Conveyancers - how to win more new business.

  • By Allan Carton
  • 10 May, 2017
Although a lot of knowledge and skills were lost in this sector during the recession - because many experienced conveyancers moved to other areas of work when the property market collapsed - there is an opportunity now for new recruits to learn new and better ways of working.

The findings from this (estate agency focused) research should help you refocus on the key initiatives you ought to be implementing now to develop a successful conveyancing practice fit for today:

Just 18% of homebuyers based their choice on getting the lowest price . 82% were more concerned about other aspects of service. Not a surprise; our research since 2000 has always shown this to be the case.

78% would recommend the conveyancer they used to a friend – but only 14% did. (i.e. choose based on a recommendation from a friend!) Conveyancers are still missing out badly here!

38% particularly valued a conveyancer who keeps in touch once a week.

Just 31% chose a conveyancer they had used before (4% less than the previous year, so conveyancers are not improving). This is very poor for the solicitors that 69% used previously! From these results, conveyancers can to a lot better by being more proactive in developing and maintaining relationships; and it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.

68% of home buyers would consider using a conveyancer recommended by their estate agent – not a surprise as estate agents make it easy to ask the question.

46% did chose the conveyancer recommended by their estate agent – a 5% increase on last year. If conveyancers were proactive, this could be a much lower figure.

These are the results from credible, extensive research carried out by the Property Academy in association with the TM Group with more than 4700 consumers across England and Wales took part.

Action Points:

Prioritise getting to know your client AND their situation from the outset – don’t just focus on the legal transaction; a huge failing before the recession and it hasn’t changed much. Ensure that how you are set up and how people work prompts discussion outside what is just essential to get the job done.

Get technology and systems in place to streamline your work and leave time for communication with clients (and other parties e.g. estate agents who want to promote your services)

Work on your database and relationships with clients AFTER the legal work has been completed, to make sure they don’t forget you.

Help to let the personality of your people stand out so that their clients recommend them (and the practice) to friends for conveyancing work – and in other areas.  Help your conveyancers understand how to sell your services.

Two Key elements here:

Help your people respond to enquiries in a way that enables them to talk about other aspects of the service – not just price; something you can change overnight using the approach we recommend here.

Review your systems for handling enquiries to make sure you are following up as effectively as you can on every one of them – via the telephone, from the web, recommendations to make sure you don’t lose opportunities; most firms do.

Find out more about our services to help build a more profitable conveyancing business.

Law Firm Management Insights

By Allan Carton 20 Sep, 2017
A Forrester report worth downloading, with case studies, marketing insights and refreshing thinking on how businesses are using CRM to better support clients during their engagement journey. Successful CRM is not only about features and functions or internal efficiencies. These modern CRM success stories embody six overarching themes centered on customer obsession.

1 - Align your CRM strategy with your client experience strategy. Has that been explored and defined at your practice?

2 - Focus CRM outcomes on increasing revenue, not just operational efficiencies.

3 - Leverage CRM to "effortlessly" support the end-to-end client journey.

4 - Use CRM to deeply personalise the client engagement.

5 - Extend CRM beyond its traditional footprint by leveraging integrations.

6 - Combat the CRM “Hate Factor” by engageing CRM users simply and easily.

DOWNLOAD the free report here >>

To put these into practice for your legal business requires some "out of the box" thinking.  We can help you start the process by exploring and defining the journey that you want your new prospects and existing clients to follow in engaging with you.  

To discuss , please either email Allan Carton or schedule a free preliminary telephone call here .
By Allan Carton 04 Sep, 2017

Frank Manning, legal tech specialist at Inpractice highlights just a few of the options, but get in touch to find out how to put these and much more to work for your practice.  Here is a quick look at just some of the  tools built into Office 365  that can help you get up and running quickly with some aspects of GDPR compliance.

The Content Search feature lets a firm scan all sources of data held within the Office 365 environment although there are options to import data from other systems to manage within O365 too. It’s quite powerful in any event as it allows you, for example, to scan emails, documents and even Skype messages.

With content search, you specify keywords for it to search against. You can also use Boolean to combine keywords (i.e. instead of searching for client, account, number as separate keywords combine these into client AND account AND number if you wanted all keywords to be present to return a result). In addition to keywords, you can specify message sent/received dates, modification dates, sensitive information and labels. See more on this function below.

Here is a really good resource detailing everything that is searchable. Once the search has been completed and any matches identified, Office 365 then provides you with the ability to preview the search results in a preview pane. For example, you can preview the contents of emails, Word, Excel files and more …

Depending on what you want to do with files that present a breach of GDPR you have several options. You can, for example, delete the files or export them.

The Labels feature allows you to apply a label to a data item that will identify it as a particular type. For example, if I’m holding data on an individual that needs to be retained until they reach the age of 18 I could create a label called “Retain until 18”, but note that items can only have one label applied at a time.

The label can then have automatic actions applied to it. For example, it can automatically delete the data or just trigger a review. There is much more functionality to help law firms comply with GDPR, but as ever, technology is just an enabler even if it has the potential to radically automate and ease many of the steps that have to be taken; just part of a bigger project that requires leadership, strategy, policies, engagement, training and stringent management to produce the right results for your practice .

To discuss how we can help you meet the 25th May 2018 compliance deadline, book a free telephone conference to find out more in confidence and with no obligation. 

By Allan Carton 13 Jul, 2017

Only 39% of RFPs received by KCOM during an 18 month period allowed or encouraged suppliers to be innovative. But more than half of these prevented the development of a strategic partnership – a relationship that is critical to creativity – leaving just 18% of enterprise IT RFPs that truly sought innovation.

This review covers RFP's mostly from outside the legal sector, but our experience shows the same happening in law firms, in spite of new initiatives and developments on AI and process improvement.

In this insightful report on research by KCOM, they explore why the IT RFP process is failing to deliver on the key challenge of our time – innovating the customer experience.

The best IT projects are highly creative, innovative and collaborative. IT professionals everywhere are highly motivated to deliver on all these goals. But the IT RFP process is stifling these positive impulses with outdated and inflexible practices:

  • Only 39% of RFPs encouraged innovation and creativity from vendors – so how can enterprises leap forward in terms of customer experience?
  • 76% of customer-focused IT projects have no measures in place to assess impact on the customer experience or overall service.
  • Half of legacy IT replacement projects fail to take an innovative approach - what a missed opportunity.

This report from KCOM analyses real examples of RFPs - admittedly outside the legal sector - and share their ideas on how to fix the problems that are holding businesses back.

Make sure your IT projects deliver on the innovation and creativity needed to meet customer expectations by heeding the guidance in this report.

DOWNLOAD the report here - check out the section at pages 12 and 13 in particular on " Things to consider procuring enterprise technology projects" and talk to us at Inpractice UK  if you want to find out more about how we help law firms deal with this in the legal sector.

By Allan Carton 30 Jun, 2017
Download this white paper from the World Economic Forum on the blockchain, which I am still struggling to fully understand. However, lawyers generally need to start to understand the "blockchain" and how it could impact on financial transactions; if only because it will be an area to investigate in litigation as disputes arise and it's likely to play some part in financial transactions associated with AI.  Specialist lawyers are coming through now too and we can expect it to open up new opportunities to innovate.

I suspect they are right to say that "Like the internet before it, the blockchain promises to upend business models and disrupt industries. It is pushing us to challenge how we have structured society, defined value and rewarded participation ... It runs on computers provided by volunteers around the world; there is no central database to hack or shut down. We can send money and soon any form of digitized value – from stocks and bonds to intellectual property, art, music and even votes – directly and safely between us without going through a bank, a credit-card company, PayPal or Western Union, social network, government or other middleman."

It may take some reading, but check it out here. https://goo.gl/nHNgwc   A good introduction with detail that you can refer back to in the future.
By Allan Carton 14 Jun, 2017

“Growing evidence reveals that firms define ‘giving value’ very differently from the way clients assess whether they receive it. There are three simple things a firm can do to get – and stay – on the same page as the executives paying their bills.” from the article below by James Bliwas.

Why does this matter?

As an example: Helping lawyers become more effective at “ Pricing” to agree and recover higher fees is high on the agenda for most firms at the minute  and quite rightly too.

However, most lawyers still bypass the first critical step – listening to the client – which throws this and just about every other initiative that impacts on client experience, out of kilter. Not listening properly is likely to at least substantially dilute the results of many of the new initiatives in which progressive law firms are currently investing.

Listen to clients (and introducers too) at the beginning to make sure you are aiming to implement a solution that gives them what they value most; not what you think they do.  The understanding that will develop at this point will establish a sound base for new initiatives, including management of client relationships themselves.

On our pricing example – Lawyers can only agree the “best” price that a client is willing to pay (whatever pricing model they use) if the client feels that a lawyer’s involvement helps or enables them to meet the challenges that matter most to them, in a way that works best for them. Business owners and execs are interested in how it impacts on them personally, on their role in the business and on the business itself – so you need to hear all of this whenever possible.

We say –  talk to the owners or execs at the client business first to understand what they value (including what is currently missing), make time to explore new options; how the service could change to deliver more value for the client.  Then base your pricing (process or relationship management as discussed below) on the components and value to the client of the new service and relationship; not the old – and the sooner the better if you want to retain good clients.

Lawyers can’t get the relationship or the service right for the client until they know what clients really “value”.  Most think they do, but make too many assumptions when options and expectations are changing quickly; and where every client is different and developing at a different speed.

Many firms are introducing big and expensive changes on  Process Improvement , CRM , Artificial Intelligence and wider Technology  at the minute (again quite rightly), with the aim of reducing costs and improving service … but are these initiatives being developed with a real understanding of what different clients want from them – apart from a reduction in price?

How do you find out?

All 3 solutions proposed in this  informative article (well worth reading) – from James Bliwas  – involve 1 key step; “listening to clients”.   I would take that further to say …  listen to clients talking about their business, what is expected of them and their challenges, with an open mind and a clean sheet on what the “legal” service could look like. Be prepared to start again … and price the service that flows from this discussion – not the one you provide today.

Find out more about client listening here >>  

Why do it?  

Most firms miss the mark because they don’t dig deep enough, so don’t discover what could be done differently that might, for example, involve more or different collaboration, integration or communication … and more.  Often “less is more” so there can be opportunities to cut out wasted time and steps on both sides; for the lawyer and the client.  New options in these areas have been developing quickly; perhaps even faster and further with some clients than with many law firms.

There is also a tendency in reviewing relationships to look backwards, rather than forwards.

Talk about other aspects of the business that matters to clients … as well as price.  There are usually missed opportunities to make the relationship stronger beyond the handling of individual legal transactions.  What are they … for each client?  Find them.  Things that will keep the client coming back and justify a better return for everyone from the relationship.  To find out what those opportunities are, take time out to discuss and explore options.

Then find ways to share this with your people to develop their understanding so that you can put meaningful new initiatives into practice. Modify current services, develop new, introduce better communication, collaboration and integration and whatever else it takes to help clients want to keep coming back.

Our Client Listening  is NOT about “client satisfaction”.  We focus on looking forwards in every relationship to new options and opportunities to do better and do more of what the client wants, willing to challenge established ways of working together; but few firms do this effectively.

MAKING IT HAPPEN FOR YOU

We can help you put together the plan and to make this happen for your practice.  

To discuss how we can help   you, please  complete this contact request form    or  schedule a free telephone conference  (confidential and with no obligation) with  Allan Carton  via the link a the top of this website.

By Allan Carton 31 May, 2017

DO THIS EVERY TIME

1.   When you make a will for a client, ALWAYS ask ... this question.

2.    Make sure you have a good quality leaflet available  to send by post and/or email that provides useful insights into the role of an executor; well presented, with readable FAQ's - and an outline of who you are and what you do.  

3.  Send it  and  invite them to drop  in for a chat to discuss.  Ensure compliance with GDPR to get the executor's consent to you keeping in touch.  

4.  Add their names to your database  and  keep in touch  with information about your practice and your services.


FOLLOW THROUGH BECAUSE ...

A]   This is an easy opportunity to grow your client base quickly  from people who can become clients for life.  

B]  This can produce n ew work for your private client team tomorrow ; maybe conveyancing, PI, their own wills etc.

C]  Knowing about executors' responsibilities would be helpful to the client and the executor.

D]   These executors are amongst your best prospects for new business because your client should speak well of you.

E]   They probably fit with the profile of people that you are likely to appeal to .

F]  They may know your practice already, but that doesn't mean they will always use you.  It's a useful prompt.

G]  If they don't know you, this gets your name in front of them - in a good way.

H]  It creates an opportunity to meet face to face - although most are more likely to come along when they need you.

I]  It's more likely these executors will use you for their wills and probate work in the future - so do the same again!


WHY YOUR COMPETITORS DON'T ASK EITHER

It takes preparation, planning, coordination and commitment from everyone in your practice.  Very few firms invest the time and effort because they don't recognise the potential and the lost opportunity, so it's worth some effort to get organised; others are reluctant to ask the question and few put enough effort into gathering, cleansing and using their client data effectively.  So there are some key steps to take to be able to get the full return on this.

For example:

1.   Make sure all your staff know that what matters most is making the clients comfortable, taking time to build a rapport with them, as well as doing the legal job well.

2.  If you don’t have a reliable and user-friendly marketing/prospecting database , get one organised now. You’ll have to set aside chargeable time to sort out a good system, but it’s an investment worth making. If you don’t have searchable records of executors, trustees and beneficiaries, as well as testators, set these up now, before your campaign begins. Otherwise, you will lose out on one of the best sources of new clients available to high street practices.

3.   Sell your service as a joint executor. Don’t just tell your clients what you will do – tell them how it will make things much easier for the people they leave behind. Find out what matters to your clients, by exploring their ideas and fears on what will happen after their death and respond with practical advice.

4.   Get your clients’ agreement for you to keep in touch and keep them informed. Add them to your mailing list and do actually keep in touch. To do this, you need to get your client and contact database in order. This should be an absolute priority for every law firm right now.  Don't let the GDPR requirements inhibit your plans.  Deal with them.

6. Invest some time in business development with your clients’ consent. Invite every executor and trustee into your office when the will has been made to discuss their role and responsibilities, and your role in helping them. Give executors and trustees information to take away and get their agreement for you to keep in touch.  Add them to your mailing list and do keep in touch.  Again, you need that database.


MAKING IT HAPPEN FOR YOU

We can help you put together the plan and to make this happen for your practice.  

To discuss how we can help  you, please complete this contact request form  or schedule a free telephone conversation (confidential and with no obligation) with Allan Carton via the link a the top of this website.


O ther related topics that might be of interest:

By Allan Carton 30 May, 2017

"What struck me most about the event (GC Summit Switzerland with an  audience of about 80 Swiss GCs) was the fact that much of what Hamish spoke about centered on talking to and ultimately knowing what your client really wants and needs. This approach means going away from looking at the ‘what’ and much more at the ‘why’. Not how can we make our widget better but but why and how are our customers using it in the first place."

Valuable insights and conclusions in this interesting article  from Catherine McGregor , Editor in Chief of GC Magazine and Publishing Director at the Legal 500.  

By Allan Carton 11 May, 2017

Part 2 of a 3-part series of short articles.  We explain how law firms are using "independent client listening" to generate new business, strengthen ties with clients (referrers and business partners too); to develop new service propositions valued more by clients, innovate on service delivery and develop a client-focused culture across the business. It helps lawyers to find tangible new ways to differentiate from competitors and future-proof relationships with clients.

“For the smartest firms the opportunities are waiting to be seized, but it will take a dynamic and questioning mindset and an ability to look at the business from the client’s point of view, to be consistently successful.”   (The Age of the Client – LexisNexis Bellwether Report)

Focus Initiatives on whatever clients value – make it tangible.

Law firms should combine independent “client listening” with other relationship, account and business development activities as all have a part to play.

We use independent client listening at the front end of most projects, to get a perspective for our clients - from theirs - about what they would value as tangible outcomes for them of the initiative we are about to work on. It helps dramatically to inform the project and the results our clients want to see from it.

Bear in mind that all our key areas of work have a direct impact on clients, so this is very pertinent. All are aimed directly at adding value to our legal clients’ services – revolve primarily around technology, client relationships (from CRM strategies and systems, through research and systems), process improvement (including “lean”) and development of the skills needed to make the most of these enhancements to the capability of the practice.

Client listening can be used in many different contexts, some of which we outlined in the first article, but overall it:

  • Is not rocket science
  • Explores the personal and business objectives and priorities of the client; their world.
  • Is personal, to actively engage with clients, meaningfully about their views and plans.
  • Recognises that people run your client’s business and that they don’t all think the same
  • Makes clients feel valued and involved
  • Identifies some trends for groups of clients and sectors
  • Enables your practice to make decisions based on client preferences and strategic needs
  • Takes the guesswork and navel-gazing out of how to deliver legal services
  • Brings people closer, creates creative thinking time and positive debate.
  • Results in action
  • Generates new business.
  • Enables lawyers to innovate with confidence

 The best results are produced from one-to-one, face-to-face interviews and we are reluctant to carry out any relatively small scale initiative in any other way. As the numbers rise, it makes more sense to incorporate some other forms of listening; perhaps telephone calls or Skype for one-to-ones at a distance, but interaction is essential. Focus groups can be very productive too in the right situation, but can be expensive and challenging to coordinate for the right mix of people.

Listening Looks Forwards – Not Backwards

Client Listening is not about “client satisfaction” related initiatives, which have a big part to play too and are much more prevalent in the legal sector. They tend to look backwards at what service has been like, asking “how are we doing, what could we do better?”.

Client listening looks forwards to what the relationship and services should look like in the future asking “What can we do differently … to give you more value from our relationship and the services we deliver for you?”. Everything should be up for discussion - no holds barred. The past has got you this far, to establish the relationship, but expectations and possibilities have changed radically.

Independent Listening Produces Better Results

Independent Client Listening involves the introduction of an experienced, objective view to add a new dynamic and a different perspective. Our experience has shown that this involvement very often opens up new, totally unexpected, opportunities that would not otherwise have been identified.

Why this works so well, so often?

The business people we talk to have generally never experienced this kind of investment and interest in a relationship with them from a law firm before. They recognise it as exceptional now. Perhaps it wouldn’t have the same impact if all firms did it.

Being independent, we can talk candidly and very directly about their personal and business objectives . We can explore the concerns that could generally keep them awake at night to find out about them and their business world, setting specific legal services aside for good parts of the discussion. Experience tells us where to draw the line.

We assure them of confidentiality in any areas they don’t want attributed to them. In practice, it is rare for clients to exercise this right to anonymity, but it lets them talk without any inhibition or reservations.

We explore options; what might be possible – we don’t agree any actions, making that clear to the person we interview. It is agreed that we take their comments “back to base” for the law firm to chew over and come up with any proposals from there, with a clearer understanding of what the client wants to achieve.

We make it clear that we really don’t know anything about the detail of past transactions, which means we don’t get bogged down in that detail . We are only interested in looking at how the relationship and services should develop going forwards.

In that context, we can use our wide experience of the market for legal services and our research into their sector to identify (alongside our client’s views on untapped opportunities) to open discussion on their view of the legal service they want in the future. What could that look like for them?

    We explore options from all angles, with our experience of technology, process, relationships, skills etc; asking any questions we want because there are no boundaries to this discussion on either side. Anything could be possible

    Talk about what other firms do and DON’T do – for real
      Allow them to explore freely, without the restraints of the current relationship ;

        You will find that Independent Client Listening can be used very effectively in a wide variety of situations to help develop your business. It should be a resource that every firm should use one way or another as a matter of routine.

        Also see -   PART 1: Why Smart Law Firms Listen to Clients

        Coming soon - PART 3: Getting Started: How Independent Client Listening works Inpractice.

        Find out more about how we help lawyers introduce effective Client Relationship Management below:

          For more information or to discuss how this could work for your practice - in confidence and with no obligation - contact Allan Carton on 07779 653105 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk

        By Allan Carton 10 May, 2017
        Although a lot of knowledge and skills were lost in this sector during the recession - because many experienced conveyancers moved to other areas of work when the property market collapsed - there is an opportunity now for new recruits to learn new and better ways of working.

        The findings from this (estate agency focused) research should help you refocus on the key initiatives you ought to be implementing now to develop a successful conveyancing practice fit for today:

        Just 18% of homebuyers based their choice on getting the lowest price . 82% were more concerned about other aspects of service. Not a surprise; our research since 2000 has always shown this to be the case.

        78% would recommend the conveyancer they used to a friend – but only 14% did. (i.e. choose based on a recommendation from a friend!) Conveyancers are still missing out badly here!

        38% particularly valued a conveyancer who keeps in touch once a week.

        Just 31% chose a conveyancer they had used before (4% less than the previous year, so conveyancers are not improving). This is very poor for the solicitors that 69% used previously! From these results, conveyancers can to a lot better by being more proactive in developing and maintaining relationships; and it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.

        68% of home buyers would consider using a conveyancer recommended by their estate agent – not a surprise as estate agents make it easy to ask the question.

        46% did chose the conveyancer recommended by their estate agent – a 5% increase on last year. If conveyancers were proactive, this could be a much lower figure.

        These are the results from credible, extensive research carried out by the Property Academy in association with the TM Group with more than 4700 consumers across England and Wales took part.

        Action Points:

        Prioritise getting to know your client AND their situation from the outset – don’t just focus on the legal transaction; a huge failing before the recession and it hasn’t changed much. Ensure that how you are set up and how people work prompts discussion outside what is just essential to get the job done.

        Get technology and systems in place to streamline your work and leave time for communication with clients (and other parties e.g. estate agents who want to promote your services)

        Work on your database and relationships with clients AFTER the legal work has been completed, to make sure they don’t forget you.

        Help to let the personality of your people stand out so that their clients recommend them (and the practice) to friends for conveyancing work – and in other areas.  Help your conveyancers understand how to sell your services.

        Two Key elements here:

        Help your people respond to enquiries in a way that enables them to talk about other aspects of the service – not just price; something you can change overnight using the approach we recommend here.

        Review your systems for handling enquiries to make sure you are following up as effectively as you can on every one of them – via the telephone, from the web, recommendations to make sure you don’t lose opportunities; most firms do.

        Find out more about our services to help build a more profitable conveyancing business.
        By Allan Carton 26 Apr, 2017

        “For the smartest firms the opportunities are waiting to be seized, but it will take a dynamic and questioning mindset and an ability to look at the business from the client’s point of view, to be consistently successful.”

        “80% of lawyers think they’re delivering above average service … but only 40% of clients say they are receiving it.”   ( The Age of the Client, LexisNexis Bellwether Report) 

        In this 3-part series of short articles, we explain how law firms are using "independent client listening" to generate new business, strengthen ties with clients (referrers and business partners too); to develop new service propositions valued more by clients, innovate on service delivery and develop a client-focused culture across the business. It helps lawyers to find tangible new ways to differentiate from competitors and future-proof relationships with clients.  

        PART 1: “Smart” Firms Listen to clients to gear up with confidence

        To be one of these “smartest firms”, lawyers need to listen more intently than ever before to clients; to understand what the people who run any business envisage for their future. What they want to achieve … for the business and for themselves. You want to know what your practice can do to add more value to your service for them and to make it tangible.

        The best way to find out about this is to ask and explore options; but ask with an open mind and a willingness to change, adapt and develop what you currently offer, to develop and deliver new service propositions.

        Independent Client Listening is …

        a)  The best first step  when you want to introduce (or re-launch) a meaningful Client Relationship Management (CRM) strategy or initiative; one which enables you to differentiate your practice from competitors;

        b)  A catalyst to develop new services  and methods of delivery that add value to your services; which differentiate your practice from the competition. It enables law firms to explore options to disrupt the status quo for the better and to innovate; do things very differently;

        c)  Shared Reflection and Innovation  – to identify what might be possible; then explore options and find solutions that hadn’t been considered (possible) before;

        d)  Ammunition to help change attitudes and practices . Once lawyers know what clients really want, they generally knuckle down to find the best way to deliver it. It gives your people confidence to innovate and makes a more interactive relationship with clients more rewarding;

        e)  A successful way to generate substantial new business from existing clients and,

        f)   Not just for clients .  It works for introducers, referrers and business partners too.

        Help Lawyers Visualise What Can Differentiate

        Our experience shows that most lawyers need help to envisage – sometimes radically different - new ways of working with and providing services to clients and business partners; often involving more collaborative and integrated working relationships. With long-standing relationships, it can be very difficult to see the wood from the trees as handling day-to-day work the way we currently do becomes the norm. It is very difficult to consider any significant change, if it is all running along nicely; as it often does. 

        The way people do business has been transformed in even the last 5 years, with dramatic developments in IT, communications, working practices, efficiency, restructuring of business, working patterns, attitudes to collaboration, use of data and much more; all of which creates new challenges and opportunities. Every owner and manager in business clients you work with is considering how best to respond and capitalise on these developments – now and for the future.

        Do you know what they are thinking and how best to respond?  Every business owner, CEO, FD and COO thinks – just like you - that what they do makes a difference; they can’t all be thinking and doing the same. They are looking to play to their strengths and the strengths of their business to make them successful in their world.

        How can you play some part in making that happen, even if only in some small way for now?  What changes could be made in the way you deal with them and their business to help them achieve their personal and business goals and objectives? Breaking the status quo is otherwise very hard to justify.

        Does client listening work? What are the results? Resoundingly, yes. As a direct result, we can demonstrate that:

        • Closer and more personal working relationships have developed.
        • Radically new service propositions have been introduced.
        • Issues that would have remained hidden have been exposed and addressed successfully.
        • Clients that would have been lost have been retained.
        • New instructions have started to flow from new parts of the business.
        • More collaborative and integrated ways of working together have been developed.
        • Lawyers get inspired by clients and become more confident to innovate.

        This kind of approach enables your good people to get better in managing client relationships, which we see as even more critical for law firms going forwards.

        The 10 Key Steps

        We will elaborate on each of these in Part 3 of this series “Getting Started: How Independent Client Listening Works In Practice” but so that you can see what is involved here, those key steps are:

        • Choose the clients – between 5 and 20 for a pilot.
        • Audit and review each with us – with your key contact at each
        • We research the business, the people and the sector
        • We agree discussion topics with you.
        • You get approval to engage from the key contact at the client
        • We engage, set up and deal with a batch of meetings
        • You thank the client after the meeting and give timescales for a response
        • We report back to you with findings, conclusions and recommendations. 
        • Further internal discussions to share learning, agree and action steps needed to respond.
        • You report back to client on proposed actions – and proceed from there.

        What does Independent Client Listening Feel Like?

        We will explain in Part 2, why independent client listening is highly effective. For now, here are a few of the questions we are likely to include in the tailored “Discussion Topics” document that we use as the starting agenda for an interview with each client involved. Some examples to give a feel for just part of the territory we cover with most clients:

        • What do you see as your main business challenges and opportunities over the next 18 months?
        • Where is your personal focus likely to be during that time? Your key priorities? 
        • What would success look like for you? Any performance measures?
        • Have you discussed/considered how a strategic relationship with providers of lawyer services can be most valuable to your business? 
        • What bearing could this have on which law firms you instruct?
        • What changes (if any) would you like to see made to the team within [Law Firm] that deals with your work and how they operate?
        • How would you like to see the relationship with the firm develop over the next 12-24 months?
        • If the firm were to make just 2 key improvements, what do you think they should be?

        Coming soon:

        PART 2: Why “Independent” Client Listening Works Best

        PART 3: Getting Started: How Independent Client Listening Works Inpractice.

        Find out more about how we help lawyers introduce effective Client Relationship Management below:

        For more information or to discuss how this could work for your practice - in confidence and with no obligation - contact Allan Carton on 07779 653105 or at  acarton@inpractice.co.uk  -  www.inpractice.co.uk

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