Build Client Relationships Through Personal Contact

How to Build Good Client Relations

Most clients don't know how to judge the depth of your knowledge, skill, judgment or experience. After all, they didn't go to law school and you did, so they couldn't possibly appreciate what you know.

But they can measure what they see and feel. They draw conclusions based on their perceptions. And this is where the strength of your relationship with them plays a key role.

Establishing Good Interpersonal Relationships

Clients feel a sense of relationship with you. They know whether they like you. They know whether you like them. They know how often you contact them. They know how much time you spend with them. They know how much attention you give them. They know whether the letter you send actually comes from you.
Since clients can't evaluate your legal knowledge, you need to pay special attention to the things they can evaluate. Remember, it's the little things that make clients feel important. And the more time and energy you spend on the little things, the stronger your relationships with clients grow.

Stay Personally Connected

Whenever possible, stay in the picture. Don't have your secretary or paralegal call your clients if you can do it yourself. And don't slough it off by making the excuse that you don't have time. The time you invest in building and maintaining relationships is what keeps clients coming through your doors. Make sure letters go out over your signature rather than your secretary's. Whenever a client calls your office with a legal question, you should take the call, not your secretary or paralegal. And whenever possible, offer seminars so you can meet and greet clients and prospects in person.

The more clients see you and talk with you, the more they value their relationship with you. At the same time, the more they see and talk with you, the more you can educate them about their problems and the solutions you can provide. It's win-win.

To Delegate or Not to Delegate

This flies in the face of popular thinking that says you should delegate everything to secretaries and paralegals so you make better use of your time and increase your income. Remember, the relationship your clients want -- and the relationship you want clients to feel -- is the relationship they have with you. If they feel their relationship with you deteriorating, they become easy prey for other lawyers who are actively building relationships.

The Bottom Line

With an ever increasing workload and demanding schedules, its easy to feel like you can't always take time to provide this much personal attention. Or at least, you think you can't. But in marketing, relationships are critical. If relationships with clients are not a high priority for you, you can be sure you have already lost clients -- and will continue to lose clients -- to other lawyers.

Take time to build and nurture relationships. You'll be richly rewarded with more new clients, more referrals, more income and a more satisfying career.