Is your firm getting a return on your relationships? Last month we had the opportunity to present on the topic at the ALA Annual conference in Toronto. The session highlighted how to build genuine and lasting business and personal relationships for your firm; as well as how to evolve the impact you have with your prospects and clients.
The most common challenges while building relationships is not being sure where to start, a lack of defined processes, and under utilizing technology to assist with creating and maintaining relationships.
An easy way to start building genuine relationships is to incorporate relationship management into practice area/group plans as well as introduce individual plans for attorneys. Make sure to provide easy to use templates, ideas on the type of information to send out to stay top of mind with contacts, and set goals to measure success. An easy touch point is to review a client or prospects business and suggest three ways you can help them grow.
Coming up with a defined process can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but providing a general framework will help create consistency. It is also key to review relationships and identify where they could be in jeopardy. If someone hasn’t reached out to connect in more than 6-9 months your losing touch with the contact and could be missing out on opportunities.
By using technology to assist with relationship management, data can be consolidated and shared throughout your firm. Make sure to evaluate current outreach such as mailings and events and how the firm is capturing that data. Make sure to utilize Contact Relationship Management Systems to capture the data for a full view of your activities with clients and prospects. If your firm doesn’t have such a system in place make sure to review tools with IT teams and explore different options that are available. It is also important to work with your vendor for an audit of your current system to learn about features and new technology you may not be utilizing.
Once data is consolidated it is easier to establish metrics around outreach programs, win/losses on prospecting, and the success of individual plans. Start today by using utilizing existing IT resources for reporting, auditing your technology, capturing processes in writing, implementing pilot groups, and celebrating success. Lastly, make sure to utilize your vendors as a resource. Ask them for latest trends, technologies, and processes to make your firm successful.