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Getting More Business — The Art of Client Cultivation

Years ago, when I was a diplomat, I learned the art of cultivation. The process of building confidence, and beyond that, building trust. Patient and proper cultivation could ease discomfort, and even suspicion. It could lessen resistance, eventually leading to cooperative efforts. Over time, good things came from the patient workings of finding commonalities, and focusing on what the other side valued.

Business is no different. For your firm, a proper client cultivation program could lead to securing more who fit the profile of an ideal client.  A client (existing or past) who trusts you AND may possibly have referrals for you won’t necessarily think about referring you if you aren’t “top of mind” or on her “radar”.  But if your cultivation of her is sincere and regular, it’s more likely that she will funnel new clients to you whenever she meets someone who may need your services.

These are three things I focus on when cultivating potential and existing clients for new business and referrals:

  1. In your own mind, make it entirely about discovering the other person (i.e. your client). The little things that matter to the other person counts. Not what you hope to achieve, but what matters to them sets a tone of authentic interest in them, whereby they start to feel that you have their best interests at heart, even where you benefit from providing a service to them.
  2. Track what they are interested in. Have a mechanism or process for capturing such information.
  3. Act on the things that matter to them.

Take a look at this “cultivation card I created for a wealth management firm. It’s a quick and easy means of getting to really know what matters to your client. I recommend that you avoid surveys and such, which are painfully tedious. Worse, they can be highly impersonal, even cold. Remember: you’re looking for commonalities for an event that can bring clients together, and demonstrate to them that you are interested in something they value beyond your services.

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Effective Marketing With Just One Assistant

If you’re like most small or medium-sized law firms, you probably have a paralegal or two working for you, plus one administrative assistant and/or an intern. You probably also recognize that you could be under-utilizing your admin assistant or intern when it comes to marketing implementation. The challenge is likely that you haven’t got time to train or instruct your marketing person. And even if you did, it’s not always easy coming up with a structured process of getting the most out of your staff.

Here’s a short overview of what your admin assistant or intern can do for you — use this to ensure that each week, your firm’s doing sufficient lead generation or branding, without undue burden on the rest of your staff whose time is better spent focused on servicing your clients:

 

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Building Your Brand – Trust is Visceral, But You Can Create It

Trust is paramount in a person’s decision to work with you.  But how do you even get them to call you for an appointment without having met you? When your main vehicle is what people read about you, the question then becomes: how do you create trust through content? Why would someone engage you as their lawyer of choice when there are other firms who offer the same services?

You talk about what others say about you:

  • Testimonials – work with your best and most loyal clients on what you’ve done for them that they most appreciate. Use their words.
  • Accolades – don’t be shy about listing what you do for your community (e.g. pro bono work, fundraising for a local charity)
  • Useful Content – share usable, intelligent education that is specific and not generalized like so much content these days. Don’t be afraid to give good advice that people can start working with. But also remind them that where the law is concerned, there’s a reason why there are professional requirements for practitioners. You want to be generous, but also remind your prospects that DIY is just being penny-wise-pound-foolish.

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Podcasts – How They Could Make Your Website More Compelling

In recent years, podcasts and other audio content have become much more popular. Here are the 4 reasons why I like audio content as a substitute for text on websites:

  1. People retain what they hear better than what they read. Our eyes need a break from the screens!
  2. Your listeners can multi-task or do something relaxing while they listen to your clip.
  3. It’s easy to set up – with a good mic, headphones and a user-friendly app, you can create high quality recordings.
  4. There are few things that pique a person’s curiosity like the human voice !  Read more

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