“Good Business” means defining and actively seeking out an “ideal type” of client. At Law Father, we use a relatively simple internal framework to do so. It is the “Awesome, Fast, and Cheap” framework. When I speak with a law firm, I can pretty quickly categorize them into any combination of two of these three words (Awesome, Fast, & Cheap). I suspect our prospecting framework has some surprising parallels to your own caseload. Hopefully understanding our prospecting framework will help you decide which types of clients you will take at your law firm, and what clients may need to be let go.
Law Firm ‘A’ wants their web design and SEO project Awesome + Fast. Awesome + Fast = Not Cheap.
Law Firm ‘A’ is not cost conscious, but rather results driven. They are going to pay what is necessary to have the most success as quickly as possible. They are conversion oriented and share Law Father’s core values.
Law Firm ‘B’ wants their web design project Awesome + Cheap. Awesome + Cheap = Not Fast.
Law Firm ‘B’ understands the importance of online marketing for their law firm, but is also cost conscience. They are willing to hire us to do less monthly work than what we would do for Law Firm ‘A’, and over a longer initial period of time (i.e. 24 months instead of 6 months). Law Firm ‘B’ generally shares Law Father’s core values, but has set realistic goals for what is reasonable within their current online marketing budget.
Law Firm ‘C’ wants their web design project Fast + Cheap. Fast + Cheap = NOT Awesome.
At Law Father, we are only interested in doing work that is Awesome (who wants some half-ass crap in their portfolio?). Law Firm ‘C’ almost always wants to know what “this” is going to cost them before ever asking exactly what “this” entails. So Law Firm ‘C’ is usually invited to pursue a web marketing and law firm search engine optimization (SEO) program with another company.
The Great, The Good, and The Ugly Within Your Own Law Firm
I suspect there are some similarities between how we group potential clients at Law Father and how you could group potential clients within your own law firm. A few years ago we were hired to videotape a presentation by a practice management consultant. He was the first person to present (to me) the challenges of taking on too many “C” type clients. Something that the presentation helped me recognize was that C clients were the only type of client that could actually have a negative effect on the entirety of my business. A and B clients improve your business because they share your goals & values, trust that you will do what is in the best interest of their legal issues, will refer their friends and colleagues to you, and pay on time. C clients will take up the largest amount of your time. They need constant reassurance. They rarely seem satisfied. They are faster to lend criticism than praise. They seem to get more satisfaction out of getting “a deal” than from obtaining quality legal representation. They demand far more service for far fewer dollars. They are also harder to collect payments from, meaning you become their bank, fronting a lot of the costs to have these clients on your books. Overall, C clients become a huge distraction to all the work you have and hurt your ability to perform well for your A and B clients.
If you apply the 80/20 rule to your caseload, you can identify your C clients pretty fast. They generally tend to be the 20% of your clients that take up 80% of your time and only make up 20% of your revenue. I would encourage you to try and reduce the number of C clients you have as quickly as possible. Objections to this type of action usually include, “Yeah, but they cover the overhead.” I had the same objections myself. I know that cutting C clients loose can feel extremely uncomfortable at first. But remember a couple of things. 1.) You probably went into business for yourself so that you could choose the kinds of people you work with, people who shared your goals, vision, and values. This should ALWAYS include your clients. 2.) If you do outstanding work for your A & B clients, they WILL send you referrals. You risk reducing the quality of their work (and possible referrals) if 80% of your time is spent handling the distractions presented by your C clients.
How a Search Engine Optimization Program (SEO) for your Law Firm Can Help
SEO puts your law firm’s website in front of more potential clients. SEO does this by positioning your website further up the search returns, where more people will see. If your website is designed with conversions in mind, then the more people who see your website, the more people who will email or call your law firm. More calls means more options. The more options you have in the types of clients and cases available to you, the more opportunity you have to sign up A and B clients. Search engine optimization gives you the ability to take the cases you want, not just the cases you think you need to cover your overhead. SEO creates a high quantity of calls that can be reduced down to high quality clients. This will improve the overall profile of your caseload, and allow you to do a better job practicing the law by minimizing the distractions caused by C clients.
How Law Father Can Help
Law Father can evaluate your current website and make recommendations for a sustained and effective SEO program. We can increase your law firm’s position in the search returns and increase traffic. This increase in traffic will give you more opportunities to pick and choose the types of clients you want to bring on. Contact us today for a FREE law firm website evaluation. We can be reached toll-free at 800.325.7715 or through the contact form to the left of this page.