There are two major questions in the management of law firms: “What does a client really hire from a law firm or, in other words,what does a professional law firm really sell? and “Why are clients loyal to particular law firms?”
Law firms are so obsessed with the daily tasks that many lack the vision of the marketplace. Most firms are focused on the tactical activities, leaving out the strategy of market positioning.
Let us focus on why clients are loyal to the firm. Probably you’re wondering. “It’s obvious. I know, because of trust and good service. “Most law firms believe that clients are faithful because of confidence and trust. No doubt, trust is fundamental. It is an emotional bond with the client, but not the key reason for retaining clients.
In the professional world to believe what most people think can lead us to not see in which market we are really in – the majority of firms think that they are in the market for legal services – and do not know why clients are loyal to the firms. These are the two key questions of management of professional firms and, by extension, of any company. Not knowing what market we are in, what we are actually selling and why clients are loyal to the firms is short-sighted from a strategic point of view.
The first question we addressed in the work Legal Marketing: What the client actually hires from the lawyer, and discussed in a future article.
Why are clients loyal to the firms?
Do you agree that clients want:
– To be advised by an honest lawyer.
– A lawyer of integrity and ethics.
– An independent lawyer, legal and discreet, able to observe professional secrecy.
– With a positive attitude and concern for the client.
– With active listening and observing carefully.
– Able to understand the client and their needs.
– Able to ask the clients intelligent questions that makes them think.
– Able to manage client expectations well.
– Ability to solve client problems with dedication.
– A professional expert.
– Credible, with a good reputation.
– Assertive and empathetic.
– In plain language.
– Serene and with good character.
– Resembling a good professional.
– To give a personalized service that makes clients feel valued.
– A firm with a known brand?
Yes, you would probably think so. Let’s see what, exactly equates with the abovementioned:
If the client perceives that their lawyer is honest, they will feel reassured. If you feel that the lawyer is trustworthy, you will be reassured. A lawyer with a positive attitude and interest in the client, reassures the client. A professional with the ability to actively listen, to observe carefully, to ask intelligent questions and understand the client and their needs, reassures the client.
Independent counsel and professional secrecy reassures the client. The lawyer who manages well the client’s expectations and works with delivery to prevent or solve problems, also reassures the client. The perceived professional expertise, good reputation and credibility, also reassures the client.
A lawyer quiet, confident, relaxed and good-natured, reassures. A professional appearance, reassures. Communicative clarity, reassures. Smiling, relaxes.
The other attributes discussed, including, of course, the lawyer’s, or firm’s brand name, also reassures. One relies more on who one knows. The brand is the marketing magnet of the lawyer or firm, your professional life insurance.
Above all, clients want reassurance. Retain clients if they feel reassured with you and your firm.
What about certainty? In a world where fear is a common denominator for many people, there are legions of professionals that sell certainty. You, as a good lawyer know two things: that in life nothing is entirely certain and a good lawyer should not promise the client that a case or matter is going to win or end well. It is a bad lawyer who often promises sure results as a tactic to sell their services.
We now know what it is that contributes decisively to loyalty and to retain clients. You now have clues as to what is actually your market. Although most firms continue to think they are in the market for legal services, you know that client reassurance is the marketplace for law firms.
Yes, it is a paradigm shift. Evolution is based on seeing reality from a different perspective, based on asking the right questions and being flexible to change. Evolution is based on learning to see, the most important exercise in life.
What can you do now? You know that knowledge without action is of little use. Knowledge should be organized into detailed action plans. Apply what you know and improve the situation of your firm in the market.
© Francesc Dominguez, legal marketing and personal branding consultant, www.francescdominguez.com .