The biggest crime happening in law firms today often goes unnoticed. It is not reported in the media. There are no police reports filed, people don’t talk about it on the street and partners often overlook it. Even though this crime is rampant, its presence is so subtle that many attorneys fail to recognize when it is happening.
The biggest crime in law firms today is the crime of being forgotten.
Signs of the Crime
Here are some signs that your law firm has fallen victim to the crime of being forgotten:
- Decrease in year over year revenues
- Less than 5,000 people a month visiting your website
- Less than a dozen inquiries every month from prospective new clients
- Losing large or long-term client accounts
- High staff turnover
- Inability to attract and retain top people
- Less repeat business from clients
- No referrals coming in the door
How to Solve the Crime
There are many things you can do as an attorney to help people remember you.
- Focus on the question that every client wants to know: What’s in it for me?
At the end of the day, clients are only interested in what you can do for them. Your job is to tell them what your law firm can do for them personally and remember- they do not want to spend time looking for the answer. The answer to this question must be one of the first things your clients see on your website and in your firm-wide communications. If your clients are going to remember you, you must first answer the question “What’s in it for them?”
- Explain the difference.
For every service you provide there are hundreds if not thousands of other attorneys who can provide the same services that you do. So why should someone hire you versus your competitor across the street or down the suite?
In other words, what can a client get from you that they cannot get from anyone else? Perhaps it is your credibility or the creative way you bring solutions to your clients. You must determine what differentiates your law firm from all the others and market that point.
One of the keys is to not use either quality or service as a differentiator. The reason why is that every attorney says they provide quality and service. Therefore, quality and service have become meaningless when it comes to differentiating your firm because every client expects quality and service and will not do business with any attorney that doesn’t have both. Your unique competitive advantage must accurately reflect who you are, what you offer that no one else does, and most importantly directly address the challenges of your target market.
- All of your communications must be emotionally impactful.
Anyone can quote statistics or develop an advertisement on a cognitive level, but the most effective way to ensure a lasting impact on your clients is to communicate with them on an emotional level. You must find their “pain.” What is it about their business, life, family, time, or environment that is causing pain? Are they not working or working too much? Is their business growing too fast or too slow? Is their family falling apart? Do they have a hard time tracking their employees? Find their pain and communicate with them on an emotional level about how you can help heal their pain and make their business, life, family, time or environment pleasurable.
- Distinguish your benefits from your features and communicate them clearly.
Features are what your service does. Benefits are why your client needs your service. For every feature you have, you must tell your client what the benefit is. Is your firm better, faster, guaranteed or more personal? Will your service create more revenue, decrease turnover, or increase profit margins? These are all great features, but you must tell your clients how what you do benefits them specifically.
- Reduce the risk of working with you.
Many of our clients work at small law firms that have services similar to those at larger, more established firms. Why should your potential client buy your service over the big firm’s service? Are they taking a risk with a firm that may not be around 5 or 10 years from now? Is it just because you offer a lower price?
While no one can predict the future of your firm, the savvy attorney recognizes the need to develop creative ways to reduce the risk of their clients in working with them. How could you lower the risk of your clients if they are concerned about working with a solo practitioner or a small law firm?
Take these steps starting today so your firm doesn’t fall victim to the crime of being forgotten.