“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.” Unknown
A recent BTI Consulting Group study revealed a startling finding: “87% of law firms have at least one major client relationship at risk. Yet few law firms are aware of their vulnerability – and even fewer are doing anything to change the landscape.” Legal Trends, Most Law Firms Have At Least One Major Client at Risk, by Marcia Borgal Shunk, Principal at BTI Consulting Group, April 9, 2009.
If you are a glass is half full sort of person you would immediately look at this and think, “Wow, what a great opportunity to pick up some new clients!” And that observation would be correct. If you are seeking to grow your business, this statistic illustrates an encouraging opportunity to win over some new business. Your next step should be to develop a strategy of how you are going to capitalize on that fluidity. But in developing that strategy, consider the glass is half empty sort of person who is worried about which client in their portfolio is on a possible exit. To figure out the best way to win clients from others, you should start with getting a clear understanding of why the clients would consider leaving. Figure it out, then offer what’s missing. And even better, make sure your own clients are getting what’s missing as well.
The focus of the study was not on how to win new clients from others, it was on what it takes to retain them. Obviously, winning clients while simultaneously losing others is not going to grow revenues. The study indicates that using aggressive client surveying to uncover client satisfaction is critical to gaining client loyalty and to becoming one of those rare 13% of the firms not at risk. I agree, but I also suggest that after you do your surveying not only should you use the information to keep your current client’s happy; you should use the information to design your next marketing campaign. You see? The glass is half full!
Samira Mery Lineberger, Esq.
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life never deciding to master anything in particular.” Anthony Robbins
You’re a law firm and you basically just want to get clients and practice law. You have an idea of what type of law you want to practice and what kind of clients you want, so why bother with a mission statement? What purpose does it really serve?
As in the medical profession, the practice of law is becoming more and more specialized. You may start off as a generalist, but at some point focusing on an area or areas of specialty may make sense. Targeting in on either an area of law or a type of client can be critical to long term, sustained business development. A mission statement may seem like a needless formality, but its development assists in bringing all decision makers in agreement as to the direction of the firm, and can surprisingly be a simple but effective tool in assuring that all activities undertaken are designed to meet the goals of the firm. Many times, short term opportunities will appear on the horizon that will tempt members to loose focus. While acting on a short term opportunity may provide short term benefits, resources are diverted away from what was already determined after careful analysis by the firm to be the most beneficial long term direction, and thus will delay or stall the ability of the firm to meet the goals and objectives that are in the best interest of the firm. All opportunities should therefore be compared to the mission statement to determine whether they are in line with its stated intent.
More than just a nice statement gracing a brochure or business plan, the mission statement can be an effective management tool. When utilized, it can make the difference between achieving your goals through focused and sustained efforts, and short term gratification through uncoordinated activities that achieve little long term benefit.