • Gain more referrals.
  • Attract more repeat business.

Once you have decided how you would like your practice to operate, you have a focus for your marketing to help you achieve that.

Start with the low hanging fruit.

The obvious place to start is with some of your existing clients. Many of these will fit the “better client” profile. So, cross selling is the way to go. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend you to their peers. If they are satisfied with the work you have previously done for them; they will be more than happy to do this.

There are many methods you can use to market your practice to your new, more targeted audience. Take a look at the links below for further ideas.

Mike O’Donnell, December 2019.

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