I was thinking the other day about all of the things that I now know about business that I wish I had known when I started back in 2003.
I then thought about all of the start up law firms that I have worked with, and the advice that they should be given from the start to make their lives so much easier and to make their practices more successful more quickly.
So here it is, my advice for a start up law firm to achieve fast growth and huge success whilst at the same time being able to enjoy the process.
If you are not a start up law firm, my strong advice is that you treat yourself as if you were from this day forward and apply the lessons that follow.
It will fast track your success too.
1. Start your email database from day one.
Sending at least one email a month to everyone who has enquired about your services is an incredibly smart thing to do. It is consistently featured as one of the best marketing methods available to solicitors in my annual review because it always works in terms of producing new client instructions. Always.
So a start up law firm should start their email database from day one. Not day two, week four or month six. Day one.
Why, you might ask? Surely there is no point as they will have no one to add to it?
The opposite is true. Once an email database is started, you will be amazed at how many people you will find to add to it, and this will continue. Momentum will build and soon you will have 100 people on your database, then quite quickly 500, then you will pass 1,000.
When you send an email to 1,000 people, do you think that possibly one of them might reply to you and start a conversation that leads to an instruction? What if two people do this, or five people?
They do, but only when you have an email database.
Even if you are not a start up law firm, you should follow this advice and start a database tomorrow. Don’t wait until you have added all of your old email addresses from the basement, I know from experience that that will just not happen.
Start your legal email database today by adding everyone you speak with from this moment forwards and soon you will have a large database that always makes your telephone ring when you send your email.
If you want to use the email marketing software that many of my solicitor clients use (and that I do too), then I will even send you a link to a few videos showing you how to get it up and running once you have purchased it so it takes away any excuses you might have.
Here is the software: //aweber.com/
Just reply to this email for the video links if you would like them.
2. Know Your Numbers Or Miss Out
This may surprise you to know, but I am not the most detail driven person, which means that it was really quite hard work for me to be a litigation solicitor facing lots of deadlines and ensuring every piece of evidence lined up to support my client’s claim.
However, I realised this was a weakness so put in place safety nets to ensure I did my job well.
When I tell solicitors that they have to track and measure every single lead coming into their practice, they often tell me that they don’t really want to do this, or that they can’t get their staff to do it.
Unless or until you can account for each new client coming into your practice and trace it back to a marketing spend, you can never grow your law firm consistently.
If you don’t know what is working you cannot do more of the same to generate even more clients.
If you fail to measure and review your statistics every month to see the volume of new enquiries, you will not notice when the volume of new enquiries tails off dramatically perhaps due to your website enquiry form stopping working (as they do) or your telephone line being down.
When you know that, for example, an average volume of enquiries each month is 50 with 26 turning into new clients, when suddenly by the middle of one month only 10 enquiries have come in, your early warning system means you go and find the problem and fix it.
No measurement means that you carry on as if nothing is wrong for the next six months until you realise that your filing cabinet is a lot skinnier and your billing has tailed right off.
Measuring every lead into your practice and every new client file opened is a much better system than only measuring your monthly billing. Take care of the new leads and new files and you NEVER have to worry about the billing.
It is no mistake that this is only the second item on this list. It is by far one of the most important things you can do.
I always ensure that my Fast Track To More Clients Programme solicitors do this because it repays their time investment very quickly.
My consultancy clients also do this.
Time and time again this measurement is responsible for putting more clients with my firms than otherwise would be the case if they did not know their numbers.
Know your numbers or miss out.
3. Spend Some Money
It is completely and totally possible to grow a law firm with little or no budget.
It is possible, but it takes a lot longer and is considerably more stressful and demoralising.
If you spend money in the right places, and I am not talking ridiculous amounts but a reasonable amount, you will get much faster results.
The right place means that you must be able to track a return on investment, so that, for example, if you spend £1,000 you generate £3,000 or more in profit costs, but when you can do this you can and should keep doing it so that you can grow your law firm much more quickly.
The spending comes with a proviso that you need to spend in the right places, so the next piece of advice sits alongside this.
4. Taking Advice
Have you ever had a baby?
I have had two. When I told friends some of the names that we were considering before our first child was born they were delighted to tell me what ridiculous names they were and why we should choose something else.
Once the baby was born, they loved the name we chose.
For our second child we told no one the name we were considering. When Freddywobblebottom The Third was born, again everyone told us what a great name we had chosen and that clearly he was going to be a very special child.
When you start marketing your law firm everyone you know from your partners (if you are unfortunate enough to have them) to your colleagues, friends and family will start to offer their opinion on the marketing you are undertaking.
Most of them, if not all of them, will have absolutely no right to do so, no specialist knowledge on the topic of marketing and no interest in whether it works or not for you, especially no comeback if their ‘friendly fire advice’ doesn’t work out for you, but offer it they will none the less.
Ignore them. Please, for the sake of your business, ignore them. Be strong. It is your law firm not theirs.
Pay someone who knows what they are doing, follow their advice to the letter and only judge your marketing by the results. If it makes your telephone ring, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, work out how to improve it and if it still doesn’t work, stop doing it.
I get so cross when great opportunities are ruined by so called “friends”. Really cross.
Let them ruin their own business or their own life, not yours.
If you continue to pay a professional for advice and consistently ignore it instead choosing to listen to your friends and family then sadly you are probably not the right person to run a business. If you can’t stand up to these people then maybe you are better off being employed and letting someone else make the tough decisions that are required when running a business.
This point is so very important, so please do not forget it.
5. Get Your Website Working Properly
If your website isn’t producing between 20-50% of your new client instructions, you are doing something wrong.
- Work out how to turn more of the visitors to your website into new clients (the measurement thing again – because it works); then
- Send more visitors to your website using Google Adwords (not twitter or facebook, but Google Adwords – people who are looking for your services right now get redirected to your website and make contact with you).
6. Be Consistent
Marketing needs momentum – Consistency builds that momentum.
You absolutely must systemise all of the marketing that works in your law firm to ensure that it keeps happening on a regular basis.
I know many solicitors who have started marketing activities, achieved outstanding results in terms of new client instructions and then stopped doing what it was to produce the new clients because they became too busy.
Whatever works when it comes to the marketing of your services, you have to ensure that you do it regularly.
Use a manual diary, use your case management system or outlook or outsource the marketing task completely, but please ensure that you put in place systems to make your successful marketing keep happening.
Failure to do so means that you continually stay on the Law Firm Marketing Rollercoaster, and you don’t want to be on that ride.
7. Set Bigger Goals
If you want to create an extra £10,000 per month of income, make the target £100,000 and you might be happy with your results.
Solicitors consistently set their targets far too conservatively based on what they think they can achieve rather than what they need.
Think of your number, then multiply by 10, then even if you do not reach it you should reach a number that you are actually happy with and that allows you to enjoy your law firm a lot more.
However, if you set your goal too low, not only will you invariably fail to reach it but even if you do you will find that it is not enough to buy you the time or resources you need to really have the law firm of your dreams.
Set your goals higher.
8. Take More Action
Once you have set your goal higher, you will then start thinking properly about the action you need to take to achieve your goals.
I share a book with my Fast Trackers called The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone. He advocates setting bigger goals and taking 10 times the action you think is necessary.
Now not all of my Fast Trackers are impressed with his style of writing, but every single one of them understands the point once they start taking more action and seeing results that they did not think were possible.
That is a key point too.
I often meet with solicitors who say to me “Nick, can I really grow my practice these days or should I just be grateful to have a firm and to be surviving?”
You absolutely can grow your law firm right now and you should never settle for doing “ok”.
There is plenty of work out there to make you as busy as you would like to be, you actually just have to go hunting for it these days compared to the glory days of the 80’s when the work just ran through your office door. But it is still out there in volumes, please let me assure you of that.
9. 30 Minutes Guarantees Results
Take the first 30 minutes of every day, before you open post, read emails or even go to your office to market your law firm.
Do this each and every day for three months until it becomes a habit, then watch your law firm grow.
If you realise that you need to do more now but are not sure where to start, download my free guide explaining the 6 Fastest Methods For Solicitors To Win New Clients:
Ready To Take Action And See Results Now?
Please call 0117 290 8555 to arrange a mutually convenient time for a telephone discussion, Email me or complete a Free Online Enquiry. There is no cost or obligation. We will have a chat about where you are and where you would like to be and I will suggest some things you can do to get there quickly.