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Three Critical Steps to Building a Prosperous Practice

The first half of the year 2015 is drawing to a close and by now “overwhelm” has yet to set in for many lawyers. It is typically this time of year I find my clients eagerly embrace a few practical steps that they may take to yield high impact results in growing and strengthening their client base.
The appropriate execution when combined with consistency and persistency can make the difference between a thriving practice and hanging on by a thread. No one-shot wonders here.

EFFECTIVE
To the extent lawyers consider the logic, there is no single action which wins the day for building a healthy practice. In relational businesses such as legal services, helping firms to reach “top-of-mind” status among its key audiences (existing clients, referral sources, and prospects) proves to be one of the greatest ‘high impact’ business development initiatives in which to engage. That is what I’m focusing on in this article:

REACH OUT REGULARLY
With the countless number of ways to connect (email, social media, texting, snail mail, Skype, video conferencing, webcasting, etc.), it has never been easier to get and stay in touch with others. Some individuals still pick up a landline telephone and place an actual phone call. Find out how your clients and key influencers prefer to be communicated with and leverage the available technology to develop a regular means of staying in touch. This could take the form of a monthly e-blast to a different segment of your clients on an issue of particular relevance to them. Or, it could be a program notice for an in-house “lunch n’ learn” on a timely topic which may adversely affect your clients’ business, if left unaddressed. Whatever the means, schedule it into your calendar to make sure it happens consistently. Enlist the support of your administrative team.
There are plenty of expert local resources available (just ask us) to assist you in developing a system for staying in touch with a growing number of clients and contacts. Developing and executing a system will make all the difference in the world for supporting your goals and rendering tangible results in growing a practice. Don’t leave your communication with targeted audiences to chance or continue a scattershot approach. As so many have seen, it simply does not work to make a lasting impression or to develop a “top-of-mind” awareness in front of those with whom you wish to connect.

FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION
It’s tough, if not downright impossible, to build and grow a prosperous practice without proactively meeting and cultivating relationships with individuals who are in a position to retain your services. There are a plethora of passive marketing tactics (such as advertising, article publishing, strategic web development) which can be very effective when combined with active marketing tactics (speaking engagements, networking events, organizational involvement), recognizing again that there is no one activity which is the magic bullet.

As the number of networking opportunities has increased, we advise clients to remain very strategic and selective in committing to which events they will attend and in which professional organizations they will become involved. The absolute best events to attend are those at which your “profile” clients will be present. In short, you want to “go where the clients are.”
For example, if your area of practice is in management side labor and employment law, the folks who typically make legal hiring decisions may be a VP of Human Resources, Human Resources Director, CFO, or even a business owner, depending on the size of an organization. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to attend and become involved in the same organizations in which those folks are involved. One such organization is the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM). It is there that you will find individuals struggling with a myriad of employment law issues with which you may lend your expertise.

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY
It bears repeating that it has never been easier to get and stay in front of key audiences than it is today given all the technological tools (read: economical) available.
Assuming your firm has a website (and if you don’t, that is a whole different conversation), I encourage clients to upload fresh content frequently. This may take the form of a short article (no more than 750–1000 words), blog posts (no more than 300 words), or even a link to an article you published in a print or digital publication.
Study after study shows us that there is tremendous room for growth with online marketing initiatives. It is commonplace that upon meeting a prospect, a possible professional services advisor, etc., we all check out their online bio, whether that is on their website, an attorney directory (like Martindale or AVVO) or even LinkedIn. If you frequently upload new content to your website, you will boost your online credibility, which can increase your retention rate.

"THE SECRET TO MARKETING SUCCESS IS THE CONSISTENT AND PERSISTENT MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF ACTION OVER A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME.”
As the legal services landscape continues to shift and change and clients become even more selective in their legal services retentions, I challenge you to initiate at least 3 new high impact and commit to business development activities to get and stay connected with most prized clients and referral sources to make this year a success for you and your practice.

Kimberly Alford Rice

Kimberly Alford Rice is Principal of KLA Marketing Associates (www.klamarketing.net), a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a law marketing authority, Kimberly helps law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenue. Additionally, Kimberly founded Women in the Law Rainmaker Forum to provide women lawyers guidance in professional and career management issues. She may be reached at 609.458.0415 or via email at kimberly@klamarketing.net

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Filed Under: Featured StoriesPractice Management

About the Author: Kimberly Alford Rice is Principal of KLA Marketing Associates (www.klamarketing.net), a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a law marketing authority, Kimberly helps law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenue. Additionally, Kimberly founded Women in the Law Rainmaker Forum to provide women lawyers guidance in professional and career management issues. She may be reached at 609.458.0415 or via email at kimberly@klamarketing.net

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