It amazes me that so many law firm websites say the same thing. Like we “are client focused”, “care about our clients”, “efficient”, “responsive”, “client’s interest comes first”, etc., etc. Your firm may actually do and emphasize all these attributes. Problem is, how will prospects know that before hiring you.
One way is to truly differentiate your firm from others when pitching a prospect or client for work. Sally Schmidt in a post this week on Attorney at Work has suggestions on how to do that; including:
Offer more than promises:
- If you claim a team approach, include a group picture and bios;
- Demonstrate your experience on a matter by laying out the strategy and process (consider a Gantt chart or spreadsheet);
- Provide an organizational chart with each person’s role and contact information; and
- If you offer an alternative fee arrangement, indicate how you arrived at the figure to show it didn’t come out of thin air.
Give a service guarantee:
- Lawyers cannot ethically guarantee the outcome of a matter, so provide a service guarantee. It might include returning calls and emails within a specified period of time (as I have preached in the past, empowered other lawyers or staff to respond to inquiries, if for no other purpose than to let the client know when you will get back to them); when and how you will provide status reports (ask the client for their preferences); and communications in general; and
- Offer to visit the client (off the clock) to better understand their business issues (a big client complaint about outside law firms), plans and how the issue relates to the business.
Back up your claims:
- If you claim a particular expertise, back up the claims with the types and number of matters handled.
- List representative matters handled, without naming clients without their permission even if it is a matter of public record; and
- Provide a list of references happy with your services.
Your behavior matters, not your words:
- If you say you are accessible, mean it by giving out your direct dial and cell numbers;
- Send a welcome letter that sets forth how the process will proceed, who will handle their matter, and how to reach members of the team; and
- Show how responsive you are likely to be by getting the proposal to them ahead of the deadline.
If you want to show that your firm is really different from the competition, prove it from your very first contact.