If I were to ask every successful practitioner for their top three reasons for their success, I believe that they would all have “client development” on his or her list. Client development can be broken down into three parts: find, keep and cultivate.
1: Find –By developing referral sources
Make sure your peers know your practice areas. When your friend who is a divorce attorney comes across a client who needs a personal injury attorney (and you just happen to be a personal injury attorney) they will know to send the client your way. Similarly, make sure your family and friends know your practice areas. Join a client referral service at your local Bar association, such as the Bar Association of Baltimore City’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS).
2: Keep –By confidently selling yourself
The legal market is definitely a buyer’s market, so distinguishing yourself from the crowd is a recipe for success. Although you are interviewing the client, the client also is interviewing you. Don’t shy away from confidently selling yourself. People love hearing about your success stories and how you personalize the services that you give. Instead of trying to gain clients by offering the lowest bid, sell your clients on the value that you bring and seal the deal.
3: Cultivate –By staying engaged
Once you gain a client and your legal services have concluded, stay involved in that client’s life. Send a thank you letter, a holiday card or business cards because the saying is true –“out of sight, out of mind.” You want to be the first name off of your clients’ lips if they need a lawyer in the future, so never cut off the lines of communication. Staying engaged with your clients will likely lead to your clients referring new business to you.
For more information on client building and marketing, the Lawyerist has a great article, including tips based on an associates’ experience.