Reid Trautz, one of the blogosphere’s pioneers at Reid My Blog, has a helpful piece in the current issue of the ABA’s GPSOLO Magazine where he shares a “few management ideas that, through a small investment of time, can have the biggest impact on clients, office productivity, firm profitability, and your quality of life.” Many of them would apply no matter what size your firm.
His main point is that with all the pressures on lawyers today – billing, business development, family demands/desires, managing your practice, and personal self-time – some simple management ideas could keep the best of us from burning out.
Specifically, Trautz provides his ideas in five areas: Client Service, Financial Management, Marketing, Technology, and Office Systems and Processes. Although one can argue (as I often have) that everything a lawyer or firm does is related to marketing in one way or another, I will confine this post to his suggestions in the areas of client service and marketing specifically.
- Enter your office and open your eyes to what clients see and how they “experience” it, starting with the look and feel, to the likely personal interactions they’ll encounter; then, draw up a “list of improvements;” (better yet, ask them in person);
- Prepare a client satisfaction survey (or use one of those he suggests) and put it online (better yet, ask them in person); and
- Review and revise your engagement letter to meet ethical standards (he suggestions many do not), and eliminate legal jargon (basically make it a positive, friendly document); and
- Require that everyone in your office understand their role in marketing, and to buy-in to contributing in some way (and the firm should provide the necessary training where needed);
- Keep the marketing plan simple and short, but with meaningful, measurable action items that will develop the clients you want, in the practice areas you enjoy. Further, aim to gain more of the same (start with your current financial records to see where the said desirable work is currently coming from);
- Turn a seminar speech into an article for publication, and then send it to clients and to those you met at the seminar (what Trautz calls “four-for-one” marketing); and
- Improve your web site with testimonials (where ethical rules permit), and add a video to your site.
Not all marketing and business development ideas need to be difficult or stressful. Sometimes simple is smarter.