When we ask lawyers what they need their marketing to accomplish, the most common answer by far is “I need more clients.” But we’d like to challenge that mindset. Do you really need more clients… or do you need better clients?
Take a moment and think through the clients you’ve worked with over the past year. How many of them:
- Didn’t pay you in full, didn’t pay on time, or maybe didn’t pay at all?
- Consumed a ton of time and energy in the engagement/consultation process before hiring you?
- Were rude or disrespectful towards you, and/or your team?
- Didn’t trust you?
- Needed help with matters outside of your focus area?
- Drained you, rather than energized you?
Here’s an analogy for you. Think retail. On one end of the spectrum you’ve got Wal-Mart—cheap, always open, stores all over the country, and you can get practically anything there even though the quality may be questionable. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus. Expensive, restricted availability, and a very narrow selection of extremely high-quality merchandise.
Wal-Mart makes money through volume. They have tiny profit margins, but they’re so efficient and they sell at such high volume that, as a company, they’re very profitable. Neiman Marcus and other high-end retailers make their money through higher margins. They sell to a much, much smaller customer base than a Wal-Mart, but they’ve built a brand that allows them to create much higher margins than Wal-Mart. Therefore, they don’t need a high volume of customers. They need the right customers.
For them, it’s not about quantity… it’s about quality.
Now, which end of the spectrum would you like your law practice to operate in? Would you rather be a (relatively) low-cost provider of a wide variety of legal services, making your money through high volume? Or would you prefer to build a focused, lower-volume, higher-margin practice?
I can’t answer that question for you. But I can tell you that focusing on a niche, building a brand, and working with a smaller number of carefully selected clients will result in the following.
Ability To Charge Higher Rates
By establishing yourself as the expert in your niche, clients will seek you out, the same way a person with a heart problem seeks out the best cardiologist. They won’t do a Google search for the closest cheapest general surgeon, they look for the best of the best in that field. Be the specialist, not the general practitioner.
Less Time Working
When you charge higher rates, you create higher margins with less time in the office—time you can spend doing things you love like spending time with your family or hitting the golf course.
Referred clients are the best clients. They come to you by recommendation of a person they trust, they already know what to expect, and they most likely can afford your rates. Half the work is already done for you.
More Repeat Business
Depending on the type of work you do, you may have the opportunity to create long-term client relationships that will generate new engagements over and over again. This is a great way to build a consistently profitable practice.
More Fulfillment With Your Work
When you position yourself as a sought-after expert, you can choose which cases you want to take, and only commit to the ones you are interested in and will enjoy. That’s a fantastic place to be.
Take some time and think this through. Figure out what you want your practice to look like. Is it quantity and high volume? Or is it quality and a more focused practice?
Once you’ve identified your direction, your marketing can help you get there. If you’d like some more information on how your presence on the internet can help you get better quality clients, click here to download our free report.