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How do you know where your business comes from?

View profile for Rich Dibbins
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This is a question I ask many of my clients, “How do you know where your business comes from?”

The majority of most law firms are using a Practice Management System to help them manage their staff, caseload and files. Prior to this the client or prospect, if they have not instructed you, has been sitting on a spreadsheet or worse in someone’s email box. The other problem is this spreadsheet has multiple versions sitting at various people’s desks.

Let’s break the above down into 5 easy steps…

  1. The client is a referral from said referrer.
  2. Client is engaged with the fee earner or partner
  3. The work is completed
  4. Bill is sent out
  5. Client carries on their merry way

But it is missing step 6…understanding how to nurture, manage and maintain that client to ensure they become a loyal client for years to come.

Now the above steps are probably very typical of a Private Client transaction. Commercial firms will have a longer transaction cycle. What they both have in common is the referral aspect. Your law firm is probably built on referrals, but how do you track these referrals?  

Most firms have a one to one relationship with their referrers, imagine if that relationship went “south” or worse someone in your firm takes the referral relationship with them. How do you manage the impact this has on the firm? What do you do to minimise such a problem? What if you miss an opportunity to offer them other services?

The simple answer is investing in a CRM system to manage and maintain the relationship. Here are 6 key benefits to a CRM system:

  1. Track and report on where your business comes from e.g. referral relationships, website, social media, events or walk-ins
  2. Record and track individuals as well as businesses, not on performance but what types of opportunities your firm is generating
  3. Create campaigns for whatever event or marketing activity you are running. Understand what ones are effective and which ones to dismiss
  4. Allow for cross-selling between services e.g. someone conducts a conveyancing matter, have they thought about taking out a Will?
  5. Create a more joined up firm, firms that are joined up are able to be more effective and efficient in servicing their clients. This in turn helps to generate more fees
  6. It makes for a more viable business, when or if you choose to sell.

Now let’s say you have all the above and you have your new shiny CRM system in place, the key part is to continue to use it. Not allow it to gather digital dust. You will get resistance from key individuals in the firm. These individuals tend to be fee earners or partners. Reason for this, is they want to get on and do the fee earning and service their clients. Perfect, what law firm doesn’t want that? However, they are only required to use the CRM for the following 4 areas:

  1. If they met a client at an event – record it in the CRM
  2. Client has a need for other legal services – record it in the CRM
  3. Store non-case or matter emails – record it in the CRM
  4. Create an opportunity for new or returning business – record it in the CRM

These 4 key areas are crucial to understanding your pipeline, who your fee earners or partners are working with. But most of all, the information is not sitting in someone’s mailbox or worse. The fleshy grey matter between our ears.

You don’t want to burden your fee earners or partners with new technology, but you do want your law firm to be more efficient and effective. If it isn’t, I’m sure your competitors are and maybe already doing the above.

The legal industry is changing, prospects are spoilt for choice and clients may not know you offer other areas of law. It is up to you to start, and with a CRM you are on the right road.

If you want to know more about CRM systems or SuiteCRM our choice for law firms as there is no user monthly license. Let me know and we can chat over coffee.

Rich Dibbins, Head of Sales and Digital Strategy, Conscious Solutions, 0117 325 0521, rich@conscious.co.uk