Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tap your Client Database for New Business Fast

I recently visited a law firm that produced their client list ... typed up on 3x5 cards and stored in narrow drawers like an old-fashioned library card catalogue. There were literally hundreds of cards going back over ten years. This treasure trove of potential new revenue had absolutely zero value in terms of business development.

What shape is your law firm's client database in? Considering that your client list is one of the most valuable assets your firm has, it merits a few minutes of consideration.

Here are some five best practice for law firm client database management: 

1. Maintain your client database in an electronic format. There are many ways to do this, the most popular being to tie your client file into your accounting software or a case management system.

2. Review your database fields periodically. In addition to a source field (how the client heard about you) and a start date, you will want to have names for first name, last name, title, firm, address, phones, email addresses, URLs, and other pertinent data. You may want to track family members, birthdates, notes from client meetings, etc.

3. Use your client database regularly. This sounds simple, but it is frequently overlooked. At a minimum you will want to do a holiday mailing, but also consider monthly or quarterly client communications.

4. Keep your list up-to-date. "List hygiene" is a term in the direct marketing industry that relates to the quality of a list. Update addresses, zip codes and contacts are just a few of the items that change regularly. Consumer-oriented law firms that have a large client file can use a list broker to run an "NCOA" (national change of address) review periodically.

5. Segment your list by practice areas. Create cross-sell or up-sell opportunities based on types of legal services used by your clients.

Looking for new revenue? Your client list is the best place to start.

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