This year? Last year? Never?
As the kids head back to school, perhaps we should take a cue and revisit “Client Development 101.”
Here are the undisputed facts in evidence:
- Satisfied former clients are a great source for referrals
- Satisfied former clients will call upon us for future work if the need arises
- Marketing must be part of every lawyer’s weekly, monthly, and quarterly routine
Make a concerted effort to reach out and contact former clients. Pick up the phone or visit with the former client in person. This can be a no-charge “I was thinking of you” check-in or a free legal check-up if the type of work you did for the client lends itself to periodic review. The goal is to rebuild and refresh client relationships.
Texting or e-mailing is not my first choice for this type of follow-up, but you know your clients and I don’t. Use the communication tool you know your client would prefer. The whole idea here is to personalize the contact. Therefore, do not fall into the trap of believing that mass e-mail marketing, e-zines, or holiday cards constitute keeping in touch with former clients.
Why make the effort? Because no happy client is insignificant.
When I was in private practice, one of the best referral sources our firm ever had was a client with a modest slip-and-fall case. Liability was clear, but damages were nominal – soft tissue injuries, only a few days missed from work, no significant medical specials. We negotiated a decent settlement and the client was happy.
Ironically, I’m not sure we would have taken this client’s case a few years later. The damages weren’t that great and we didn’t generate much in the way of fees. Thankfully, we represented the right person at the right time. Our client with the modest slip-and-fall case turned out to be one of our biggest cheerleaders. He referred many clients to us over the years.
The moral of the story is pretty clear: keep in touch, keep it personal, keep clients happy.
© 2011 Beverly Michaelis