We’re finally here, at my last two wishes for you for 2014! If you’ve missed any of the previous wishes, you can find them here:
- Plan & Be Open
- Be Social, Online & Off
- Taking Small Steps Can Mean Big Changes
- Focus on Content & Get Personal
I’ve left two of the most important ones for last:
- Focus on the Small Stuff: As we’ve often heard, it’s the little things that matter – this isn’t just a tired cliche, it’s the truth. And just as it’s true in our personal lives, it’s equally true in our professional ones. All week, we’ve been talking about how taking small, incremental steps will eventually lead to big changes. Similarly, taking care of the details with your clients, referral sources, influencers and amplifiers will also have big results.
What do I mean by that? Think about this – are you sending your clients a short handwritten note after the completion of a case, to thank them for their business? Do you thank someone on Twitter who has shared your most recent article or post? If someone refers you a piece of business, do you drop them a short handwritten note to offer your thanks?
All of these things may seem like time consuming and unimportant in today’s world of fast-paced media, but that’s what makes them even more important – how often do you receive a handwritten note? Once or twice a year, maybe? So when it happens, you’re much more likely to both get a warm and fuzzy feeling for that person, who took the time out of their schedule to thank you, and you’ll remember them in the future, and be more motivated to push business their way.
As I’ve been writing each of these wishes this week, I’ve been focused on trying to share the right balance of why these things work for business development reasons, while trying to express that doing these things is the right, nice thing to do. The motivation is important here – if you’re taking care of the little things because it’s the right thing to do, your clients and other connections will sense that it’s genuine. But if your motivation is strictly to increase your business, people will sense that too – it smells of that sales-y desperation that we all despise so much.
So that leads me to my next and final wish…
- Think Like a Client: The truth is that we all are clients already, in some facet of our lives – when we shop or hire someone to do work for us, we are their client. And we all know how we like to be treated – we want as much information as possible about what we’re purchasing, we want to feel that we can trust the person we’re purchasing the goods or services from, and we want to get good value for our money.
Our own clients are no different, whether they are in-house counsel, or the attorneys at our firms. They want to understand what they’re getting in plain language, and to feel that they’re getting a good deal for high quality work. They want to be regularly updated on our progress and to have some security that the outcome will benefit them in some way.
I know what you’re thinking – "I already do that!" But ask yourself, do you really? Every year, I attend at least one client panel where they’re talking about the inside/outside counsel relationship. And every year, the complaints from clients are exactly (and I mean almost word for word), the same. Sure, there are some firms and attorneys who get it right, but by and large, that’s not the case. So even if you’re sure that you’re the exception, maybe take a few minutes each week to ask yourself what you would be expecting that week if you were a client.
And marketers, guess what? You’re not immune here either. I hear a lot of the same complaints from my attorneys about the marketing departments at their firms. So challenge yourselves to think about what your lawyers really want from you, and how you can improve that. The more we all think about what our clients really want and expect from us, the better that relationship will be.
That wraps up my 10 wishes for you this 2014! Whether you have wishes or resolutions this year, feel free to add your own in the comments!