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Seasoned business people know it much much easier to get repeat business from existing clients than it is to get new business from prospects. The reason is simple, assuming you have done a good job for your clients, you will have already gained a level of trust that should make it easy for them to decide to hire you again.
Therefore, it is important for lawyers to make sure they stay connected to their clients so that when the need arises, they will reach out to you and hire you. The need could be their own need or perhaps the need of a colleague, friend or relative. Staying top of mind with your clients is an important business development strategy to win repeat business.
In a recent article in the The National Law Review, Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, provides four simple tips to stay in contact with your clients throughout the year:
"Use a contact management system. Information is only as useful as it is accessible.
"Collect their email addresses. Add a place for their email addresses on your intake form.
"Conduct an annual client satisfaction survey. Ask clients what they liked most and least about your firm as well as what upcoming challenges you could assist them with.
"Send them practical, educational information every month. E-newsletters are the best way to stay connected. Make them short. Focus on informing, educating and adding value to your clients (do not turn this into a sales pitch)."
These are all valuable tips that should enable you to stay in contact with your clients. I would also make sure you send them a card or thoughtful gift on their birthday and during the holidays. Your contact management system should be able to alert you when client birthdays are coming up. In addition, during the course of your work with them, if you uncover any of their particular hobbies or interests (i.e. fishing, favorite football team, favorite band or food) use those opportunities to contact them. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy them Yankee tickets (although if you can afford it, that is always nice) but you could send them an email after a big win or alert them that their favorite band is coming into town. This is a nice, non-salesy way to remind your clients that you are human, just like them and that you value their business and your relationship with them.
Another benefit of staying in touch is that you can use newsletter or client alerts as a way to cross sell your services. Depending on your areas of practice, it may be worthwhile to let your clients know that in addition to real estate transactions, you also help people when they are incorporating a new business or need a partnership agreement. By writing, useful and valuable content that demonstrates your knowledge and experience, you will be able inform your clients of other work you may be able to assist them with.
What techniques do you use to stay in touch with your clients? Are there unique things you or your firm does to stay in the minds of your current or former clients? Please share with the group.