Will Your Clients Buy Legal Services From Someone Else?

In a Gazette article this week (5th November 2009 page 3) 55% of people surveyed in a YouGov pole for Legal Alliance said that they would buy legal services from non-legal brands. This figure alone is bad enough, but when you look at another figure in the report it is perhaps even more frightening.

Of the people surveyed that had used a solicitor before for legal services only 27% said they would return to that solicitor for other legal services!

This is an horrendous figure and clearly shows that the “client for life” is gone forever doesn’t it?
I don’t think so. It does show that the “client who used to go back just because the solicitor was there” is definitely gone for good, but there are still clients that will return to their solicitor time and time again IF the solicitor takes the time and effort to communicate with that client in addition to and outside of the normal matter communications. This is particularly important when the matter is concluded.

Another statistic in the survey states that TWO THIRDS of those surveyed that had used a solicitor never heard from them again after their transaction had concluded. This is a frightening statistic. Think about other businesses. Could you ever imagine visiting Tesco one week and then never going back again? I know that groceries are a different commodity from legal services, but they operate at significantly lower margins yet communicate with past and existing clients several times a month, from emails to clubcard statements and direct mail.

If you are not convinced by the Tesco example, what about a more similar model of financial services? I am regularly contacted by several financial services companies that I have dealt with in the past. If I need advice I know who is far more likely to receive my instructions as they have taken the time and effort to keep in touch with me?

I know whenever I urge my clients to communicate with clients on a regular basis there are a number of objections:

  1. What are we going to say?
  2. We haven’t got the time!
  3. That will cost a lot won’t it?

Let’s deal with all of these points in turn as they are all easily answerable.

What Are We Going To Say?
Everyday there are stories in the news touching on legal subjects. They do not have to be detailed legal articles, in fact it is much better if they are not as you will lose your audience if you go in depth in “legal speak” about certain topics. They can be short, informative comments or opinions on articles in the press.

Look at how I have prepared this article – following on from an article in the Gazette. I saw it, and thought my clients and blog followers would be interested so have written a short article on it because it interests me and is highly relevant to my clients and prospects.

We Haven’t Got The Time!
Ouch! If you really believe this, please change now before it is far too late for you to do so.
If you do not take the time to communicate with your clients now and build “client loyalty” you will not be running your practice in a few years time. This is especially true if you rely on other businesses to generate your new clients for you, as I am certain a time will come when they will run the legal aspects in-house and remove you from the equation, as is happening at the moment with various legal panels. You MUST start building loyalty with your clients. You MUST communicate with your clients before, during and after every transaction.

There are countless opportunities every week to comment on press articles as mentioned above, and the good news is that the more you get into the habit of doing this, the quicker you become at writing articles and so the less time it takes.

That Will Cost A Lot Won’t It?

No.

These days it does not have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. You can print one page inserts to go with existing client letters (as well as to send to past clients) and you can still send emails for little or no cost whatsoever. There is excellent software on the market to help you to collect and send emails to all of your clients. I use AWEBER for my client communications. Sign up for my Legal Marketing Tips and you will see how each email appears.

SUMMARY
Why are you not doing this for your clients? There does not have to be the widespread “cull” of law firms as is often reported in the Legal Press, but there will be shrinkage unless solicitors start to communicate with their clients BEFORE, DURING and AFTER every legal transaction. It does not have to be hard, costly or time consuming. It does have to happen, and start happening now.

Please start making a regular, consistant and applied effort to keep in touch with your clients whilst you still have enough to communicate with.

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