More clients, fewer hours. Think you can’t have both? Read these two success stories from David V. Lorenzo’s ground-breaking book.
1. IP attorney triples his income
“Pat is an intellectual property attorney who came to me complaining about the number of hours he worked. His biggest complaint was that he was working on too many small matters. Since there are no small matters, only small fees, I delved into his client list and we made some adjustments.
“It seems Pat was filing about 5 trademark applications per month for his clients and charging $1,500 each. His justification for this fee was: This is what everyone else charges.
“The first adjustment we made was to Pat’s mindset. When a business owner owns a trademark he owns an asset. This is a thing of value to his business. It helps build equity. This means filing a trademark application and having it approved is making a sound investment.
“But that is not all Pat’s clients are investing in. They are also investing in a relationship WITH HIM. This was a new philosophy for Pat. This investment in the relationship means that all the work done on this matter would be covered by one fee (less the government filing charges). If it took 20 revisions to get the mark approved, Pat would resubmit the paperwork 20 times. Once the client invested in Pat, he would not need to spend another penny on this matter.
“Second, we added the glue that cemented the relationship between Pat and his clients. We offered three years of monitoring to protect the trademark from infringement and we offered LIFETIME consultations on this trademark INCLUDED in the fee.
“This means ten years from now, if someone has a question about this particular trademark, they can call Pat and he will answer their question for free.
“The outcome: Pat was able to move from charging $1,500 for filing a trademark application to charging $4,997 for a trademark application.”
2. Trust and estates lawyer creates recurring revenue
“Joe came to me complaining that people would not pay more than $500 for him to draft their will. He said this was all he could charge since everyone else in town was charging that fee.
“After interviewing Joe I learned there were 3 other documents that were critical to setting up a sound estate plan. I also learned that Joe’s average client revises these documents at least once during their lifetime. Finally, Joe told me that most of his clients only learned of advantageous changes in the law when he brought them up.
“Under my guidance, Joe immediately stopped offering the drafting of a will as a standalone service. Instead, he began offering his clients a long-term relationship that included the drafting of all estate planning documents, the review of 12 different kinds of legal contracts (including mortgage documents, auto financing agreements, leases, and more — basically any document that bound his client to an investment of $1,000 or more) and two estate planning meetings per year.
“Overnight Joe went from being the guy who writes the will to becoming a trusted family advisor. How did this affect his income? Well, remember how Joe was charging $500 for the drafting of a will? Now he charges $2,400 per year for his Concierge Legal Service. And oh, by the way, he went back to his clients who previously paid $500 for their wills and he was able to sign up more than half of them to the new relationship.
“There are two significant takeaways from these success stories:
“First: You may think this approach is not applicable to you and your law firm. If you do, you are DEAD WRONG. This is applicable to every attorney in every law practice. We have even used it for litigation. I have given you two examples – one in a business-to-business setting and one in a consumer setting. There is absolutely no value in thinking that you cannot use this model in your law firm. You absolutely can.
“Second: You need to wake up. Your clients do not pay for the documents you draft. They do not pay for the time you spend arguing with your opposition. They do not pay for the research you do. They pay for your expertise, they pay for your guidance, and they pay for the privilege of HAVING A RELATIONSHIP with a great lawyer.”
More excerpts from David V. Lorenzo’s book
“Marketing gives you choices. If you have several clients waiting to work with you, you can choose not to accept some of them … particularly the ones who are difficult. If you have clients waiting to work with you, you can raise your fees. If you have clients waiting to work with you, you can hire staff to help lighten your personal workload. The key is to have clients waiting to work with you. And this is the importance of marketing.” §7
“Instead of looking for something to drive 100 clients to your doorstep, look for ways to improve your own approach to client attraction with these 7 fundamental behaviors:
1. Match your message to your target audience: Stop talking about yourself. Talk about the issues that keep your clients awake at night.
2. Become a thought leader: You cannot be everything to everyone. Pick one area and master it. Make sure everyone knows you own that area of law.
3. Create systems: An activity you must execute personally and repetitively is doomed. Develop systems for your law practice and monitor their effectiveness….“ 4 more principles listed in §5
“When I talk to a lawyer about his law practice I want to know about his client lifetime value and the lifetime value of his referral sources. This means I want to know how much work he has received from his clients during the entire time he has been working with them and how much revenue he has received from his referral sources over the years. To figure this out….” §12
“2. Everyone else is part of the problem. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a lawyer receive bad business advice from another lawyer, I would have a pile of money the size of Mount Everest. Lawyers are the worst people to ask about strategy or marketing. The majority of lawyers believe you can ignore these business disciplines and live happily ever after. A select few lawyers believe marketing and business success can be found exclusively online or in social media.
“Remember this: Most lawyers in private practice struggle with their finances, their work/life balance or both. Ignore advice from other lawyers, even those you believe to be successful. If you want to know how to improve the quality of your service or your marketing message, ask your clients.
“When I work with an attorney one-on-one, I interview current clients and past clients. I then develop the business strategy based upon the real world research. Having done this over 100 times in the past 3 years, I have developed a good understanding for the perspective of the client.
“But don’t take my word for it. Call a few of your own clients. Ask them some pointed questions about their perception of the experience and value you provided them. You may be surprised at what you find out.” §46
Attracting and retaining more clients
Job number one in every law firm is to attract and retain more clients. But how do you go about that challenging task? How do you know the marketing work in which you are investing scarce hours and dollars will actually pay off?
David V. Lorenzo’s Client Attraction Secrets provides a practice-proven roadmap to increasing law firm revenue without increasing your hours. His techniques might even allow you to shorten your workweek.
Your results will depend on how enthusiastically and creatively you implement Mr. Lorenzo’s suggestions, but know beforehand that the techniques detailed have worked for a wide variety of lawyers, in all types of practices, in good economic times and bad.
Mr. Lorenzo has helped attorneys in ambitious solo practices, mid-sized firms, and multi-national behemoths. But what he most enjoys is helping lawyers build lifestyle-friendly niche practices that generate a comfortable income while permitting a healthy working/living balance.
His book explains how he does it.