Advice from legal sector experts on how to win new business for your law firm

Osprey ApproachBy Legal Futures Associate Osprey Approach

Based on the knowledge and insights from over 20 experts across the legal sector, we’ve collated the best pieces of advice and insights for how you can win more new clients at your law firm.

During both series of our Build Better Habits webinars,  we interviewed practice management specialists, law firm leaders, and legal tech experts about the key habits law firms need to implement to run a successful modern practice.

From those interviews, we’ve collated four best practices to help improve your business development efforts from experts including former CEO of Brethertons, Shaun Jardine, practice manager at Thomas Flavell & Sons Solicitors, Lindsey Dewart, and professional communications consultant, Joanna Gaudoin from Inside Out Image, and more.

How to attract new clients to your law firm: Four best practices from experts across the legal sector

Align your actions with your brand values

With over 10,000 law firms in the UK, you need to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. David Ricketts, head of marketing from Quiss, highlights why first impressions count: “I heard that the Mercedes F1 principal, Toto Wolfe, say that when he went for his initial interview at Mercedes there was an out-of-date Daily Mail and an old coffee cup in reception, so he asked, ‘is this what Mercedes stands for?’ It’s the little things that create hooks and impressions in people’s minds.”

Are your first impressions and early client touchpoints aligned with the brand values you communicate? For example, are they convenient, easy, and add value to potential clients?

If your values are centred around the needs of your clients, then your actions need to align – not just your marketing message. Shaun Jardine, the owner of Big Yellow Penguin, highlights that: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. And how is that linked to the client experience? Well, it’s your clients who are talking about you.

“When we look at a lot of law firms’ websites they’ll say, ‘we put the client at the centre of everything’ but if we’re not ringing them back or clients are chasing for updates then we’re not living up to those brand values.”

It’s important to ensure everyone in the firm understands the brand values and what the practice stands for. Defining your value creates the foundation for how all habits and behaviours will be carried out. Sarah Amies, a PR consultant for law firms recommends: “Establish your brand values. Ask yourself, what do you stand for? …You need to directly appeal to your prospect’s needs and emotions, so it’s important to put the client at the heart of your decision making.”

When your team live and die by your brand values they are inevitably reflected in the decisions and actions of the firm.  David Rickets highlights how, “a brand is a multitude of elements coming together to form an identity. It’s not something you can create in a week. It needs to be an ethos for your team because it affects every touchpoint, like the way you answer your phone, how you talk to clients, what your website looks like, etc.”

Once your team’s habits truly become client-focused, your existing clients notice and they’ll become the only marketing tool you’ll need.

Better communicate the value your firm offers

Value is subjective to your client, as Shaun Jardine explains: “If I go down to the beach and buy a bottle of water off a vendor at the beach, it’s going to cost me a couple of quid. But, if I go to a high-end restaurant, I could pay nine pounds for a bottle of water.” In other words, when discussing your services with a new client, you have to be able to communicate the value you offer in a way that aligns with their needs.

In order to communicate your value you need to understand your client’s priorities. As part of the enquiry process it’s important to dig deeper than the initial outcome the client wants to discover what’s important to them. Knowing that information can then be used to your advantage to communicate the services and value you offer. Shaun shares a moment in his career where communicating his value in a detailed proposal won him a client, even though he was more expensive that his competition: “Back in the day I won a client, at double the cost, because he said, ‘you really thought about my case’. I hadn’t really, but I had put all my plans and considerations, even images of the people who will work with them, in a scoping document. Competitors had only sent a letter with a single paragraph with the cost.”

Not only is it important to better communicate your value to your clients, but your team need to be confident in the value they provide. Often, when a quote is based on time alone then this can be reduced significantly if we think a client won’t pay that much. In order to charge for the value you provide, your team have to be confident in what they offer.” Sophie Holdsworth, operations director for Farnworth Rose Solicitors believes fee earners need to know their worth when quoting for business: “Charge clients based on your knowledge, length of experience, and the service you provide. It’s important fee earners know the value they provide clients.”

Better communicating your value starts by really knowing your clients. It’s then you can communicate the value you’ll provide with your services in a way that resonates personally with them, which often means you can charge more for your services.

Keep promises made to clients by utilising legal technology

Legal technology helps legal professionals access data faster, produce files more accurately, and complete admin processes more quickly. CJ Anderson, a Director at Iron Carrot, explains that “technology reduces the mental calories required to complete daily tasks. Legal tech does the heavy lifting for you, makes it easier to perform your job, and gives you time back to do what you want”. When things are processed, reviewed, and shared more efficiently, not only is it internally beneficial, but it impacts the service your clients receive too.

Consumers today want convenient, easy, and accessible legal help. If your brand values revolve around your clients, then you need to make sure you can deliver on your promises and provide a service that meets their needs. Lindsey Dewart, practice manager at Thomas Flavell & Sons, elaborates on this: “For us it’s about being responsive and adaptable to our clients’ needs and ensuring we can always offer a digital approach… We need to be accessible. If you don’t have the systems you’re going to fall behind in the market.” Legal technology helps you to streamline your internal operations to deliver a better service but also creates opportunities for innovation in the legal sector to better accommodate clients.

Client-facing legal tech tools help firms update, communicate, and collaborate with clients digitally. Send text messages or automatically update a portal so your clients work with you in a way that suits them. This can also be a value-add and used to charge more for your services.

Even for those clients that want a one-to-one personal service, technology supports your internal operational processes, which means legal professionals have more time to spend face-to-face with clients and ensure you offer a valuable, tailored service. Gabriel Santos from InfoTrack emphasises how tech actually helps lawyers be more human: “Legal technology allows [lawyers] to complete [admin] tasks and save on billable time, which allows them to communicate with clients with a human element. Technology is not a substitute for a human interaction. It’s okay for firms to do 80% of the communication through automated milestones, emails, and reminders, however the human element is what’s going to make the difference.”

Continually improve your operations using client feedback

If you want to live by your client-focused brand values and deliver a service that’ll win you more five-star reviews and recommendations, then you have to be open to client feedback. Client feedback is the compass that’ll highlight whether you’re on the right track and have the right tools in place. Sarah Charlton, CEO of Eaton-Evans & Morris explains: “[you need to] evaluate how successful you are. It’s easy to have great marketing that says, ‘our clients are at the heart of our firm’, but how many firms actually do. Unless you ask clients and get feedback, it’s incredibly challenging to know.”

Five-star reviews are great, but don’t shy away from negative feedback. Constructive feedback from clients helps you continuously improve and monitor your processes, habits, and actions to ensure you’re living by your values. Scott Simmons, founder of Legal Balance explains: “If clients say something bad about your firm it’s an opportunity to learn. If clients aren’t saying the bad things to you then they’ll be telling 10 other people anyway. You can’t improve what you don’t know.”

Continuously improving your operations and service ensures you’re always striving for the best outcome to deliver value to your clients. The better value your clients perceive to experience, the more likely they are to leave better reviews and recommend you, helping you win more business.

Attract new clients and win more business for your law firm

More than ever before, it’s crucial that your law firm stands out from the rest of the competition. The number one competitive advantage you have is to deliver a client-focused service. And the best marketing tool to implement for your firm – to help you win more new business – is to focus all your energy on delivering a valuable and quality service for your clients. They will become your brand advocates and your most effective marketing strategy.

Delivering a competitive service starts with defining your brand values and aligning your actions and habits of the team. Legal tech can help you deliver on the promises you’ve made to clients and provide a tailored service that they value and appreciate. And finally, a mindset to seek feedback and continually improve on services will ensure you’re always ahead of the competition.

For more valuable insights and industry knowledge on running a successful modern law firm, hear from over 20 experts across the legal sector in our Build Better Habits webinar series. Watch the full Build Better Habits series for free now.


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