10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty. with Ken Hardison, PILMMA and LawMarketing.com

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1 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty with Ken Hardison, PILMMA and LawMarketing.com

2 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 2 Ken Hardison, President & Founder, PILMMA Ken Hardison practiced injury law for over 32 years, and built one of the largest Personal Injury Law Firms in the state of North Carolina. Although Ken s retired from practicing law, he still actively participates and consults his former partner Ben Cochran regarding the marketing of the firm. Go to to learn more about the law firm Ken helped build. Ken is the founder and president of PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association). PILMMA is the only legal marketing and management association exclusively for injury and disability lawyers. For more information, visit

3 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 3 In this white paper, an edited transcript of a teleseminar with Ken Hardison, you will learn the 10 tips to developing client loyalty. Specific topics include: The Difference Between a Satisfied Client and a Loyal Client How Attorney Achieves Client Loyalty In Their Practice ways to Develop Client Loyalty How to Implement These Tips Into Your Law Firm Client loyalty is very important to your law firm. A client may be satisfied by your services but still not be fully connected and loyal to your practice. What you want is loyal clients clients who have you at the top of their mind and who will not sway and go to another law firm. Believe it or not, right next door, across the street and across the county, your competition is doing everything they can to get people to leave you and come to them. When you create value, you create client loyalty. This can save you thousands of dollars in marketing your practice - getting repeat customers/clients and referrals from these clients is so much easier than going out and spending new money to get people into your funnel. If you do a great job and not only satisfy clients but create that loyalty, they're going to be yours forever. Be their trusted advisor is something that Jay Abraham talks about the Theory of Preeminence. Be your client s trusted advisor. You want them to call you anytime they need a lawyer you may be able to help them or you may be able to refer them to a colleague. When you become their trusted advisor, they will come to you first. In order to gain client loyalty, you need: to be a good lawyer to be a good firm have good ethics provide good quality service to be referable The Difference Between a Satisfied Client and a Loyal Client Client satisfaction is an element of loyalty - a client could be satisfied and still not feel connected to you and your firm. They may find another lawyer the next time they need one because they just don't feel they have a connection with you.

4 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 4 Client Loyalty Consists of Five Things: 1. The overall satisfaction of doing business with you and your law firm. 2. The willingness to build a relationship with you and your company or your law firm. 3. The willingness to be a repeat client 4. A willingness to recommend you to others, 5. A reluctance to switch to another law firm and get some help market it to or refer to another law firm. The main difference when you re a client s trusted advisor, that s the difference between client satisfaction and client loyalty. How an Attorney Achieves Client Loyalty in Their Practice Your staff will treat clients the way you treat your staff. It starts at the top with the leader. clients the way you treat your staff. Your staff will treat your If you treat your staff like crap, they will most likely treat your clients like crap. But if you treat your staff like gold your staff will also treat your clients like gold. It has to start with you the firm s leader. 10 Tips to Developing Client Loyalty 1. Greet Your Clients Promptly Who s the most important person in your law firm? It s not the lawyer or the partner or the marketing director. It's the receptionist. Your receptionist is the most important person in your law firm. The receptionist is the point of first impression. Even if she is having a bad day, she needs to be wearing the Disney Smile. The receptionist needs to great clients promptly both in person and on the phone. Studies have shown that a person who was on hold for seconds would say that they had been on hold for between three to four minutes. If you need more than one receptionist, depending on the size of your law firm, then hire more.

5 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 5 Always have more lines coming in to your firm than you have phones. First time callers need an answer to a problem that they ve been up all night thinking about. If they call and they get a busy signal, they may move on to the next law firm. If possible, instead of playing music when people are kept on hold, have a recording playing that refers to the services your firm offers and your unique selling proposition - what makes your law firm different from other law firms. This way if you do have to put people on hold, they will feel like they re on hold for a shorter time and you also get to share about the services you offer. Bottom line - greet your clients properly and always invest in a good receptionist someone who will be Miss Happy all the time. 2. Apply Good Conversation Skills People are intimidated by lawyers and so it's your job to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Always start a conversation. Weather is always something good to talk about. You can also look for clues to help you come up with new topics to talk about look at their clothing, hats etc. does it give you a hint into the sports they like, past experiences etc.? Talk to your staff about this too teach them conversations skills so they can also start conversations with your clients. 3. Build Rapport Building rapport is not by talking. It's actually by listening. You ve got to be a good listener. In general, people only really hear 25% of what is being said - many people are already thinking about what they're going to say or how they're going to respond while the other person is still talking. You can learn a lot more by listening than by talking. Be a good listener and relate to what your clients are going through. Have some empathy. You learn a lot more by listening than by talking. Be a good listener.

6 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 6 4. Be Sincere and Show Empathy All staff in the law firm should be shown how to show empathy. Everyone person could fall into the same situation a client is in perhaps disabled, out of a job, not able to buy clothes, etc. When clients come in they re hurting. Be sincere and build the relationship. Show them you genuinely care. 5. Use Good Phone Techniques. Do ghost calls to your office and listen to how the phone is answered. Make sure the receptionist is appropriately greeting people with everything you want them to say, i.e. Good morning/afternoon, ABC Law Firm. This is Mary, how may I help you today? Make sure they use a nice greeting, smile while they re talking and use their name this makes things more personal right from the beginning. 6. Enjoy the Diversity Do your best to relate to people. Speak to the person the way they re talking to you (shadowing) i.e. relate to someone who has a 4 th grade education and someone who has a Ph.D. or someone who speaks slowly/quickly or uses slang. Doing this may help someone feel more comfortable with being open and connecting with you. Recognize that people are different look different, dress different, do their hair different just understand it. Underpromise and Overdeliver Lawyers make this mistake all the time because they want a case and will promise a client the moon. Always try to under promise so that clients are not disappointed by unrealistic results. But if things go well better than what you promised, you ll look like a wizard! Realize that people are different they look different, dress different, do their hair different just understand it and enjoy it Be honest in what you can commit to and what you can t. What you can promise is that you ll do the very best you can and will represent your client as if they were your own family. That s all you can promise. You don t know what the outcome may be or what the jury will decide so don t make promises you can t keep.

7 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 7 7. Call People By Their Names People love to hear their names. Always try to remember names - when you use a client s name, they feel less like a number. If you're not sure how to pronounce their name, ask them. Because people are usually proud of their names, they feel honored when you acknowledge them. The more you can do that, the better you'll be. Your clients will notice that you know who they are and they won t feel like just another file on your desk. 8. Always Wear A Smile / Be Complimentary When a client comes in the office, always wear a smile. Be complimentary, "I love that top you have on," or "Is that a new necklace?" or "I love the way you did your hair today." If they have children, "How cute is your child!" Wear a smile and show appreciation such as Thank you filling out the form so carefully that you brought in. This will really help us." 9. Fish For Negative Feedback This is one of the most critical points. The best way to get feedback is to let clients know that you really want their honest opinion, good or bad news. Most people will not give you feedback unless you ask them. Consider giving client surveys. For example in the first 30 days, after 90 days, at 180 days and then at the end of the case. Fish for negative feedback. Most people will not give you feedback unless you ask them. In the surveys ask clients questions such as: How is your case manager treating you? How has the receptionist treated you? How has your lawyer treated you? Is there anything that we should be aware of? Do you have concerns with our firm?

8 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 8 Consider having a 24/7 advocate hotline and advertise it to your clients. We have a tollfree number in place that is forwarded to our office manager s cell phone. If anyone has a problem with anyone in the firm, they can call this number and their issue will be looked into and addressed. You may not receive any concerns and you may receive some that are legitimate, others that are not. By having the hotline, clients know that we take client service seriously. When speaking with clients, ask How is everything? What else can I do for you? instead of saying "Can I get you something else?" "What else can I get for you?, Would that be all?, What else can I do for you? Was everything satisfactory? What else can we do better to serve you? Did we meet your needs? How else can we be of help?" Do the Grandma Test I tell my people to talk to their client like it was their grandma. Would you tell our grandma when she calls, "Please hold"? Would you say to your grandma, "I'll get back to you tomorrow?" Talk to and treat your clients like you would your grandma, grandpa or somebody that your really respect, an elder that you look up to. Do the Grandma test! 10. Treat Your Clients The Way You Want to be Treated The last tip to help you gain client loyalty is to treat people the way you want to be treated. This is real simple it s not rocket science. As the leader of the firm, take the time to lead your staff and your lawyers to do this. If you do these 10 things, you ll find that the clients are going to love you. They're going to give you testimonials that you can put on your website and use in your marketing (if your state lets you use those, some states won't). And they're going to give you lots of referrals.

9 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty Page 9 Here s another tip: Celebrate the Client. Ask your lawyers and staff to find out things about what s going on in your client s lives perhaps their child received an award, they got a new car etc. The lawyer then sends a handwritten note congratulating the client and sends this to the client. This instills an even stronger connect between the client and lawyer. A handwritten note is worth a thousand words --- any client would prefer to receive a handwritten note than a 3 page typed letter. Summary of the 10 Tips to Client Loyalty: 1. Greet your clients, in person and on the phone. Hire a great receptionist. Always wear your Disney smile. 2. Apply good conversation skills. 3. Build rapport. 4. Be sincere. Show empathy. 5. Use good phone techniques. Smile through the phone. 6. Enjoy the diversity. 7. Call people by their names. 8. Wear a smile when you come into the office. Be complimentary. 9. Fish for negative feedback. Do the Grandma Test 10. Live by the golden rule Treat people the way you want to be treated. How to Implement These Tips Into Your Law Firm You need to make it part of the firm s culture. Include it in the firm s mission statement and core values. Include these in the firm s client service handbook. Discuss these items at monthly staff meetings. Essentially these items need to be at top of mind for all staff. It starts with the leader they need to live it and walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

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