1. Always say thank you
Firms that mail their clients cards typically do so only during the holiday season. While a “Season’s Greetings” mass mailing is a nice gesture, it’s not necessarily the most valuable client outreach effort. These cards tend to be ineffective because they are often generic and sent during a time of the year when clients receive an influx of mail, meaning that they probably won’t pay much mind to your correspondence.
So, when should you drop your clients a note?
- After signing with a new client, an immediate recognition of the importance of their business is a must. Make sure to mention the goals you have for their case, the deadlines you hope to reach, and how much you sincerely appreciate their business. This letter should be on paper, specific, and personalized.
- After the process starts, constant contact will reassure your client that they are at the top of your ‘to do’ list. Emails are perfectly suitable for this type of correspondence.
- When a client’s case has been settled or contracts finalized, always send along a note or small gift.
- On major holidays that are not affiliated with specific religions, sending a note wishing your client’s family a happy Fourth of July or Thanksgiving will make him or her feel significant. The more personalized these notes can be, the better.
2. Don’t be stingy
Whenever you take a client out to lunch or for drinks, pick up the bill. Regardless of how much business the client gives you and how extravagant the meeting’s expenses are, offering to cover the cost will send a positive message.
3. “How did you hear about us?”
Referrals from previous clients are one of the best ways to get and keep new ones. This is especially true for smaller firms. Each time one of your clients refers a friend, family member, or coworker to your office, sending a small gift or card can go a long way.
4. ‘Tis better to give…
Sending a little something to your clients that they can display (like a small vase or ornament) will keep you in their thoughts all year round. Some attorneys have a short-term relationship with their clients, like personal injury or criminal lawyers. In these cases, sending clients a present thanking them for their business or congratulating them on a success can lead to referrals down the road.
For other attorneys (like estate planning or corporate law) that are in contact with their clients for several years, a perennial gift around the holidays is the best way to thank them for their continued loyalty. On special occasions for longtime clients (landmark birthdays, retirement, etc.) your firm may want to consider sending a particularly nice gift.