Building the law firm of your dreams begins by defining your “Ideal Client”. Your Ideal Client is not the injury victim with the multi-million $ case. Your Ideal Client is the person who sends you a steady stream of new, high quality cases.
Think QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Just 2-4 highly influential referral partners are all you need. Case in point: 80% of my law firm’s revenue in 2016 was generated from 4 referral partners and 60% of the revenue was generated by 2 referral partners.
Define Your Ideal Client with Laser-Beam Precision
Define the qualities of your Ideal Client: age, gender, geographic region, practice area, size of firm, etc. You already know who your Ideal Clients are—just take a moment to define them. Now, you’ve got two assignments:
- Nurture and cultivate the relationships with your ideal referral partners; and
- Create new relationships with your Top 20 prospective referral partners (a/k/a “Whales”).
Marketing Like No One Else
You’ve got a crazy busy life and you don’t have the time to nurture the relationships with your ideal referral partners. No problem, my friend. You have to automate the process of cultivating these relationships with a series of automated, multi-media “touches” that keep you top-of-mind with your Ideal Clients.
A good start is a monthly print newsletter that is intended to educate and help your Ideal Clients. Don’t bother with a cheesy newsletter about your Aunt Betsy’s apple pie recipes—instead, give away your best secrets for marketing and managing a business. Your Ideal Clients will love that you’re giving away all of your best secrets without asking for anything in return. NEVER ASK FOR ANYTHING, JUST GIVE.
Collect emails for an email newsletter on your website. Automate the process of sending a weekly email newsletter at least once a week on the same day and time, i.e., Tuesday at 1 p.m. Your tribe (a/k/a raving fan base) will love that you are sending valuable information and the database of your fans will grow steadily.
A Warm, Personal Touch is Everything
Send written updates to your Ideal Clients at least once a day about the status of a case. Your Ideal Clients will love your dedication to updates and you are building equity with them with every letter/email. Daily updates to your referral partners are the “One Thing” that will set you apart from all other lawyers who take their referral partners for granted.
Do something special for your Ideal Clients when a case settles. Buy lunch for their firm or drop off bagels for their staff. Small, personal touches will set you apart from the 98% of lawyers who ignore their referral partners.
Get crazy with a Client Appreciation Party and invite all of your referral partners. Show your love with a free dinner or Happy Hour—take photos, hang out and have fun. The personal touch is, and always will be, the best form of marketing.
Expanding Your Influence to Thousands of Ideal Clients
Once you’ve defined your Ideal Client, it’s time to expand your base. Create a list of your Top 20 prospective referral partners, i.e., those lawyers/referral sources with whom you’d like to have a referral relationship. Once you have a list of your Top 20 “Whales”, begin the process of reaching out to them with a healthy dose of your best advice and tips for running a law firm.
The law firm of Finkelstein & Partners (“F&P”) mastered the out-reach program to its referral partners. F&P is a certified CLE provider and sponsors free lectures about law firm management and marketing for lawyers. Judges and high-profile PI lawyers speak at the CLE events and there is good-will in the air. The base of referral partners for F&P expands with each new CLE event—this is how you become a rock-star among your referral partners.
Outside-the-Box Stuff that No Lawyers are Doing
Not quite ready to become a CLE provider? Hold a one-hour speaking CLE that provides value for your Ideal Clients. You can invite your prospective referral sources to the demonstration of a focus group (i.e., the “Jury Project”) and show them how a focus group can help them with trial presentation.
You can hold a CLE about internet marketing for lawyers (i.e., “How to Get Your Law Firm’s Website on the First Page of Google”) or pick any topic in which you have special knowledge. Better yet, offer your speaking events to your county bar associations and let them endorse and promote the event.
Write an article for the monthly newsletter of your county bar association. Your county and regional bar associations are always looking for good content for their newsletters and once you became a guest author, you’re spreading your influence among hundreds, if not thousands, of their members. There is no better way to stay top-of-mind with your Ideal Clients.
Run local or regional mastermind groups with your prospective referral partners. Trial Lawyers College grad, Steve Shultz, Esq., offers monthly workshop meetings for his tribe that builds rapport and collaboration among the members. The ultimate beneficiary is Steve himself with a nice flow of referrals and trial consultations (I consult with Steve for every trial).
Become a Rock Star with Your Ideal Clients
Let’s say you’ve got a strong base in your local community—it’s time to go national. John Powers, Esq. expanded his influence by giving speeches at national CLE events for the American Association for Justice and received referrals of big PI cases from lawyers across the country. There was no immediate pay-back, but the long-term pay-back was crazy.
Speak at a regional, statewide or national event to get in front of your ideal clients. Contact the organizer of the event/summit, tell them about your killer content and ask for a meeting. You might be surprised by the results—no other lawyers are doing this.
Build a legacy by writing a book with your best marketing and management tips. As a published author, you will have expertise, celebrity and credibility that will put you above every other lawyer in your market and while the cost can be substantial, you’ll have an asset that will last the rest of your career. Writing a book for your ideal clients is the single most powerful marketing tool you will ever have.
Don’t Hold Back Any Secrets
Build a website just for your Ideal Clients, i.e., www.UltimateInjuryLaw.com. Watch your influence expand as you blog daily about the best marketing and management tips for your prospective referral partners. Create a mobile app (www.JohnFisherApp.com) that contains your best legal forms, books and newsletters.
Create a “Shock & Awe” package for your Ideal Clients consisting of your books, newsletters, audio CDs, DVDs, office policies, legal forms, etc. Send the Shock & Awe in a gift-wrapped package when you receive a new referral or just as a friendly introduction to a prospective referral partner. Giving quality content, rather than asking for referrals, is the most effective way to create a new relationship.
Ask your prospective referral partners for lunch to find out what made them successful. You might be surprised at their response—the best lawyers love talking about their success. Even if you don’t gain a single referral, the advice of an elite lawyer will be invaluable.
Leverage the Success and Failures of Elite Lawyers
There is no better way to leverage the success and failures of others than a mastermind group of high caliber lawyers. Alone you can only go so far, but with the advice and guidance of others, there are no limits. If there are no mastermind groups in your town, create your own.
Better yet, go outside your community for the best tips and advice for growing a law firm. If you want a taste of what a mastermind can do for you, check out www.MastermindExperience.com. The Mastermind Experience is a one-day mastermind meeting of some of the best lawyers in the country, who share and collaborate in ways that will take your practice beyond what you can capable of doing alone.
A Harsh Reality to Face
You’re probably thinking, “How on earth can I get all this stuff done?” Don’t try to do all of it—just do one thing, and once you’ve done one, move onto the next. Even a slight improvement in your practice once a day will have the compounded effect of changing your law firm dramatically in a few months.
But very few (if any) will take action and that’s a damn shame. Here’s my challenge for you: if you do just one thing, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “I proved you wrong!” and I will send you a free copy of my book, “The Power of a System: How to Build the Injury Practice of Your Dreams”.