Clients can be demanding creatures.
Indeed, there are some where, it doesn’t matter what you do, it will never be enough.
But, at the risk of stating the obvious, your firm is the sum of your clients.
[Q. Are they the future of the firm?]
Right now, growth is anemic. You are glad of any work; and you are not (too) concerned how much ‘potential’ there exists in the relationship, as long as your perform (adequately) on this job.
I say “adequately” only because the 5th Principle of the SRA Guidance says:
“[you must] provide a proper standard of service to your clients.”
Hardly remarkable or jaw-dropping in its level of anticipation!
And this is principally where the Profession falls down (the clients not the service – I have written plenty of times on that issue).
You view each Job as another transaction. And this means you are forever hunting for the next job.
What if you adopted the principle that each client was a lifetime client? In other words, you were ‘retained’ by the same clients forever, and you would have to earn all your revenue from those clients give or take a few.
Of course, the work would dry up after a while – they don’t need to move every week or make a will – but that change of mindset is often enough to make you think differently about the file that you are currently working on.
You would also have to:
Adopt a consistent approach to the delivery of your service
In other words, a level of service that was not dependent on how much you liked the client or how many other clients you were acting for.
Develop a sense of humour
You don’t have to be a laugh-a-minute specialist. No, just be more like yourself and stop thinking that the medium or job title defines your personality. It doesn’t.
Make the process of communication as easy as possible
That doesn’t just mean having a direct dial but being available and present for your clients.
Turning the clock off from time to time
You don’t have to make a big thing of it, or rely on it when it comes to negotiating on your bill (“look how much time we have written off”) but, rather, make a point of saying to the client: “I just wanted to bring you up to date with where we are … [without making a charge].”
If you can’t help say so
Your clients will respect you more for this than you realise.
Use the telephone
You may like dictating emails and letters but, just once in a while, pick up the phone. You may think it’s more trouble than it’s worth but it’s worth every penny.
Look to collaborate with partners who can assist with the whole client experience
You need to look out for partners who can add value to your offering. Financial services is the obvious candidate but there are a myriad of others.
Asking for honest feedback
I don’t mean another survey. Think outside the box.
Saying thank you
Get used to saying thank you or at least expressing your pleasure and delight in acting for the client. As I keep saying, you are in business to serve, period.
It is important that you align who you are, or aspire to be, with the clients that have similar values.
They must mirror you.
The potential of clients is immense. It is not just the person in front of you, but extends to everyone they know.
Next time you sit down to discuss your target clients, perhaps you should spend more time looking at your actual clients, past and present, and consider what potential they offer. There is gold in them there hills.