Have you heard the saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket? Well it’s so true for business professionals, especially lawyers.
Diversifying your client base is crucial for lawyers. You shouldn’t rely on one or two clients for all of your work, because change happens within organizations and to organizations every day.
People leave companies, needs change, mergers happen. Companies go out of business. You just never know.
It’s so important to also make sure that your building relationships with many different people at your client – not just your main contact – because again if one person leaves the organization, you don’t want to be left in the lurch.
I was talking to a lawyer recently who shared with me a story I hear too often where the longtime in-house legal team changed when the general counsel left his role. My client was left odd man out when the new in-house counsel arrived and brought in his own favorite law firm.
This lawyer unfortunately hadn’t developed close relationships throughout the organization beyond the legal team and his main contact, so there was no one to advocate for him to stay on. He was phased out, and as a result he had a difficult 2021. But it didn’t need to be like that if he had planned ahead.
Although word-of-mouth referrals will always remain one of the most powerful means of attracting new clients, it is out of your control as to ‘when’ these referrals might happen.
This is exactly why I always say it’s so important to be marketing yourself and your business even when you don’t think you need it because anything can happen.
This is also how LinkedIn can help you because it’s such a visible and free way of marketing your capabilities and expertise.
Speaking and writing can also help you as well as networking and sending regular emails that are helpful to your clients and referrals because that’s how you keep them warm and that’s how you say top of mind with them.
Here are a few ideas for how to broaden your client base:
- Look through your address book and get back in touch with clients with whom you haven’t done business in awhile. Then reach out to referral sources beyond your immediate network. Ask current clients to refer you to others who could use your services.
- If your website doesn’t already feature client testimonials, now is a good time to add those. Case studies highlighting how your company helped clients can attract new business. You can pull some of these from your LinkedIn profile recommendations.
- Establish a presence as a thought leader. It’s time to start writing articles and blog posts. Value-added content provides you with useful reasons to get in touch with clients and leads. You should set up an email newsletter to promote your content and post it on social media. Becoming an author is also a great way to appear in searches during a prospect’s research phase. Including a blog on your website, and updating it regularly, can also be one of the easiest ways to continuously produce fresh content, which then tells search engines that your website is active and frequently updated.
- Now is a really good time to enhance your online presence. Ensure that your website is updated and highlights your firm’s strengths. Make sure you’re taking advantage of tools such as SEO (especially local SEO) that can help you spread the word about your business. Google My Business is a fundamental essential to boost your local SEO, enabling your organization to be visible on search results pages relevant to your its location. You can set up your free Google My Business listing here. Doing so will help prospects easily locate and identify your firm when searching online.
- Look into strategies you might not have considered previously such as social media marketing. If it seems daunting for you, start small. You don’t need to be on all of the social channels – for most business professionals LinkedIn is the most important channel on which you should focus to reconnect with your clients and prospects.
- Consider ways of expanding on your existing expertise to offer new products or services. This may help you move into new industries and markets. For example ask yourself what ancillary services or products could you easily create in order to allow your company to serve more types of clients?
- Consider partnerships with other organizations when it makes sense. Find ways to partner with other businesses with which you may already have an informal relationship, or get creative and market your product and services in different forms.
- Get more involved with professional organizations, pro bono work, community service organizations, your alumni networks – all of these are great ways to meet people who could be potential clients and referral sources. Plus you’re doing good for the community.
- Focus on PR. This is a great time to focus on enhancing your visibility, which can raise your profile and keep you top of mind with current clients as well as people who aren’t familiar with you. You can do this through traditional PR (quote and article placements) as well as speaking engagements and owned media such as starting your own blog, podcast or video series which you can then promote on social media, email and other channels.
- Many businesses offer online courses or workshops based on their services or industry. You can package these as a subscription or recurring online class, or offer them as a one-time purchase for your customers.
- Never eat alone. While it’s more challenging to network in person in these socially distant times, it’s not impossible. And you should make it a priority. While social media, email marketing and webinars enable you to reach more people in a shorter span of time, one-on-one, in person communication still provides a stronger connection to people that fosters relationship building. Remember that people do business with those they like, know and trust, so that should be your ultimate goal.
If anything the last two years have shown us that anything can happen. So never stop marketing yourself or building relationships. And always be prepared – this is how you make sure those eggs don’t crack.
Here’s a video with more on this topic.