Remember to Market to Your Existing Clients
We spend a lot of time writing about attracting new clients; however, it's important not to forget about your current and past clients. For many reasons, the most effective way to bring in new business is creating programs designed to better your relationships with existing clients.
Consider the following:
- 80 percent of future revenue will come from just 20 percent of your existing clients (Gartner Group)
- It's 50 percent easier to sell to existing clients than to new clients (Marketing Metrics)
You don't have to be a marketing guru to know that the best way to get repeat business is to take exceptional care of the clients coming into your office today. Most client retention items can be placed in two categories—legal value and service value. Legal value is created by being an expert in your field, anticipating legal issues, and providing timely and useful advice. Service value starts with good communication in a reasonably prompt manner, a helpful office staff, and alternative billing methods.
Providing excellent legal work and great service keeps your clients satisfied during a pending matter; maintaining contact brings them back for more service and leads to referrals.
How do you keep in touch?
Face-to-face communication is best but requires a bit of time and effort. Meeting in person is an opportunity to build stronger and mutually beneficial relationships. Taking your client to lunch, sporting events, the theater, or visiting them at their place of business are all effective marketing techniques.
Active participation in trade associations to which your clients belong is also a good way to see them on a regular basis. If you can't always communicate in person, a phone call or e-mail with information on a new law affecting their business is also effective. Your firm can send out quarterly newsletters and other direct mail to keep their name in clients' minds. An annual "thanks for your business" letter to top clients is a good communications tool.
In-person surveys are effective to learn about client relationships, and clients like the opportunity to tell the firm how it is doing and what it can do to improve its services. If you want candid feedback, someone other than the lawyer that worked on the matter should do the interview. Written surveys are also helpful; sent electronically or by mail, they give clients a chance to express their opinions and indicate other legal services they may need.
Speeches and Client Seminars
Offering free seminars is a valuable business development tool and can be used in many different ways. To improve relationships with existing clients, you can:
- Plan a take-out seminar for clients at their place of business for management, employees, or both. Let the clients decide the topics.
- Search for conferences, forums, or seminars held by independent event organizations, associations, industry trade and professional groups, academic institutions, and think tanks that relate to your clients' interests. Organizers often look for speakers to contribute to the group.
Marketing to keep existing clients or develop new ones isn't rocket science. Using just a few of the marketing steps above can help improve your business.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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