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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of October 23, 2012

LawBiz(r) newsletter

Last week, I was in Lake Tahoe. The colors of the trees were was beautiful. This week is Washington, D.C. and I'm looking forward to having breakfast with you on Thursday morning, October 25th. Contact me and I'll provide the details.

Also, if you will be in San Francisco, CA (November 12-13, 2012), I'd welcome having breakfast with you. Please contact me directly.

Ed signature

Consider a "Free" Client Visit

Current clients already in hand offer great potential to provide new services without significant start-up costs. But this requires work and planning to define what kind of services the client might need. A natural starting point is to schedule a friendly, no stress visit to a client just to talk. Far too often lawyers are apprehensive about making such visits, but clients typically will not be hostile or confrontational; otherwise they would not still be clients. What they want is to feel comfortable with their lawyer. The best way to make them comfortable is to get them to talk about their business. A client visit should focus on listening to what clients have to say.

Such a visit takes planning if it is going to be successful. Here are steps to consider:

  • Schedule the visit at the time most convenient for the client and for any people the client wants to involve (which broadens your own circle of relationships).

  • When the day for the visit comes, remember that you are there to learn about the client, not to pitch for new business.

  • Never put clients on the defensive with a style of questioning you would use in a deposition or when structuring a contract. Try to avoid "why" questions which are likely to carry a judgmental tone, or rather ask them to explain further. What you want to convey are empathy and rapport.

  • Make all your questions open-ended. Phrase them to give clients the opportunity to provide as much information as possible.

  • Do not feel you need to respond to everything clients tell you. Show interest and demonstrate that you've heard but resist the urge to push new services or ways to help.

  • Make sure you've done your research. Clients want to tell you about themselves but they appreciate the respect you show them by taking the trouble to learn more about them.

The emphasis here is on learning more about the client. Clients want to share information about themselves. Clients whose lawyers ask about their plans and objectives begin to think of that lawyer as an advisor and friend, not just someone who sends out a monthly bill. That raises another important point. A client visit and the time needed for it should appear on the next bill – but with a "no charge" notation. And before doing this, send a handwritten note expressing thanks for the client's time, stating why this client relationship is valuable to you, and expressing the wish for lawyer and client to extend the relationship. That and the "no charge" notation combine to show that, although a lawyer's time is valuable, the client relationship is valued even more.

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In this issue:

Consider a "Free" Client Visit

$50 OFF! Running Your Practice

Video: The End of Your Lease

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YouTube LawBiz Forum
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What Clients Are Saying:

"I met with Ed for my first appointment in the Immersion Program, and at that first meeting, he saved me thousands of dollars by encouraging me to change a method of billing I have used for years. Ed validated and encouraged me to change something so simple which was costing the firm money. Ed is insightful, truthful and motivating. I look forward to our future meeting!"

Los Angeles, CA

"I would highly recommend the services of Ed Poll to anyone in need of assistance with understanding their business, improving its operations, or valuing it for sale or transition to some other operational format."

Austin, TX

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2011 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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