When someone asks you, “What business are you in?” What do you answer? I suspect, if you’re like most attorneys, you’d answer: law, real estate law, probate law, family law . . . or anything related to the word “law.”

Logical, right? It may be logical but it’s wrong. You may have a legal practice, but that’s not the business you’re in. You’re really in the business of running your business.

And there are three specific ways you do this: marketing your legal skills; creating extraordinary experiences for your clients and building deep and lasting relationships with those clients. In my blog this week, I’ll be discussing each in greater depth.

You are in the business of marketing your legal skills. As a solo practitioner, a partner in a small law firm, an associate or of counsel, your primary focus, after gaining competency as an attorney, is to understand the key principles of business development and marketing and to apply them every single day. Not every attorney will be a top rainmaker, but everyone can do something to grow and market their practice.

You are in the business of creating extraordinary experiences for your clients.  John Bisnar, founder of Bisnar Chase and a multi-million dollar rainmaker, has often spoken about the need to “micromanage the client experience”—controlling every aspect of how the client experiences your law firm. From how the phone is answered, to greeting them by name as they walk in the door, to minimizing the amount of paperwork you ask them to complete to reserving your conference room with their name on the door, to returning client phone calls and emails consistently and promptly, everything should be focused on creating a positive experience for your clients. If your client has asked to name the top 10 businesses that provide the best customer service would your name even be on their list? What are three things you can change this week to greatly improve your client’s experience? When is the last time you asked them how you can better serve them with a client satisfaction survey?

You are in the business of building deep and lasting relationships with your client? Far too many attorneys only have a transactional relationship with their clients. They create an estate plan for them, they file a lawsuit on their behalf, or they set up a corporation for them. To be successful over the long term you must think long term.

You must develop long-term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients because the most expensive thing you can have is a one-time client. The first step is to say connected with them. Regular, non-billable communication with clients is more important than ever in these difficult times. Send out a monthly newsletter, a client communique’ or a copy of an interesting article you read 9or wrote). Here’s the rule of thumb: communicate at least 10 times a year with every current and former client. Sit down with your staff or partner and lay out a game plan for how you can build long term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients.

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The rules of law firm marketing are changing. So where do you go for the latest and best information? You go to the game-changers, of course. You go to an Avvo seminar. Three times bigger than Martinale.com, lawyer directory Avvo is holding three free seminars on Wednesday, June 17th in San Diego and Thursday, June 18th in Irvine in the morning and Los Angeles at night. Hear law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley and others tell you what you need to know to market your law firm in the New Normal. Click here to register for San Diego, Irvine or to register for Los Angeles