Your success in landing new clients, or retaining existing clients for that matter, can relate directly to how they are treated when they contact your firm. I have commented in the past on this blog about the role of the receptionist and how important he or she is in terms of the impact it makes
It always amazed me when I was in-house in the 90’s and 2000’s that most firms did not involve marketing when engaged in discussions relating to mergers and/or hiring laterals. It seemed to most marketers I knew that it was only logical to at least be involved in the interview process of key players. The…
When I was in-house as the first marketing person in the mid-80’s, I had no staff to speak of – as in none, except for a great secretary I shared with a lawyer. You can imagine how much of her time I got. I quickly learned to utilize any staff person – librarian, copy room…
In commenting on my last post about involving staff in marketing, Dan Hull over on What About Clients? blog goes one step further. He reminds us that all employees and shareholders must take both marketing and client service seriously. Actually, they are inseparable. Both are critical to a firm’s long term health.
As I mentioned in my last post about making the non-marketing staff a part of the firm’s business development efforts, Stacy West Clark’s article on that point gives some suggestions on how to accomplish that with at least two groups of staffers.
But first, the lawyer’s role. Educate those who work for you as to:
- How you want clients treated and informed (getting to know them, phone procedures, what to say when you are unavailable, and reaching out to key clients),
- Tracking Google alerts for info about specific clients,
- Remembering important client facts and dates (wedding date, birthdays, etc.),
- Scheduling marketing activities,
- Keeping mailing lists up to date, and
- Encouraging questions about cases, referrals sources and the like.
Legal assistant’s role:
Carrying out all of the above per your lawyers’ instructions. Additionally, be proactive in asking your lawyers about marketing goals, important cases; and staying abreast of the firm’s web site, your attorneys’ bios, and important information about existing clients and referral sources, and most importantly, developing (professional) friendships with clients.
I facetiously said in one of my earlier posts, and have suggested in my speeches for years, that tellers should be the highest paid people in banks, since they have the most direct contact with the money people (customers). Likewise, a law firm receptionist should be the highest paid staff person, because he/she has the most contact with clients (by phone) and with visitors of all kinds. As such, the receptionist can have a profound influence on how the firm is perceived. Put another way, a receptionist person can have an extremely positive or negative impact on the firm’s brand. I can (and do) tell horror stories in this area.
Just some of the important attributes of a good receptionist include:
- Professional attire and grooming,
- Enthusiastic and warm in answering the phone and greeting visitors,
- Remembering and addressing clients by name, and
- Caring about the firm’s clients and showing it.
All staff members can play an important role in a firm’s business development efforts. Just think of the many ways they come in contact with clients and the world outside the firm. Each is an opportunity to advance the firm’s brand or to damage it.
For some of my other posts on staff involvement in marketing….
It continues to amaze me how few law firms engage their non-marketing staff in the firm’s business development efforts. The funny part is that these staff members are involved in marketing your firm in one way or another, if they deal with clients, potential clients or the public at-large. These contacts, whether intended or not, can…
Here is the final installment of my responses to questions by freelance writer John Egan for an article to be published in CPAmerica International’s newsletter relating to “marketing for law firms.” The first three questions related to suggestions and mistakes, and budgeting. The final two questions address the hiring of a marketing person…
Making every person who works at your law firm feel important and an integral part of the team is about as smart of a marketing approach as exists out there. One small way to do that is to include not only the attorneys, but staff as well (at least their names) on the firm’s web site.…
If you are like a lot of lawyers, you may not be completely comfortable in a networking environment. Some attorneys I know would rather go to the dentist than to an event full of strangers. Solution: Take a buddy along. Not for the purpose you might think – i.e. someone comfortable to talk with. Rather, you should spend very…
Although the “S” word is not bantered about by a lot of law firms, just as the “M” word was a no-no in the not too distant past, firms that do “get it” have certainly recognized the need to prepare their lawyers to be more effective at closing the deal. Lawyers, after all, have always been selling (I’m sorry – “persuading” prospects and clients to retain their firm), whether at the country club while golfing or dining, making presentations, writing or speaking, entertaining in general, and, of course, the old standby – while networking at tons of events.
Okay, we’ve established that “sales” isn’t new in the legal world, but why am I teaming up with LegalBizDev? Under the mantle of “marketing” coaching I have been providing many of the tools commonly associated with sales, I just didn’t call it that. It turns out that my approach is similar to what Jim is doing. Only his is better, and he has done much more of it than me. I was so impressed with Jim’s credentials, experience, and most of all the success of his program that I was flattered when he asked me to team up with him. His approach has been so successful, for example, in the brief span of a couple of months the results were so impressive in one prominent Boston law firm, that the firm has nearly doubled the number of the attorneys participating in his second program.
Jim is a Harvard-educated Ph.D., who has spent the last 20 years providing sales training to corporations, including American Express, Bank of New York, Bank of America, TD Waterhouse, State Street, TIAA-CREF, and Telamon Insurance. He now provides this business development training to law firms. He is the author of seven books (including The Law Firm Business Development Workbook and Legal Business Development: A Step By Step Guide) and he is a fellow blogger at Legal Business Development. You can learn more about Jim on his web site.
If you want to learn more about the specifics of LegalBizDev Network programs…