Running a successful law practice requires beefing up your lawyer communication skills to explain simply and clearly who you serve and what you do. Your clients may not understand all the legal jargon you use – but they do understand how well you treat them and whether you communicate the benefits and value of the services you provide.
Do you go above and beyond what other attorneys might? Do your legal clients feel welcome and free to ask questions? Do they feel confident to discuss their biggest legal challenges, obstacles and problems with you, knowing they’re in good hands?
Improving Lawyer Communication With Clients
Frequent communication is the cornerstone of building positive business relationships with clients. with each client communication, you create the opportunity to build trust and develop strong relationships where clients see you as a dear friend and trusted adviser. Here are 7 lawyer marketing tips to build client-focused relationships.
- Show interest in their needs – Whether you work for individuals or businesses, the key to success is to focus on your clients’ interests, problems and concerns – not your own. Your clients don’t care how much you spend on marketing, how many clients you need to take on this month to meet your business goals, or how interesting you find this year’s changes in that new law. They care about solving their problems and making their life better. It’s your job to add value and support their goals. With each client interaction you have, consider how you can greater benefit their life. How can you explain why that new law will impact them or how your new service will save them time or money?
- Provide an objective third-party opinion – Your clients want someone they can turn to who will tell them the truth – even if it’s something they don’t want to hear. They want someone who will put their needs and concerns first. That requires explaining all possible solutions – even the ones that don’t benefit you – so they have a big picture overview of all their options.
- Be straightforward about bad news – No one likes receiving bad news, but it’s worse when they feel you are giving them the runaround, dodging their questions, or not addressing the elephant in the room. While it may be a difficult conversation, your clients will respect you more if you tell them the honest truth and offer them a few potential ways to handle it.
- Explain concepts without legalese or jargon – You don’t have to presume your clients are “dumb,” but keep in mind that they didn’t go to law school and don’t read legal documents daily like you do. They may not understand all the terminology you use, so make sure your explanations are easy-to-understand. Make sure to check if everything is clear and encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand.
- Respond promptly – While you don’t have to respond within 5 minutes to every client interaction, have a response policy that lets your clients know when you check email/voicemail, and when they can expect a response (e.g. within 2 business hours).
- Do the work – This should go without saying, but complete tasks quickly, on deadline, and right the first time. The more significant your client’s legal problem is, the more he will worry about its outcome, so provide regular updates and be as supportive as you can while assuring him everything is under control.
- Tread carefully with billing – Billing can often be a sore spot in client interactions, so take care to explain each charge you include on your invoice. If you believe your final fee will go over your estimate, have a conversation with your client first, explaining why the extra costs have been incurred, and give them pricing options to complete the additional work.
Your clients are your law firm’s biggest asset, so continue to follow up with them every few months after your project is completed. Learn what they’ve been doing, ask for feedback, and treat them as valued friends. Happy clients are loyal, repeat clients.