Monday, February 12, 2007

New 2007 Law Firm Business is at your Fingertips

Your greatest opportunity for new law firm business in 2007 is hidden in your existing accounts. New legal business obtained from current or past clients tends to be more profitable, due to a lower cost of acquisition and a higher likelihood of successful completion.

It is actually fairly simple to generate new revenue from current clients by following these five business development steps:

1. Take a client to lunch (off the clock). Invite a high-potential legal client to join you for a meal at a nice local restaurant. Demonstrate your interest in their business or personal challenges, competitive environment and 2007 plans. Listen carefully to determine how your legal expertise can help the client better achieve their goals.

2. Up-sell and cross-sell more law firm services. Many clients may not understand the full range of legal services your firm offers. For example, family law attorneys may also educate clients on wills and estates. If you handle Intellectual Property matters, encourage clients to consider proactive trade secret protection available through your employment law practice.

3. Identify and protect “at risk” accounts. In any book of business, some accounts are in danger of leaving. You can identify these accounts by a decrease in billing patterns or less frequent communication. Take action to prevent these clients from leaving and you will improve your profitability and retention rate.

4. Re-establish inactive accounts. It’s natural that over time some clients drift away. Identify these accounts and contact them to see what happened. Invite former clients to start using your law firm again, or at least to refer others who might use your legal services.

5. Conduct a client satisfaction survey. Ask your clients what you do well and where you need improvement. While this sounds scary, your clients will appreciate your interest and provide some constructive suggestions for your consideration.

Here’s another secret to successful marketing: not every client is a good client. Create an “ideal client profile” and do not accept cases that you know from experience are not right for your firm.

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