In order to keep clients and bring in new clients, you must market yourself and your services. But if you are too busy with client work, how can you find the time to be marketing (a/k/a business development)?
There are no guarantees in today’s business world. Companies go out of business, move away and merge. Few clients are able to remain loyal even when they want to be. Other lawyers are going to do whatever it takes to lure your clients. But there are still only 24 hours in a day and you want a personal life. The best “rainmakers” who are always busy still find time for business development.
What you need to do is to incorporate the aspects of marketing that will bring new clients into your daily business life. That way it becomes part of your routine. What does that mean?
Relationships Clients are loyal to people they like and trust. DO NOT UNDERESTMATE
THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS
Listen to your clients (this is not as easy as you think – most people are not good listeners). Learn to communicate so your client understands you. After the work is concluded, stay in touch on an ongoing basis. Ask them about their satisfaction and make any changes needed. Be sure they are on your mailing lists.
Targeting Who are your current clients – industry-related, type of legal needs, geographic location? These are your target categories. Do you know who they are? If No, conduct market research. If Yes, do you know them personally? If No, find out who knows them and ask for an introduction. Your target list does not have to be long – just one or two at a time. If you plan, somewhere there are a few minutes in your weekly schedule to fit this in.
Referrals Your clients and contacts are all referral sources. Build those relationships. Meet with them, call them, communicate with them regularly, do things with them, but most importantly refer business to them and ask them for referrals
Visibility You must belong to at least one civic, industry or professional organization and attend meetings. If you are not on its board, you must be on a committee. Speak to the group at least once a year, write an annual article for publication or in some way be active, not passive.
Newsletters Can you find the time to come up with one topic a year for a newsletter? Yes. If each lawyer in your firm did that, you would have a list of topics. Or create an “idea” folder as ideas come to you. From this list, you can then select the hot topics or the ones you feel are the most important to write about. (If each lawyer in your firm wrote one newsletter a year, you would be able to produce newsletters that meet your clients’ needs and get your firm’s name out.)
If you incorporate these things into your schedule, write them on your appointment calendar, utilize available “down” time to plan, you’ll be doing what rainmakers do. Marketing will become a normal aspect of your life that does not take up enormous amounts of time but fits into your daily routine. If you still think you are too busy to be marketing, ask yourself “what will I do if my client goes away?” The time to be marketing is when you have no time – not when you
The time to be marketing is when you have no time – not when you have no clients.