Don’t Be a Stranger

My wife and I have lived in the same house for 15 years. During that time, we have hired someone to paint on four separate occasions and each time we have been very happy with both the price and with the results. On an interpersonal level, we liked each painter and as best as I can recall, we really didn’t have any complaints.

Each painter we worked with was responsive, each did good work and each one was willing to redo sections if we had any concerns. While we did not always go with the lowest bid, we always felt that we got good value. In fact at the end of each job, my wife and I agreed that we would happily hire the same painter again; but of the four times we needed painting done, on only one occasion did we hire the last contractor.

So how did this happen? Why did we hire a different contractor each time?

The simple answer is that over time, we lost track of each painter. In two instances, the painter we wanted to reach was not even listed in the phone book and since we had not worked with (or heard from) either of these contractors in a long time, it was easier to ask our neighbors for referrals.

There are lessons here for any service provider (particularly providers like lawyers who deliver a service that clients may only need once every few years). The lesson is that it is important to remain visible to past and prospective clients and referral sources.

Painters can do this by sending out an annual reminder post card or by calling past clients to ask if they need anything done. Lawyers can do this by sending out client alerts and newsletters and by using social media like blogging, LindedIn and Twitter to report on developments in their field. Client seminars, involvement in non-profit or bar related activities and a host of other traditional marketing techniques provide numerous ways to accomplish this as well. (Click here for links to articles that will give you more ideas.) In short, there is no magic formula that works for everyone.

Doing a good job and delivering good value are prerequisites for getting more work. But they are not enough to insure that satisfied clients will call you the next time they have a need (or that referral sources will continue to refer work your way). Marketing to maintain your visibility is the missing link that would have served any of our painters well. It is the also the key for you to keep your law practice growing.

To put it another way, I will quote my late grandfather: “Don’t be a stranger”. If you disappear after doing a great job for a client, then the next time that client needs legal help, they may end up turning to a lawyer who has been more visible.

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