Can You Find the Money in Your Law Firm?

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Still wondering how to get clients as a lawyer?

There are clients and money hiding right in your office.  In fact, the money is just sitting there, hanging out, waiting for you to find it.

It’s funny.  No, that’s not the right word.  It’s surprising.  No.  Not quite right.  Worrisome.  That’s it.

It is worrisome that you have not looked for this money.

I mean, come on.

You work so hard going to all those networking events, writing all that copy for your website and giving all those speeches, just to get a handful of leads with the hope that one of them will become a client.  Yet right there, under your nose, was a pile of cash just waiting to be given a nice comfortable home in your wallet.

This money resides in just about every nook and cranny of your office.

The hiding place for all this cash is in your vendor relationships.

And I’m not talking about saving a few bucks on office supplies or copy paper.

I’m talking about your vendor account representative referring you business.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You probably use at least fifteen different vendors for everything from bottled water to toilet paper.  Each of these companies sends someone to your office to get you to spend more money or upgrade your service.

What have those folks done for you?

Even if they provide a great product and outstanding service, that is a minimum requirement.

The companies who earn your business should really EARN your business.

Here’s how this works:

Send out a letter to all your current vendors stating that you are evaluating your relationship with them.  In the letter invite the account representative into your office for a chat.

During that conversation explain that the price you pay for their service is not an issue.  In fact, tell them you will even agree to an annual escalation of 5% moving forward.  Then present the vendor with the new terms.

Each year they need to refer some clients to you.  Explain to them that you pay the bills (theirs included) by working with clients.  Let them know that referrals are key criteria in the decision-making process for your vendor relationships.

At that point, invite them to an “orientation” where they and your other vendors will receive a one hour course on the competitive advantages of your firm. Then inform them that they have 90 days to send you their first qualified referral.

If you take a few minutes, right now, I’m sure you will find several vendor relationships where you can be more proactive in extracting referrals.

Think about your relationships in the following areas:

  • Banking
  • Lawyer
  • Bookkeeper or CPA
  • Credit card processing
  • Payroll processing
  • Office supplies
  • Telephone equipment
  • Coffee
  • Soft drinks
  • Copier leasing
  • Messenger service
  • Court reporting, transcription and translation service
  • shredding (and waste disposal)
  • Computers
  • Graphic design
  • Travel agencies
  • Health and liability insurance
  • And the dozens of other people who want and receive money from you

It’s time to hold those folks accountable for contributing, financially to your relationship.

Now some of your vendors may bristle at this.  They may even say that referring business to you would be a conflict because they have other people on their client roster who do what you do.  Or they may say that your account is just too small and they have to refer their business to someone who gives them more business.

If that happens, fire them.

No matter how small you are or how great the competition, the people who you give money to should always support your business.

If they don’t, get rid of them.

Vendor relationships should be great two-way partnerships.  You should pay a fair fee for the services provided to you and your vendors should send you business.

Your vendors should help you when you are wondering how to get clients as a lawyer.

There is one caveat to this.  Don’t beat up your vendors on price if they send you referrals.

Think about it.  If you pay $3,600 per year to rent your phone system but your telephone vendor sends you $50,000 in referral business, don’t give him a hard time about a $150 annual increase in his fee.

This philosophy should be shared with anyone who receives money from you.  It may be uncomfortable at first but it is a lot easier than generating leads and making sales calls.