I worked with a solicitor two years ago who had a fantastic niche legal practice. It is successful and could be even more so but for one problem.
When I worked with him I saw a huge opportunity to dramatically improve his website. It had some good content but the design was just absolutely dreadful. I KNEW beyond any doubt from working with hundreds of other solicitors that just by a simple redesign of his website he would be able to generate many more enquiries for his practice (and in turn increase his profits every month forward from the date of his new website going live). This was a guaranteed method for winning new instructions for a very modest investment.
Now I was not touting for the work, I could have done it for him at the time but I just wanted him to get his new legal website up and running and to follow my advice.
Then he introduced his problem. His ‘friend’ did his law firm website for him and he did not want to upset his friend.
Honestly if you saw this website you would think his worst enemy created his website for him; it was hideous and it was only because he was in such a niche area of law that he was attracting any enquiries at all. I explained this to him (as gently as I could) but he was simply not prepared to tell his friend that the website wasn’t up to scratch, and too scared of upsetting him by taking the website away from him.
Fast forward two years and sadly I receive a call from him to say business is not as good as it was and he really wants my help to kick things into action. I quickly look online and see the same website looking back at me (two years on it does not look any worse – it could not). I explain that I am not surprised as he still has the same website and again meet the same problems. He is still to scared of upsetting his ‘friend’. You might think I was making this up, I really wish that I was. But sadly I see the same or a very similar problem time and time again, in many different law firms. In another firm one of their fee earners like to ‘play with websites’ so he was the culprit that ruined their prospects of winning new clients from their website. In yet another firm it was the ‘senior partner’ who liked to ‘play with websites’, so he ruined their prospects of success. In most other firms I meet it is the website designer who ignores the client’s request and creates a website for their law firm which simply will never produce any new business for them!
Whereas the obvious answer is to sack the person who is causing the problems, the business owner is too scared of hurting their feelings. The trouble is that as business owners we sometimes have to make hard decisions for the good of our business. (Some say that you can judge the success of a business by the number of difficult decisions the owner has to make in the course of a day).
What I often find is that, surprisingly, when the difficult conversation does finally take place the ‘friend’ is relieved as they were not happy with the relationship any more either. They have either moved on and the work is not their priority any longer or they simply do not need or value the work they are receiving so are happy to let it go.
Are you letting a friend, staff member, partner or supplier damage your business? If you are, I urge you to make a decision about removing their control of your website (or other marketing) project so that you can finally generate the new instructions you want and need for your law firm!
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