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Clients & Promotion

Clients

A successful legal practice is not just about the legal expertise of the practitioner. It is also about the practitioner's ability to communicate with and relate to their clients, adding value by offering services that are tailored to a client's needs.

Key pathways to business growth are:

  • attracting new clients
  • increasing the level and value of purchases by existing clients
  • reducing client turnover/churn
  • terminating unprofitable clients
  • regaining lost clients.

A good client relationship program will assist with client retention, divestment and acquisition. It will enable the practice to manage client expectations about the firm's performance, and to build client satisfaction, loyalty and value.

Client Segmentation

Some client relationships are more valuable than others, and not all of them are worth keeping. By segmenting your market, you can determine the most suitable approach for each; that is, which clients to build, protect, maintain and divest.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is about establishing, maintaining and enhancing relationships with clients and other key stakeholders at a profit, so that the objectives of both parties are met. The following steps are critical:

1. Establish Quality Service

In a service industry such as the legal profession, where consumers are purchasing an intangible product, it is critical to establish a high value proposition to clients. Setting quality standards sends a clear message to clients about the service they can expect to receive and demonstrates the firm’s commitment to them. Common quality indicators include:

  • conformance to specifications (eg deadlines)
  • doing things right the first time
  • a fair exchange of price/value
  • careful and consistent attention to detail (eg promptly returning calls and sending letters)
  • effective handling of complaints
  • general philosophy of excellence.

2. Maximise Your Market

  • Introduce new services (eg business consulting, new and emerging areas of law).
  • Increase the value of your existing legal services.
  • Look for opportunities to integrate or cross-sell your services.
  • Reposition the practice into new or different markets.
  • Develop strategic partnerships through which new clients may be referred.
  • Merge with or acquire another practice.
  • Terminate relationships with unprofitable clients.

3. Consolidate Your Client Base

  • Collect information on clients (service needs and expectations).
  • Assess relationship marketing opportunities.
  • Present professionally to clients.
  • Adapt your service style to suit the client.
  • Develop an effective complaints-handling procedure.
  • Maintain regular client contact.
  • Build loyalty through benefits (confidence, social, special treatment).

Promotion

All legal practices need strategies for marketing and promotion to new and existing clients.

The underlying aim of your promotional activities must be to effectively communicate a clear message that informs, persuades, reminds, raises awareness/understanding or influences the perceptions and actions of your clients, potential clients and other audiences.

To be most effective in the shortest possible time, the messages you communicate must fit with your firm’s positioning and brand values, must be crystal clear and must incorporate what is in it for each audience – the value proposition.

Marketing Communication

An effective marketing communication campaign should include the following steps:

  1. Identify the target audience (eg current clients, prospects, referral sources, business community).
  2. Determine the communication objectives (eg raise awareness, increase knowledge and understanding, create a desire or preference for your service, elicit a response or action).
  3. Design the message, its content, structure, format and source. To get through competing messages this needs to concisely articulate your unique selling proposition.
  4. Establish the total budget.
  5. Select the best media or communication channels you are going to use (eg print: magazines, newspapers, direct mail; or digital: internet, email, video, social media).
  6. Decide on the best marketing communications mix for your purpose.
  7. Measure the results (eg responses, work generated, fees rendered).
  8. Manage the process.