There is a view among the public at large about lawyers. Have you spotted it? You see it in “lawyer jokes”, in complaints, in the papers and on “current affairs” shows. Many people think that lawyers are greedy, manipulative and self-serving.
Personally I find that perception a little sad. As a profession, it would be far preferable to have a positive public opinion, such as used to exist in times past.
However, this is the profession we have, and for better or worse we also have the perception that comes along with it.
Lawyers Can Confound Expectations – Make a Phone Call
One goal for you in your business development and marketing habits, should be to look for things you can do which will confound the expectation of your clients.
One such thing is this: call them to see how things are going. Not to ask for work, or answer a question, or offer a service. Just enquire about their business and see how they are travelling. Did they tell you about a much anticipated holiday recently? Why not call to see how it went. What about their kids starting school, or a planned wedding anniversary?
What is the purpose of this idle chit chat, you ask? It’s not billable, so won’t my firm frown on me making useless calls in the middle of the day? Short answer is no. They won’t. They WILL if you spend your entire day on the call, but that is another problem. I have yet to meet any senior lawyer who would frown on any junior lawyer taking a step to improve the relationship with a client at practically no cost.
Yes – some of your clients will be too busy to speak with you. But should that really stop you from calling? Pick the right clients with whom you have the right relationship. Maybe it’s a job just completed, or a letter just sent. You thought you’d check in and see how things were going.
This is Really a New Habit, not a Skill
Calling clients is the other side of the coin to emailing them. One develops relationships, the other does not. Guess which is which?
It is, however, a habit that we need to develop.
So for this new habit we don’t even need to go too far overboard. Here’s what I suggest:
- Make a short list of clients you work for who you believe would take your call. If you are junior enough that you have no such people, then make the list of friends and family. After all, this is about developing the habit – your clients will come later, and if your habit is already formed then you’ve got a headstart.
- Make a set time each day.
- Call someone at that time, ensuring that you have no purpose for calling them other than for general chit chat or catching up on recent events. If they are not there – leave a message. No need to call someone else if this occurs – again, the hardest part for most people is simply picking up the phone, not having the conversation.
Sounds easy right? Well it is. But you’d be surprised how many people struggle with this basic concept, believing they should only call clients for weighty matters.
Try it today. Pick up the phone, and leave your computer alone for a few minutes.