Lawyers (and all those in Professional Services) agonise over the idea of differentiation or more colloquially known as your U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition).
The truth is that it is hard to differentiate professional services, which are intrinsically linked to the people who deliver on those services.
No doubt you can add a few ‘bells’ and even more ‘whistles’ to the service but, fundamentally, if you don’t do what you have promised, then clients will leak from your practice quicker than you can replace them.
A lot of lawyers have come to rely on their clients’ goodwill: “They won’t complain (… or we hope they don’t)!” But this thinking is naive. Yes, there may be a loyal group who think of you more like a friend but these, generationally, are in the minority. The majority of clients expect much more.
Results are everything:
i) Who delivers the quickest solution
ii) Who can guarantee a predictable outcome
iii) Who cuts to the chase
iv) Who frowns on always working to a time cost model
v) Fixed pricing is your sine qua non.
If your goal for 2012 is to continue to grow your practice, then start making bigger promises. Don’t wait for approval – there are more than enough layers of bureaucracy to ensure that your idea never sees the light of day.
You know what you have to do …
If you keep your (bigger) promises each and every time then not only will you develop a deep, meaningful relationship with your clients but growing your practice by dint of word of mouth will be frictionless, massive and life changing. Not only will your clients automatically think of you but they will want to refer their friends, family and fellow professionals.
One word of caution: don’t produce a plethora of complex documentation where you build in as many get out clauses as possible. This will simply reinforce the stereotype lawyer model that you are, hopefully, working at breaking down.
There will be no turning back. You will have set the benchmark at a point where your clients will expect no less. But the sense of satisfaction will be immense when your service delivery is the only marketing tool you will ever need.
You might like this video by Tom Peters on customer loyalty. It sings to my heart.