Tag Archives: sales

CONVEYANCERS – help clients to recommend you, let new prospects feel what it’s like to be a client

Conveyancing-WorkshopTwo key findings from recent research by tmgroup that can help conveyancers make the most of new opportunities to grow new business across your practice.

Conveyancers – particularly in the current property market – are in a great position to generate business, not just for their own department, but for the whole of the private client team; and commercial too, as company executives buy properties too of course.

  1. When it comes to why clients pick conveyancers, the biggest factor by a significant margin was communication, not price.
  2. Once a client recommends you to their friends, relatives and work colleagues, those who then use your services as a result see that this is the way things should be done – so they in turn are more likely to recommend you too.

All the more reason then to make it easier for your current clients to recommend you; so how do you do that?

Today’s Conveyancer reports today on tmgroup research which shows that people who were recommended a solicitor through a friend are more likely to make a recommendation themselves; whereas those who took an estate agent’s recommendation were much less likely to make a recommendation … and those who found a conveyancer online.

And … when it comes to why clients pick conveyancers, the biggest factor by a significant margin was communication, not price.

So isn’t that something your prospects should experience when someone calls for a “quote”?   Your people don’t need talk about it; just do it.  

AIDA works but involves some initiative by your people to:

  • Get their Attention
  • Demonstrate your Interest in them.
  • Arouse their Desire to come to you, rather than someone else
  • Agree next Actions, to keep the momentum going

Unfortunately, all our own mystery shopping research shows that little has changed in the last 15 years; still virtually no conveyancers make any effective effort to demonstrate their interest in communicating at this stage!

Conveyancers still keep focusing almost entirely on price – because the easiest question to ask and to answer is “How much ..?”

It could easily be so much better!

Conveyancers may also be interested in the following posts:

Problem #6: How do you share information on clients and prospects so your people can work together in fulfilling their legal needs?

Client Needs AnalysisTo deliver an improved client experience, legal practitioners must first understand the client’s needs and value to the business. To do this, everyone in your practice needs to be able to share one reliable source of information about each client and prospect.

Unfortunately, this is where many firms fall down. Traditional ways of gathering client information have resulted in most firms having multiple – and incomplete or incorrect – records; for example with just very basic name and address details in the accounts system, with more in case management and Excel spreadsheets that are maintained by individuals for their own purposes; not shared.

To overcome this obstacle, legal firms need to move towards a single view of clients; one of the biggest objectives of implementing a CRM solution.

A single view is crucial for any individual at your practice who is engaging with a client. It offers insight into their particular needs, with all the relevant information on hand. This knowledge enables individual practitioners to provide an improved experience for their client, which builds rapport, trust and, most importantly, customer loyalty.

This all sounds appealing of course, but can you deliver that single view of the client?

Technology provides tools to make this possible … and it is not difficult if you commit to making it happen, although you do need to set out the rationale, communicate it and be persistent to help people use the system.   CRM solutions are delivered on platforms that support data integration, so sharing client data from one system to another is straightforward.

However, you need to start with some reliable data and build from there; so start by improving your data.  

Here are three tips that can help improve the quality of your data.

1. Delete duplicate data.

Duplicate records could lead members of your team to chase the same client, and to discrepancies over fee earners. An effective CRM system can enhance one-to-one relationships between clients and an individual; it can also identify duplicate records in real time and avoid sending multiple sales reps after the same client.

2. Standardise and cleanse your data.

It may take some time, but it is definitely worth the investment ensuring that data is accurate, consistent, current and complete. This can ensure full integration of data, offering relevant insight into client relationships, needs and behaviours.

3. Prospect more efficiently and effectively.

Once data is standardised and correct, it can become easy to identify new opportunities. Clients can be assigned to one main point of contact within the firm. This relationship can be thoroughly explored which means that services can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the client. Behind the scenes, high quality and correct data can allow for errors to be identified corrected before they occur.

Ultimately, users need to remember that any CRM system is only as good as the data it uses. Incorrect or poor data can result in a CRM system that does not support your firm. And the result can have a domino effect. Poor data can damage the confidence of users within the firm, which, in turn, can lead to potential confusion for your clients.

If you understand the challenges you face in achieving a single view of your clients then you can plan for them, and mitigate and manage risk. By providing a solution that gives your employees confidence, you will ultimately be giving your clients a better service and experience.

To discuss and test your plans to introduce or re-engage your people on initiatives to develop more business by introducing a more effective approach to managing client relationships; confidentially, free and with no obligation – CONTACT Nathan Smith or Allan Carton.  You may well qualify for this free in-house CRM Discovery Day workshop to help bring more of your people on board.

Build a complete picture of clients – social media in CRM

ms_dynamics_crmFor me, the most exciting enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics CRM covered in this preview of really extensive new features (Spring 2014) is the ability to combine feedback from email marketing campaigns with social media information on those people and organisations you are mailing.  That has real value and you don’t have to be a sophisticated user to make this work for you.  The beauty is in the simplicity and ease of use in bringing this information together to give you great intelligence for your next meeting with them – or campaign to target them.

In reality, most law firms we talk to about CRM are looking for the simple stuff first – clean the data, make lists, email campaigns, tracking performance – so this integration of social media into your ammunition to help generate new business is very relevant and valuable from day 1.

Ok – there’s a lot more than you will use built in here that you probably won’t use for a while, but showing what is possible is part of the really difficult task of helping lawyers visualise why they should bother in the first place.  If you can show how you can use the info they put in to improve their lot, you are on your way.  So check this out – but talk to us about the journey that you can take your people on.  Easy, familiar IT tools make that easier.

DOWNLOAD the FREE 29 page Spring 2014 New Feature Preview of new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.

Our Top 10 Tips for Off-Line Marketing

This article first appeared in the March 2013 issue of Modern Law Magazine (Issue 5 with an ABS Supplement) where there is plenty more excellent content well worth reading.

Question: Marketing has moved on from the days of all-day lunches with wine but what is it your clients feel is being lost in the world of direct / online marketing and what do you recommend companies ensure in their bid to get more work?

Answer: If you check the tracking analytics for your online newsletter, you will find that fewer than 35% of the people you sent it to have actually opened it.  Even less will have “clicked through” to read any of the articles.  This is great information and tells you how best to work with them, but what about the other 65%?

Online communications and social media are essential, but not enough.  Many simple things that worked in 2007 – before lawyers retrenched due to the recession – are still good, although what works best for you will depend on your clients, geography and the characteristics of your people. 

There is a long list of potentially good marketing activities, but these are my Top 10:

  1. Know and play to strengths, but dig deep to find them.
  2. Aim to create opportunities to meet face-to-face early on with people aged over 40 to establish a strong, trusting relationship.  Subsequent exchanges online will make more impact (at any age) if you’ve agreed that’s how to keep in touch.  
  3. Always check at that stage what is the best way to stay in touch and make sure that’s recorded and shared with your colleagues. 
  4. When you talk to clients, business partners / introducers and prospects, explore their world – their business and their family – not just today’s legal problem.  
  5. Discover their passion, share that with colleagues and make sure the client knows you know about it.  Lunch, breakfast, coffee, dinner with other business advisors and their clients all work – but so does a walk in the country.  
  6. Make it relaxed and try to talk their language.
  7. Adopt JFDI – too often, lawyers spend a lot of time considering all the options and don’t quite get around to doing it.  So if there is an idea to be explored or actioned “Just Do It!” 
  8. Be willing to pick up the phone to renew contact, to arrange to meet or to follow up on meeting at an event or even online through Linkedin.
  9. Invest in some hard copy newsletters and bulletins to get them on desks as well as e-communications, but actively manage the database to focus on the right people to keep production and distribution costs down.  
  10. Ask clients how they want you to stay in touch when you make first contact.  New client inception forms should always include the question.  Then do what they ask; not what is easiest or cheapest.

Allan Carton

Good to know the big boys have to work hard at it too

Clifford Chance want to do more to get closer to clients, creating opportunities to cross-refer business – just like everyone else and they clearly don’t find it easy either.  High on their agenda … with strategic cost reduction too.

There are a lot of blindingly obvious initiaitives that lawyers don’t do in practice and some of the biggest culprits are the more mature partners and the largest firms who can ignore and resist the need to change. So no harm in going back to basics and re-stating the obvious now and then. In fact, there should be a lot more of it.

Courtesy of the Lawyer

Did you know that by promoting a referral culture among your partners, a prized banking client can become an equally valuable corporate client?

Well, that was the message at Clifford Chance’s most recent partner conference in Barcelona. Global managing partner David Childs waxed lyrical about the need to stop partners working in silos and to start leveraging the firm’s banking clients to provide work to other areas (see The Lawyer story), while senior partner Malcolm Sweeting spoke about making the most of the firm’s offices across the globe.

This isn’t the first time this year that Clifford Chance has emphasised utilising resources to maximum effect. The firm appears to be on a bit of a cost-saving drive of late.  In May, The Lawyer reported that the firm was shifting its London corporate team to the same floor of its Canary Wharf building and trialling open-plan for its lawyers.

Allan Carton

Legal Aid reforms would impact on conveyancers

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation paper called “Proposals for Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales”.  The consultation proposes two potential changes to use money held on client account to fund Legal Aid.  This is a serious threat because event though conveyancers are not getting the interest that they did it is still helping many stay afloat and the proposals seem unfair in principle.

Read more at Today’s Conveyancer on how this might impact on you here.

The consulation paper can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/legal-aid-reform-151110.htm and remains open until the 14th February 2011.

Beware smiling assassins!

Smiling AssassinCustomer advocates are the holy grail of customer management.  These much sought after and highly valuable customers attract new business through word of mouth recommendations without the need for a reward, defend reputations publicly and act as a positive force within a customer base.

However, as with all stories of good and evil, there are also dark forces at work. Highly toxic customers, who endanger your business and damage your reputation through negative word of mouth recommendations, I call these customers smiling assassins!

But how do we identify smiling assassins and more importantly, what can we do about them?  To help you spot assassins, consider an experience where you didn’t receive the level of service you expected or paid for, e.g. at a restaurant or a hotel. Did you complain? Or did you simply smile and say “yes fine” when asked “was everything ok?“, rather than “no it was bloody awful and I’m not coming back because of …!“ If so, you are a smiling assassin, especially if you create negative word of mouth.

The majority of consumers are smiling assassins. They don’t set out to be, often they want to voice an opinion or provide feedback but there is no method for doing this. Others don’t want to engage in a dialogue that could lead to embarrassment or confrontation so they simply smile, say “yes fine” and walk away, forever.  Businesses also make it difficult for customers and employees to facilitate feedback.  They see complaints as a nuisance or a distraction; if we ignore them they’ll go away one contact centre manager told me recently. This “burying of heads in the sand” approach and the ignorance of real customer insight is extremely dangerous and results in many missed opportunity to improve services for all customers.

The answer to finding and converting assassins is to take the emotion out of the feedback process and to make it simple. Encouraging customers to be critical is free consultancy, but don’t ask them to complete lengthy questionnaires or send them to a website.  Be sincere, simple and make the communication work for them.  Remember that you are using their time and their thoughts. Capture their issues, concerns and comments, then act upon them. If you can recover the assassin they are highly likely to become an advocate; then rather than tell others how bad you are, they will tell them how you listen, respond and actually care. If you don’t look after your customers, somebody else will, and evil will prevail!

Check out some recent research here from the MoJ that demonstrates just how prevalent this problem is amongst clients of legal firms during the next few days.

Allan Carton