As I mentioned in Marketing by the Numbers video, it’s 11 times more expensive to generate new clients than to attract business from existing clients. Existing or former clients already know you, so you don’t have to convince them to hire you. At the same time, because your clients are constantly inundated with marketing materials from other firms, unless you find a way to stay on their mind, they may not think to call you with a problem or refer you a case. Newsletters are one way to stay in touch, as are alerts on new legal developments and even birthday and holiday cards. Tollbridge agreements, i.e., which are essentially service contracts for an annual review, will keep clients up to date on new developments. Also, if structured properly, tollbridge agreements can even generate a steady stream of revenue for your practice.
When it comes to plum clients who account for a significant percentage of your revenue, you’ll need to up the ante by offering added benefits to reward extra expenditures and loyalty (consider it a frequent flyer program for law firms). Mark Hermann, biglaw partner-turned-inhouse counsel and Above the Law blogger raves about the free quarterly meetings provided by one outside firm handling a major matter for his company. The firm will fly its team to the corporate client’s headquarters at no charge to meet both with the in-house counsel directly involved in the litigation as well as other senior managers who may have suggestions on ways to minimize costs or strategies to pursue. The firm doesn’t charge for the quarterly meetings and covers its own travel costs.
Although Mark Hermann had never heard of this type of program before, other firms offer similar concepts. For example, Texas-based MWR Legal provides outside general counsel services to companies, which include complimentary General Counsel Meetings throughout the year as a forum to discuss new ideas and concerns, to brainstorm, or just to reconnect and touch base.
What freebies do you offer to keep your clients coming back with more business and referrals? Post your comments below.