If you click on the link above it will open up my first ‘Thinking Big’ article written for The New Law Journal. My series on growing a practice for solicitors, written in the New Law Journal, first appeared April 6th & 13th 2012, p506 (http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk)
Have a read and see if it’s of interest to you. My next article is in the 18th May edition.
www.newlawjournal.co.uk | 6 & 13 April 2012 506 Profession Practice Managment | New Law Journal
Adam Caplan kick-starts his new series on how to a grow a law firm.
Week 1: reputation & KPIs
A solicitor who has more clients than he can handle is a rare beast, even more so in the current economic climate. In fact with the threat of “cheap” law services offered in supermarkets, the rise of alternative business structures, increased competition and consumers who are becoming more and more capable of handling legalities themselves, it’s looking harder than ever to compete for many firms.
So, how can solicitors grow their business? Traditional methods may include:
(i) lead generation websites for around £300 a time that may, or may not, give you a lead that may, or may not, become a client;
(ii) advertising through Yellow Pages, local newspapers, event programmes at your child’s school play, etc;
(iv) sponsorship; or
(v) a large expensive website with Google advertising.
(vi) Some of these can be costly and do not guarantee business for your practice.
In fact, some of them can harm your reputation. It’s a tricky situation isn’t it? One of the two main reasons that it is hard to grow a legal practice is that clients will be worried when approaching a new solicitor. Trust has not been established and, therefore, it’s much harder to build a relationship. The other main reason is that most clients only contact a solicitor when they feel that they have a need for the service you are offering.
Building a reputation
How can you bring in new clients without harming your reputation or spending thousands of pounds on various marketing initiatives?The answer is extremely simple, even if the execution appears harder to deliver.
Any solicitor who has spent some time as a small or solo practitioner will know that that they live or die by their reputation. Your reputation is the single most important asset that your marketing process has. Helping your reputation work for you and using it to bring you new clients will be the focal point of this series of articles.
A solicitor who has more clients than he can handle is a rare beast, even more so in these difficult economic days. You can make your practice thrive with many quality clients who pay on time and don’t make your life difficult. However, you’ll have to look at making some changes first. The very first point of call is to ask a number of key questions. Without this you are going to find it very difficult to grow your practice.
How many new clients do you want?
This might sound an obvious question, however, any sales campaign (for this is how you must view this process) starts with targets. When considering how many new clients you want, ask yourself if you know your current KPIs. KPI stands for key performance indicators, a key phrase in any sales office up and down the country.
For a solicitor your KPI parameters can be anything, but a good starting point could be:
How many clients on my books?
How many clients active?
How many hours billed?
Average billed hourly rate per client.
Average hours per client billed.
For example, if you billed £200,000 from 35 clients, your average per client is around £5,715. If you billed 881 hours to generate that, your average billed per hour was £227. This 881 equals 73 hours a month and 3.33 hours daily. Understanding where your practice is now, in these terms, is vital, as no sales or marketing programme will be really effective if you don’t know where you are starting from.
So, with that starting point, it becomes really easy to look at the next stage.
How much do you want to grow your practice?
Be that in revenue, billed hours, number of clients or (as I suggest) all three. Let’s say you wanted to grow your revenue by 25%. Does this sound like a tall order? If I said to you it’s much easier than you might think would you be interested in reading the next article?
I know that if you start making the changes to your practice that we will be discussing over the coming weeks, you could grow your business quickly and (it will feel) effortlessly. Stage one is to look at your own KPIs.
So before the next article, let’s get your real sales figures to hand.
Adam Caplan, specialist sales trainer &
motivational speaker at
www.adamcaplan.co.uk & www.cellularattitude.co.uk