23 Secrets That Cement Client Loyalty
Loyalty is built on the Value/Price Equation. It says: A client will stay loyal to you as long as he believes the value of the services he receives is greater than the fee he pays. Other things are important, too, but if you don't deliver value that is greater than your fee, you will never earn your client's loyalty.
Many of the following secrets are also competitive advantages. And rightly so -- because the reasons clients remain loyal to you are because of the positive ways you differ from other lawyers.
- Send to interested clients a copy of every article and educational handout you write . The more information you send, the more clients appreciate the depth of your knowledge. Even if your article isn't published, it builds credibility, which leads to loyalty.
- Invite clients to seminars. The more often they see you -- and absorb your information -- the more credibility you have. Even if they don't attend, the fact that you invited them enhances your value. Plus, they may send a friend or colleague who has an interest in your subject.
- Send clients your newsletter. The more clients depend on your knowledge, the longer they stay loyal to you. Keep information flowing FROM you -- and you'll find loyalty flowing TO you.
- Send clients a copy of every published article. This boosts loyalty because clients realize that editors see you an authority. Clients like to know that their lawyer is the respected authority in his field of law.
- Tell clients of your successes with other clients. Every client wants to know you're successful. The more you relate those successes, the more confidence your client has in you.
- Ask clients to write a testimonial you can use in your marketing. When clients sit down to write, they think about all the things they like about you. This helps them realize how lucky they are to work with you. Further, once clients put their thoughts in writing, it helps cement their relationship with you. In addition to helping your marketing effort, testimonials build loyalty among your clients. (Not all jurisdictions allow lawyers to use testimonials. Check your rules of professional conduct.)
- Feature a profile of one of your clients in every issue of your newsletter and on your web site. Unless clients are publicity shy, they may enjoy your making them the center of attention in a newsletter article. Not only does this strengthen their bond with you, but it also introduces others on your mailing list to a client they might know and respect, further enhancing your image.
- When you write an article, quote or describe one of your clients. Clients often like attention. If you can use a case history that includes a client by name -- or if you can quote a client in print, your client will feel a closer to you.
- Invite clients onto your radio talk show. If you host a radio talk show, invite clients onto your show to share their stories and experiences. The more you make clients feel important, the more they talk about you -- and the more loyalty they shower on you in return.
- Give clients priority access when they want to contact you. Many clients have a hard time reaching their lawyers, particularly if their lawyer is often out of the office. When possible, give clients immediate access to you. This adds value to your relationship, value they might not receive from other lawyers.
- Provide clients with quick service. Whenever a client needs something, explain that you have many projects in the works, but that you'll gladly give him prompt attention. This makes him feel important and adds to the value he receives from you.
- Invite clients to special events, such as open houses, wine-tasting parties, and art walks. Sometimes clients enjoy doing things with you that don't involve practicing law. In addition to work, a good client relationship can include social components.
- Give clients tickets to sporting events. If you can't use your game tickets, offer them to a client. Often, this is a much-appreciated way to build loyalty.
- Whenever possible, answer yes. If a client asks if you can do something for him, try hard to accept. If it isn't within your area of expertise, then you might need to refer out the matter. But if the request is somehow falls within your law practice, you enhance loyalty and your client relationship when you say yes.
- Invite clients to call you anytime. Certainly you want to take good care of your clients. And you don't want to give them an excuse to go to another lawyer who might charge more and care less. Don't worry about people taking advantage of you. Usually, clients who call after hours really need help. Make sure your clients know you welcome their calls.
- Don't charge your client more than you estimate. When you offer an estimate, build in a cushion so you can always charge your client less than you quote. The cushion gives you a safety margin in case your estimate is off. If your client changes the terms of the project, then offer a new estimate so you set a new benchmark.
- If the effort required is less than your estimate, charge only for the time you invested. You could always keep the difference, but that's not as good as keeping the client.
- Do the job right the first time. If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you find time to do it over.
- Correct mistakes immediately. Everyone makes mistakes. The step that builds loyalty is how quickly and completely you correct the mistake. Apologize -- then do whatever it takes to make it right.
- Invite complaints, feedback and suggestions about how you can better serve your clients. Many clients won't complain -- or even comment -- often for fear of starting an argument or making you feel bad. Instead, they quietly fold their tent and hire another lawyer -- and you never hear from them again.
- Cut clients some slack. Everyone has a bad day. Evaluate your client based on the length of your relationship, not his actions on a particular day. If a client embarrasses himself in your presence, overlook it. Then go out of your way to make your client feel comfortable, knowing that he might hesitate to contact you.
- Treat every client as if he's the most important person in the world. Many lawyers treat clients like cases or files, but they're not. Clients are people who deserve your attention and respect. The sooner you learn how to treat clients, the sooner you develop their loyalty.
- Do everything possible to make it convenient for clients to work with you. Convenience can be a major competitive advantage -- and the basis of long-term loyalty.
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