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Top 5 Ways to Piss Off Clients

Looking for ways to piss off your clients?

No? Oh, well. Here they are anyway:

#5: Use Lawyer-Speak

Whereinafter, you, the email reader of the first part, inform the recipient of said communication, hereinafter "recievee", henceforth that insofar as the incident of the day in question is involved, ...

Kill me now.

This is one of the things I just ... can't ... stand.

Lawyers, trying to sound like lawyers. Now, I'm going to assume you actually want to get more business (if you don't then please stop reading now, ‘cause you don't want to hear what I've got to say). If you want to get more business, ask yourself this. Is your client more likely to send all his referrals to:

a)    Someone who says a bunch of confusing stuff in really obtuse ways, or

b) The person who seems like they understand 'em.

So start thinking about what your communication sounds like to NON lawyers, and go from there...

#4: Talk about YOU, YOU, YOU

Ever been on a date and you get stuck with the Talker? The one that’s all about “me, me, me”?

Same for clients.

When you pitch a client the first time, keep track of how much the conversation is about you, and how much about THEM. The more it's about the client, the higher the likelihood they're going to hire you. Talk about them, their problems, what they want to acheive, and you'll get the business. Talk about you, and how great you are, and ... not so much.

#3: Write a legal memo

Whether or not you violate #5, keep the legal memos to a minimum. Nobody likes them (other than the lawyer who charges a lot for them).

Net it out for the client. What do they need to care about, and why. What's going to happen, and what choices do they have. The "legal memo" complete with citations is a dinosaur.

#2: Don't Show Up on Time

This happened to me last year. I'd hired a lawyer, and he couldn't seem to be on time for calls. I'd call him, and it would go to voicemail. Then we'd reschedule, and he'd be late. I'd visit his office, and would sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes.

This isn't just common courtesy. Being late telegraphs that you can't manage your time. And if you can't manage something as simple as an appointment, what kind of trust does it instill in the client?

Yes, there are emergencies. But that better be the exception, not the norm. If you're chronically late, trust me, you're losing referral business because of it.

#1: You Don't have a How to Work With Me guide

I bet this one confused ya, didn't it?

Confuses most everyone. It's also a super ninja client satisfaction tool. You see, most clients aren't sophisticated consumers of legal services. Even if they've hired lawyers before, they have only the tinyest idea what we do, and how.

And that causes heartburn. They're worried about what'll happen. They don't understand why, or when. They're scared about what the bill will be.

The more you reduce their anxiety, the better your client relationships will be (and the more referrals you'll get down the road). So do this: write a "how to work with me" guide. Doesn't have to be fancy. Just tell a client what they can expect, how to best communicate with you, etc.

Just the act of having that kind of guide, even if half the clients never read it, is a major win.

So … Have you pissed off a client today?

Raj Jha

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