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Retain your clients

31 May 2007

A growing challenge faced by conveyancers is retaining (and expanding) their existing client bases in the face of increasingly fierce competition.

The core question is how to increase your level of instructions without compromising your ethical standards, and without falling foul of the Law Societies' prohibitions against the buying of work, sharing of fees, etc.

The first essential of course is to provide consistently excellent service levels to both buyers and sellers. A good start is to put in place systems to ensure that the parties receive regular, meaningful progress reports - communication is key to client satisfaction, and lack of it is a common complaint.

Good service should be enough to ensure client loyalty; unfortunately, it isn't. Memories are short, and if your clients aren't constantly reminded that you are their attorney, the chances are high of them being poached from you at the critical moment (that exciting moment when the agent tells your client that the sale is agreed, and that the agreement is ready for signature).

There is a solution. When you finally close that transfer file, make sure that you will still keep in regular touch with both sellers and buyers. The accent is on the "regular" - you must be constantly in the forefront of your client's mind if you want to be thought of first when the sale agreement is concluded.

Nothing beats a monthly client newsletter when it comes to raising your profile with your target market. That is why it has been the core marketing tool of many successful firms for decades - it works, it portrays your firm in the most positive light, it gives value to your clients. Arguably no other marketing tool is more professional, affordable and effective.

For some ideas on how to configure a client newsletter for maximum effectiveness, you may wish to refer to my 2006 article Marketing made easy .

Jack Crook (LLB Lond, LLB Rhod) is the author of LawDotNews, a monthly newsletter which is personalised and e-mailed to a firm's clients compliments of the firm. Readers are welcome to contact Jack, or visit his website at dotnews.co.za for further details.


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