Three Critical Steps to Building a Prosperous Practice

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The secret to marketing success is massive amounts of consistent and persistent action over a prolonged period of time.

We are at the halfway mark for the year 2015 but being overwhelmed with new files has yet to happen for many lawyers. This is typically this time of year I find that attorneys 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.

There is no single action that 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.

1. 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.
  • Schedule the activity into your calendar to make sure it happens consistently. Enlist the support of your administrative team.

There are plenty of expert local resources available 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.

2. Face-to-Face Interaction

It’s tough, if not downright impossible, to build and grow a prosperous practice without meeting people proactively 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 target 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.

3. 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.

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 most prized clients and referral sources to make this year a success for you and your practice.

The secret to marketing success is massive amounts of consistent and persistent action over a prolonged period of time.

Kimberly Alford Rice

About Kimberly Alford Rice

Kimberly Alford Rice is Principal of KLA Marketing Associates (, a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a nationally-recognized legal marketing authority, Kimberly advises law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Additionally, Kimberly provides career management services to lawyers in transition.

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