Around the same time that I hired my first employee, I had been handling bits and pieces of negotiations for a new client. If they had a certain kind of deal, they’d think of me and pick up the phone.
A scrap here, a scrap there. It was time to think bigger.
I have this new employee who is (quite reasonably) expecting a paycheck, so I better come up with ways to bring in more revenue.
How do you turn a lazily meandering brook into a river of new work?
Start with the customer. The client. I thought about what other recurring needs this client might have. Not in terms of the little box I was in – the negotiation of particular deals. Recurring needs from their side. Business needs.
Then, I went to the client and proposed that I become the first point of contact for any strategic contracts that fall into a certain bucket. A certain category of business problem. Again, not a legal issue, a business problem. Instead of selling time, I sold a solution. No, that solution wasn’t “hours.” It wasn’t a “legal practice area.” It was solving a real business pain point for the client.
Because this was a new arrangement, I kept it easy. We’d proceed on a trial basis.
I thought to myself, “If this little experiment works, I can go to at least a half dozen clients and propose the same thing. This could be my ticket to getting off of the billable hour, and I would have a huge source of recurring revenue every month.”
It took a grand total of one month. The client cut a $100,000 purchase order with my firm. In the blink of an eye, we became an integral part of their most important strategic relationships.
Featured Download: Click here to get access to my free Law Practice Growth Guide that shows you how to grow your law firm predictably and create freedom for yourself.
The key to getting this $100,000 purchase order was the light bulb that went on in my head. Clients need to view their lawyer as a provider of solutions, not a Band-Aid.
You can’t achieve this by passively waiting for the client to come calling.
You need to be proactive and tell the client when your services and expertise are relevant, instead of relying on the client to make that decision. And you can’t wait around for the big fish to jump in your boat. You need to go fishing with more enticing bait.
And what happens if you see a little success? Don’t be satisfied with landing one record-breaker. Develop a plan that will feed your practice month after month.
Most lawyers don’t do this because they’re always on the lookout for their next client, instead of coming up with better solutions for existing ones. Or, they’re so married to their perspective that “I sell legal solutions by the hour” (instead of “I help clients get their business done”). They don’t ask enough questions. They’re afraid to challenge how their clients operate and how their own legal practice operates. They’re afraid to pitch new solutions.
Be proactive instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Tell your clients when they need you instead of hoping they figure it out. Keep asking yourself - and your clients- good questions.
The more questions you ask, the more creative answers you’ll receive. These answers can help you develop solutions that produce better results for your clients and drive revenue for your practice.