In this section Richard James will give you a peek into a conversation that occurred with a client on one of their regular monthly calls. At times we may purposely omit the client’s name to protect the innocent (and sometimes the guilty).
Your Lawyer Business is not Different from Ours
During a Bankruptcy Leadership Summit we had years ago, while speaking to one hundred and thirty Bankruptcy attorneys, I had those in attendance, as a group, raise their right hand and vow that: “My business is not different from yours”. Everyone got a kick out of it, more than likely because this crazy bald guy, who wasn’t a lawyer or a judge, just got them to take an oath. But here’s the question: Why did they do it?
Because, they, like you, are after the one thing that seems to evade many attorneys: true freedom. Or, as we call it here, autonomy. However, instead of teaching autonomy directly, this article aims to reaffirm the idea that our business is no different than yours. Some of you are specializing in business law, commercial law, corporate law, environmental law, family law, or any other law practice. Now while we are not legal professionals and we, fundamentally, sell a different service than you do, what our service provides is the same — freedom.
Providing Freedom to Our Clients
Essentially you provide your clients freedom from the legal pain from which they are suffering. Meanwhile, we provide our clients freedom from the “tail is wagging the dog” syndrome. And, while it’s true that the end product we are selling is the same, what’s even more important is that our Perfect Client Life Cycle is still the same.
- We generate leads, convert leads to appointments, get those appointments to show up, convince those shows to hire our firm, get paid, and receive referrals just like you do.
- We build our yearly, quarterly and monthly goals around those measurements, just like we teach you to do.
- We measure our firm against those goals, weekly, just like we teach you to do. We do our level best to be an excellent model of the things that we teach you to do.
There are no sweater-wearing professors who don’t know enough to get out of the rain here, we’re in the trenches, fighting for every inch, every day, just like you. But, unlike some of you, we’ve achieved autonomy. Not perfectly, not permanently (it is truly a daily battle) but for the most part, we are free to build the business we want to build, according to our own construction schedule. And this, more than anything else, is what we want for you.
I've always been told that we’re in the business of changing lives. I’ve firmly stated that our mission is to further God’s Kingdom, one successful entrepreneurial attorney at a time. If we can provide you the autonomy you so desire, the lives of your staff will improve. When your staff’s lives improve, everyone’s family life improves. When family life improves, the communities you church in, live in, work in, and play in improves.
So, looking into the Receive Referrals stage of the Perfect Client Life Cycle and the role of customer services in achieving that aim, this article will discuss the topic of offering a guarantee.
Our Money-Back Guarantee
As all of you should be aware, our services are sold with 100% money back guarantee for the first 30 days of our program. And our attrition rate is roughly 16%.
That is to say for every 100 clients who come into our program, only 16 of them realize and exit, requesting their refund, and we comply immediately. No red tape, no hassles, no hoops to jump through or deal with on the phone.
This is healthy, by the way. It tells us we are doing a good job marketing with just enough filters to let the full amount of leads through the funnel while still letting new clients know the truth about who we are and what we’re about in the first 30 days, so they can determine if they’ve arrived in the right place or not.
And, because of our strict adherence to this policy, we have no bad press that I’m aware of; no bad Google or Yelp reviews, and we’ve even received referrals from clients who said: “Your program wasn’t what I was looking for, but I thought for sure John could use it”.
Providing A Guarantee for Legal Services
But, I’ve had numerous conversations with attorneys through the years who simply couldn’t grasp the idea of guaranteeing their service quality. Why not? I ask every attorney this question: “Do you believe that if a consumer in your community required the services you offered, would they be best served by hiring your firm as opposed to any other firm in town?” The answer has ALWAYS been, Yes!
So, if we believe that we offer the best services, why would we not be willing to guarantee them? You don’t have to offer a guarantee for the life of the service. Our guarantee extends to the first 30 days. You’ll have some time frame that your clients will know if they’ve hired the right firm or not.
You Can’t Please Everyone & You Shouldn’t
Here’s the hidden secret about offering a guarantee: you’ll move those who are on the fence about hiring your firm from an “I’m not sure” to a “Yes”. This means your conversion rate of appointments you meet with, or your staff meets with, will go up, and that means more money in the bank with the same overhead.
Now, before you start to tell me your bar association won’t let you do that, I’m not proposing you do something that’s against the bar’s rules and regs. By all means, please check with your ethics council. I’m not even suggesting you start using the guarantee in your advertising, although if you’ve got approval and you’re going to do it, you might as well do it. All I’m suggesting that you do is start offering it when scheduling appointments to increase your set and show rate and during the consultation to increase your hire rate.
But, to the point of this article, I’m suggesting you offer a guarantee so that when clients take you up on it, and they will, you’ll refund them swiftly, with a smile on your face knowing you’ve just solidified another piece of goodwill in the marketplace. Always remember that it’s healthy for some not to like you. If you have no one to take you up on the guarantee, you’re not marketing enough.
Keeping Your Word and Getting More in the Long Run
We once had a client who went past the 30 day guarantee but wanted to attend an event to see if it was truly for them. Unfortunately, they missed the event. As a matter of fact, they were a no call, no show. Yep, we paid all the expenses for the client and guest, and they still didn’t show. Then, they asked for a refund.
Now, many attorneys I’ve worked with in the past would have said, “Tough, it’s on them now, let them sue me and we’ll fight it.” In the end, more times than not, they’d end up with a bad review on Google or Yelp and/or they’d have a bar complaint on their hands.
Sometimes they’d keep pushing back, just to hold on to a few thousand bucks. Really? Worse, the attorney would fret about it, and lose sleep, it would be the topic of every conversation until the battle was over. It simply wasn’t worth it.
My mentor told me: “Write the check as fast as you can, you’ll improve goodwill and save money on TUMS”. He was right. I’ve been offering a guarantee for many many years (I didn’t do it in the funeral business…there’s the issue of a body, a grave, who is going to dig them up, etc…) and I promise you I’ve made at least a 100 times multiple on the money refunded vs. the increased conversion and referrals and an infinite return on my TUMS expense account. In the case of this client, we refunded him, in full, immediately upon the request, and I slept like a baby.
Improving Law Firm Management
Remember that prospective new clients will likely key in their legal problems and browse through law firms in Google search results. Unlike other products or services, however, very rarely do these people have preferred law offices in mind.
Take for example those who need legal advice related to health law or medical malpractice law. More often than not, it is only after reading through articles on medical negligence or wrongful death would they stumble upon a personal injury law firm that they would be interested to work with. Same goes for workers compensation and employee benefits. They would likely read articles explaining aspects of labor law before chance upon a labor and employment law firm who they think can help with their legal documents.
In a way, individuals who are looking for a qualified attorney are quite straightforward. They have certain legal needs and they are looking for the best lawyers who can address these needs. Before going to court, they will likely not be familiar with the terms used in the courtroom, such as plaintiffs, defendants, prosecutors, or verdict. They would likely not know what the terms arbitrations, jurisdictions, insolvency, mediation, negotiations, or settlements mean.
What they do know is that they need legal professionals who can provide top tier services. This is where effective US law firm management plays a crucial role.
Get a Business Consultant for Your Law Firm Business!
Many lawyers do not realize how important it is to get a reliable legal systems expert who can take care of the business aspect of their legal practice. Even experienced lawyers, representing clients in different areas of law for several decades or more, could be guilty of this. I even know other attorneys and lawyers who haven't heard of the phrase US law firm management before.
In itself, being a lawyer is not easy. There are different types of lawyers involved in different types of cases. Your potential clients could be in need of legal services for disputes on land use and real estate law litigation, or assistance on legal matters between a creditor and a debtor in a restructuring bankruptcy, or are looking for lawyers who can provide legal representation and criminal defense during criminal law prosecution. Regardless of your specific practice area, you will need an experienced business consultant like Richard James so you're sure that you are on the right track.
- If you’re not using a guarantee, try it, I think you’ll like it.
- If you’re fighting with clients over every nickel, I say let go and let God.
- If the amount you are fighting for is so large that it will actually do damage to your business, then there’s something else going on in your business, let’s find it and fix it, together.
Contact us and schedule a 1-on-1 consultation and we'll discuss further how guarantees can work for you.
Building a better business, one guarantee at a time.