One of the most engaging sessions we have at each Rainmaker Retreat is when I open the room up for questions. This is one of my favorite parts of the program since I learn so much about our attendees’ practices from the questions posed. Here are some recent examples:
Q: I’ve hired people to write blogs for me but I spend more time editing them than I would if I wrote them myself.
Everyone in this room has one word in common: perfectionist. For most attorneys this is true. And this trait can be powerful and really help you succeed. But when it comes to marketing, I want you to remember this: Done is better than perfect.
There is no such thing as a perfect blog post, or website, or e-newsletter or video. The point is to get relevant and valuable information out to your prospects, clients and referral partners. Think about how valuable your time is. Do you charge $150, $200, $300 or more per hour? It does not make sense to spend an hour or so of your time writing a post when you can hire someone to do it for you for far less. And it also doesn’t make sense for you to edit and wordsmith the article the individual writes for an hour or more because your time is too valuable.
Of course, it is important to have valid and correct information in the article and to communicate in an educated and compelling way, but you have to let go of this notion of perfection. You are, in most cases, not writing to other attorneys who are going to be judging the article in a way you are, so loosen up a bit and just recognize people want to navigate their legal situation easily. Often how you would write an article — because you eat, live, sleep and breathe your practice area — will not translate well to the general public looking to find a solution to their problem.
Q: My accounts receivable are really high, any suggestions to help with this?
We hear this a lot with family or business attorneys. There are a few things you can do in order to improve your accounts receivable.
The first is to educate the individual before they hire you about what the investment will really be. Of course, it may change and you don’t have a crystal ball where you can look into it and know with 100% certainty how much the case will cost, but be honest up front so their cost expectations are accurate.
Every time you are hired and you send an invoice for the first time, make sure you review the bill with the client (in person or on the phone).
Attorneys are notorious for blindly sending a bill that is confusing and the client doesn’t understand what the charges are for and therefore either puts off sending in the money or calls the office and complains. Unfortunately, when this happens many attorneys will feel guilty and back off their fees and lower the invoice. This is ridiculous — you did the work and you should be paid for it.
If your bills are in five figures, you must bill more frequently. Rather than bill once a month, bill twice a month. People pay payroll and get paid twice a month, so it’s okay to bill that often. Psychologically, individuals have an easier time paying a bill that is under 5 figures. They would rather pay two $5,000 bills in one month than one $10,000 bill. This is especially true for businesses, as cash flow is key and they have payroll to make.
If you have retainers, make sure a dedicated staff member is calling those clients to replenish the amount before it is so low it won’t cover more hours. Be proactive; don’t do the work unless the money is there. That way, you are not chasing it.
Q: What are a few major systems I should have in my law firm in regards to managing client experience?
- Intake system (what documents clients need to bring in, sign, initial, etc.). If the process is easy and systematized, the prospect will pick up on that and feel more comfortable about hiring you.
- Follow up system (If a prospect doesn’t hire you how frequently and persistently do you follow up? When you meet someone at a networking event that can refer you clients, how frequently and persistently do you follow up?) Improves the client experience because they see you follow up and care.
- Create a policy and procedure manual (so you are not held hostage by staff or find yourself totally crippled if someone leaves, gets sick or is no longer available). Improves client experience because each time they come in or call, the experience, language used, etc. is consistent.
Come get your law firm management and business development questions answered at a Rainmaker Retreat. Upcoming dates include:
- June 10-11, 2016 — Boston, MA/DoubleTree Suites Cambridge
- July 22-23, 2016 — Los Angeles, CA/Omni Hotel Los Angeles at California Place
- August 19-20, 2016 — Las Vegas, NV/Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
- September 16-17, 2016 — Miami, FL/DoubleTree Ocean Point Resort & Spa
- October 7-8, 2016 — Seattle, WA/Monaco Seattle
- November 11-12, 2016 — Atlanta, GA/Ritz Carlton Buckhead
You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information. National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount. Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.