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Marketing Law Firms: Just Ask
The more your firm asks about performance and future client legal needs the more work and referrals you will get from those clients.
Most lawyers and firms are simply afraid to do this– but it is one of the most important business development tools you can employ.
A good marketing plan will include a list key clients and a commitment to ask certain questions of each about your firm’s service and the clients future. We recommend interviews be done in person and annually if the client has ongoing file flow, or at the end of a key matter if work is not received consistently.
Basic questions to ask are:
- What is the single greatest improvement we could make to our service to you?
- What do we do that you value the most? (And, if they use other firms in comparison to them.)
- What do we do that you value the least? ( If a type of matter is mentioned, that work, if not rate sensitive now, will likely become rate sensitive soon.)
- What new legal and operational issues does your company anticipate having to deal with in next 36 months? (Asked so you can gain the experience necessary to handle those matters if you do not have it already. And, if the client is unaware you already have lawyers who can help them in emerging areas, you need to tell them that’s the case and introduce those lawyers to the client.)
Almost without exception, the asking of these questions leads to more work and increased client retention.
Sometimes the responsible attorney asks these questions, most often the responsible attorney tells his client another partner in the firm and/or the client services/business development director (usually someone with seniority in marketing) will do the interview to ensure candor/critical feedback.
As often as not, firm representative visit the client’s office for coffee to do this. Lunch is just too time-consuming.
As outside consultants, we have done these interviews over the years for a number of law firms. It’s is amazing what you learn both from general counsel, risk managers and executives. Nothing but good comes from asking questions like these. Frankly, the risk lies in not asking them. 
- Bob Weiss is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years.
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