Thursday, October 09, 2008

Help, My Clients are Bankrupt!

So lamented a Broward County bankruptcy attorney at a business development seminar I recently taught. “My clients need therapy,” chimed in another lawyer with a real estate practice.

Many attorneys today are struggling to generate the high volume of qualified leads needed to keep the lights on while achieving the goal of a six-figure salary.

Where can you find all these prospects? Read on for ten FREE or LOW COST business development techniques proven to help you achieve your practice expansion goals.

1. Ask for referrals. This FREE marketing initiative sounds simple, but the fact is that many attorneys don’t ask for referrals. Be specific! For example, a trust and estates attorney may say, “If any of your friends are the parents of young children and do not have a will, I can offer them some ideas on how to plan for college tuition and long term financial security.” Follow this up with 2-3 of your business cards for pass-along purposes. When you do get a referral, send a thank you note to the originating party.

2. Network with other attorneys. Take advantage of LOW COST networking opportunities available through your local Bar Association and other legal groups. Try to make at least 3-5 new contacts at every meeting you attend. Spending all your time talking to the attorneys you already know might be fun and comfortable, but it doesn’t help you expand your referral network.

3. Market to your current clients. This LOW COST, HIGH RETURN initiative is actually the best way to generate new revenue quickly, because you already enjoy the trust of your existing accounts. Don’t forget to reach out to your inactive accounts, who may need your services once again.

4. Build positive “word of mouth.” Tell everyone you talk to about a recent client success story. This FREE technique is memorable and gives people a reason to recommend you to others.

5. Get out and speak. The Florida Bar Association (as an example) maintains a Speakers Bureau for use by community groups. It’s FREE to add your name to the list of available speakers. To register, look for “Speakers Bureau” under the “Public Information” link at http://www.floridabar.org/. Check for similar speaking opportunities with your other membership organizations.

6. Join a legal referral network. The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to attorneys who will conduct an initial one-half hour office consultation for $25. The Broward County Bar Association also offers a referral service. Once you have the prospect in your office for a meeting, chances are good that they will select you to represent them. This LOW COST effort increases your traffic, adds clients, and gives you more people to ask for referrals.

7. Send an e-newsletter. Constant Contact (http://www.constantcontact.com/) is one of many LOW COST online communications programs that helps you send messages to clients and prospects quickly and affordably. Be sure to comply with Bar and anti-spam guidelines.

8. Get listed in legal directories. Martindale, FindLaw and HG.org all offer FREE basic listings in addition to paid placements. Every place you can get your law firm listed on the Internet will help you attract visitors to your website.

9. Join a leads group. This could be a FREE online networking group like LinkedIn or a LOW COST group like BNI. If these are not right for you, create your own leads group.

10. Never stop marketing!

2 comments:

Ford Harding said...

Margaret
This is a great set of ideas. Even so, it's important for us all to remember that in these troubled times, we will probably have to work harder to generate less new business than we did last year. Grit will be as important as technique in determining who comes out least scathed from the current economic woes.
Regards,
Ford Harding

Jenna said...

Hi Margaret -
I like your ideas as well - but to second what Ford said I think that it will be more and more important to study what works for each individual business. One thing I like to tell our customers is send out a customer survey. Which can also be very inexpensive.
Thanks,
Jenna Jantsch
VerticalResponse