Four Steps to Building Great Client Relationships

Dustin Cole, law firm marketing, marketing directorMany attorneys believe their next client relationship will be “the luck of the draw,” so to speak. To some extent that’s true. But it’s absolutely possible to build a practice that is virtually free of problem clients and has strong cash flow – if you’re willing to refine or redesign your client intake and communications processes, according to Dustin Cole of Longwood, FL, who teach lawyers business skills.

In an article on the LawMarketing Portal, he says Step #1 is Choose Your Clients Carefully, and reject the "F" clients, who cost you time and aggravation, and actually hold a lawyer back from building a practice.  Charging $200 for an initial consultation will filter out the shoppers looking for free advice.

Step #2 is: Define the Working Relationship and Set Client Expectations, and walking through the engagement letter, billing, payment, and how to facilitate communications best.

Step #3 is "Communicate, Communicate, Communicate," by realizing that every conversation either increases or decreases trust.  Return clients calls promptly and send invoices out regularly.

Step #4 is Live by Your Own Standards. Many an “A” client slips to “D” or “E” or even “F” because of lack of enforcement of the standards that were explained to them. When clients fails to pay bills and the attorney continues to work, the clients learn they don’t have to pay. When the attorney takes a week to return the client’s call, the client comes to believe his or her problem isn’t important to the attorney. When clients receive unidentified papers in the mail, they get worried and fearful.

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