All too often, the services provided by attorneys amount to “one and done.” Outside of estate planning, most of the legal issues are handled once and are rather unlikely to ever occur again to that person. For example, at our own practice, BenGlassLaw, most people who get into a serious car accident are unlikely to get into an accident again.
However, when we look at the statistics of annual injuries in car accidents (over two million per year in the United States, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel), there is something noteworthy that you may not realize.
The likelihood of someone knowing someone else who was in an accident is fairly significant. Think about the social circles of most people – friends, family, co-workers, other acquaintances. Within every person’s social circle, a car accident is a near certainty during the next 1-5 years.
This scenario plays out with bankruptcy, criminal defense, immigration, disability, and many other consumer practice areas. The truth is that while people may only hire you once, it is immensely likely that your client will interact with someone who could use your services – turning that one client into another client, who is likely to create another client, who in turn will create another client, and so on.
So...Why Aren’t You Getting All These Referrals?
Past clients (or just people who interact with your firm in some manner) can only refer cases to you if they can actually remember you.
Here’s the unfortunate, but fixable, truth: clients’ memories are short-lived. Even in cases where you create an incredible outcome for your client, you are unlikely to be remembered when the time comes for the referral.
However, if you build a relationship with the people on your list and regularly “show up,” you keep yourself fresh in their minds.
How Do You Maintain Your Relationship with Past Clients to Get More Referrals?
The answer is fairly simple. Send a printed, mailed, monthly newsletter.
I’m not saying this just as a piece of advice to follow. This is a reflection of what we do at BenGlassLaw and what top members of Great Legal Marketing do to build superior market position. Print newsletters are one of the three best marketing tools you can use in your practice, easily.
If Ben were starting a brand new law practice, one of the first things he would do is mail a monthly print newsletter.
Every time I work with a private client, one of my first priorities is ensuring there is monthly print newsletter going out to current and past clients (plus other important contacts, including other attorneys in the community who may be good referral sources).
Principles You Must Understand to Successfully Cultivate Long-term Relationships
Below, you will find six principles identified by Shaun Buck (owner of The Newsletter Pro, a recommended vendor by GLM) to create fantastic long-term relationships with potential, current, and past clients. Shaun and his team publish newsletters for hundreds of clients, including members of Great Legal Marketing, and are our top recommended vendor for creating and sending a print newsletter (even cooler is the fact that your newsletter will truly be custom and taken care of for you by his team – the work is minimal on your part). Take a look...
- Frequency of Communication - You don’t have relationships with people you don’t talk to. You also don’t have relationships with people who, when you do talk to them, are always asking you for something.
- Consistency - Inconsistency sends a message that you are, at a minimum, disorganized.
- Creativity in Your Communication - You need to communicate information that is interesting, personal, relevant, and speaking directly to your ideal reader. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust … it is your job to let them know you through quality, creative content, so they have the opportunity to like you and so they can connect with you, which helps them trust you.
- Variety of Styles in Communication - You cannot have a single method of communicating. Not only is it very unstable (as you never know when a form of communication may become less effective), it also just isn’t smart. People consume information in multiple ways and value various media differently. This, by the way, is why print newsletter stand out – most people are used to just getting electronic newsletters! Simply changing the dynamic and moving the conversation offline works wonders for sustaining a great relationship with your clients.
- Personality/Celebrity - Adding celebrity (even local celebrity) or at least personality to any business will be a game changer, because as a society, we’re programmed to value personality/celebrity. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust, and they’re willing to spend more with someone they see as a personality or a celebrity because of how they feel about that person.
- Quality - The look and feel of your product, service, and marketing matters. Your content can’t suck. If it looks like your articles were created in the Philippines or add no value, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. When I read articles written by my team, I am always looking for the one (or more) big idea.
We use all of these principles as part of sending out the monthly BenGlassLaw newsletter. It regularly pulls in new, referred cases to the practice, and the return on investment makes it one of our most reliable marketing tools.
If you have thought about getting a newsletter started for your practice (or you’re thinking about it now after reading this article), I would recommend getting Shaun’s book on newsletters (available at this link). This resource will give you even more information on relationship-building and the potential referrals you could get for your practice by using this top-tier marketing tool.