If you were to consider the number of times a private client instructs a solicitor over their lifetime, you will understand the need to look at clients in a long-term, relationship sense even if the initial instruction is modest or low value.
Take conveyancing. Even in these straightened times people will feel compelled to move at some stage. The average may have gone up from 7 years but even if the period were extended to 10 years, and someone buys their first house at 30, that still means between 4/5 completions, and it could be more.
What about a will? Of course, you have the problem of take up but the likelihood of a client being cross-sold one is high, so if they come to you for conveyancing there is a good chance that they will make a will. Even allowing for the fact that most people will not want to update their will as often as they should, and the initial will is a loss leader, it still means over the life of a client, with a LPA thrown in, that you will make some money and possibly cover your costs. This doesn’t even take account of the possibility of the estate administration if you are fortunate enough to pick that up.
And on and on.
But then, of course, there is the power of that client if they like and trust you to refer all their family, friends and colleagues to you. It is difficult to put a number on this but even if it were 5, that one relationship would still be highly valuable. And one important point to bear in mind is that as private individuals become more educated about the need for legal services it is unlikely that you will see a drop off in work even allowing for the drift to larger, retail focused brands at the commoditised end of the market.
If you accept this proposition then start setting up your files so that you don’t forget to contact the client at least once a year to remind them of your services.
Of course for commercial clients this programme is second nature and it goes without saying that you need to live in your client’s shoes 24/7 if you are going to grow the relationship.
There is still the need to make sure that you select the right clients to grow with your firm but just keep in mind the value of each client.
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