I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are a LOT of lawyers out there and consumers of legal services have many choices. It’s more important than ever to deliver significant value to those you serve and always be striving to exceed your clients’ expectations. Best-selling author and marketing consultant Roy H. Williams puts it simply: “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
So, what do your clients and prospects really want from you? Drum roll, please . . .
I have no idea. (Awkward silence)
Not the answer you were expecting? Don’t get me wrong, I can give you a long list of items and deliverables that most clients and prospects are looking for from lawyers.
What Most Clients and Prospects Want From a Lawyer
Most clients and prospects want:
- Excellent legal skills and knowledge
- Sound business judgment and an understanding of big picture goals
- Timely response to inquiries
- To be genuinely listened to and treated with respect
- A lawyer who is passionate, dedicated and professional
Those are generalities that are critical to keep in mind as you serve your clients and develop new business.
But I have no idea what your clients and prospects are looking for. For example, what do small tech start-ups want from a patent lawyer? How is that different from what an established manufacturing company wants from a patent lawyer? If you are a patent lawyer, that’s something it makes sense to know.
Do you know the details of what your typical clients and prospects want? I’m not talking about guessing and surmising, or knowing what they wanted 5 years ago and assuming they still want the same thing. I’m talking about really finding out what your clients are struggling with and hoping for and then taking action to ensure that (a) you deliver what they want, and (b) clients and prospects know that’s what you deliver (if they don’t know, it may not matter much what you deliver).
The Best Way to Find Out What Your Clients and Prospects Want
So what’s the best way to find out what your clients want and need?
I’ll start by giving you an example from my own business. My mission is to write articles and create programs that enable attorneys to get exactly what they want from their law practices and legal careers. Those who know me best will tell you that I am a professional and personal development junkie and totally gung-ho about what I do. BUT . . . if I offer what I think lawyers want and not what they truly want, none of my knowledge and enthusiasm matters because I’m not going to be much help to anyone.
So, I decided to ask lawyers for their input. I prepared a short 5-question survey that takes no more than 3 minutes to complete and sent it out to my online community and contacts. (In fact, the survey is still live, so please click here to fill it out. Thanks!)
I’ve already gotten extremely valuable feedback and have started thinking about how I can best deliver what people are asking for. The information helps me serve my clients and gets me what I want, too – a challenging and robust business doing work I love.
Of course, you don’t need to do a survey. You can ask your clients and community in any way that makes sense, including doing it on a one-to-one basis or at the start or close of a client matter. Follow some or all of these guidelines to maximize your success:
- Make it easy for the person you are asking. If it’s difficult to access or takes too long, they won’t participate.
- Prepare your questions in advance if you are asking by phone or in person.
- Consider asking open-ended questions to glean more information. For example, “what are your 2 biggest concerns when hiring a patent lawyer?”
- Try offering examples of responses so they have a better idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t limit them to those choices.
- If you think it would be helpful in getting them to open up, let them know their answers will be kept confidential – you’ll use the content of what they say but can keep their name out of it.
- Express gratitude for their participation.
- Deliver on any promises you make.
It would be so helpful if you would click here to take the 5-question survey, which should take you under 3 minutes to complete. It will help me serve you even better – I’ll be able to focus upcoming articles and programs on things you really want to know about. Thank you!