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Lawyers, Your Back Stage is Showing. Cover it Up.

You see your practice as this monolithic thing through which you deliver legal services to your clients.

Your sole focus is doing that one thing: the legal work.

But as you talk to clients, you expose them to all kinds of stuff that, quite frankly, they don’t give a damn about. You’re showing them the making of the sausage.

Even if they’re not seeing your sausage-making process during your discussions, they’ll see the bloody trail once they get the bill.

Related: The Lawyer Marketing Roadmap: How to Build Your Marketing Plan

That’s because you send them an hourly bill that says you or your paralegal spent three hours on "misc filing."

If you want to shift your practice from a non-business to a real business, you have to make a distinction between the front stage and the back stage. You need a mental construct about what your clients should see and what they should not see.

Think of Your Law Practice as a Theatre Production.

When you go to a show, the production is designed to highlight the actors.

You don’t want to see the folks controlling the lighting or moving scenery. That’s why they’re all dressed in black.

If something goes wrong backstage – the wrong audio is played or a large prop is dropped – it disrupts your experience. You’re seeing how the sausage is made - and as the audience, you don’t want that.

Your law practice’s clients don’t want to see your back stage. They want their problem solved. They want to believe you’re an expert.

They don’t care about the filing or any of the other inner workings of your law firm. Exposing the inner working makes your practice look less like a professional business.

Before buying a Lexus, you don’t tour the factory and watch how they assemble cars. You want to see the showroom. The glossy catalog. The driving experience.

You want the show, not the parts.

What if the Client Wants to See Your Back Stage?

If a client cares about the inner workings of your law practice, it should make you wonder if they’re the right client.

Are they looking to micro-manage you? Do they not trust you?

The right client is more interested in the result. They trust you, their advisor, to deliver that result. They trust your judgment as an attorney and CEO of your business to get the job done right.

Related: Lawyers, Got Client Problems? It May Be Your Marketing

The more you expose the back stage, the more you invite people to doubt your expertise.

Have you made this mental distinction about what you show your client?

Have you clearly distinguished what the client should see from what they should not see?

Also look at it from the client’s perspective. What are they seeing that they don’t need or want to see?

In our program, we have something called the Unique Practice Process. We walk attorneys through the process of packaging and presenting their services in a way that doesn’t expose the nitty gritty, but showcases the value of what they deliver at every stage.

So even if they issue a bill with detail, that doesn't take center stage. The client experience is preserved.

Problem solved, once and for all.

So the challenge to you: is your backstage showing? Or have you created a unique practice process that focuses on an experience that delights?

Raj Jha