Would you like to learn the best ways to get new clients when starting up your own legal practice and also how to scale it so you’re not just relying on professional referrals to get new work? In this episode you’ll hear from myself, Mike Bromley from Beyond Billables, Karen Finch from Legally Yours and we’ll deep dive into strategies and tactics you can use to grow your law firm. Mike & James thank you very much for joining me for this episode. So in this one, I started my own firm and so I need clients We’ve put a lot of thought and preparation into this and I know, so I thought about my client, but what now? How do I actually find that client and get them into my into my law firm? Well, you need a clear plan, especially in the next 6-12 months. Because there’s lots of ways to get clients on. It need to work together, so your efforts have to be consistently working together. So firstly, from your network and your professional network and leverage that and getting out and about and actually asking for the work. A lot of people aren’t used to saying I’m here to do it and start to build profile that you can do it. For a lot of lawyers that feels salesy but it’s not sales, It’s actually just building a profile. Sales is sitting down and shaking the hand with that end client. It’s more letting people know, letting your network know that you’re the go-to person for X now. so relationship building and is a great first step but having a clear plan on who your client is where they are what they want to engage with as well and how they want to be engaged with, not just how you think that they should be engaged with. You know what they consume, you know, the type of content they consume if you want to build a brand off the back of that. And all of these steps and then how they actually buy their legal service. That needs to map to your plan because if they buy it at one time during the year, you have to make sure that you’ve ramped up for that or if that got a different level of intent that you know daily because obviously everyone’s practices are so different consumer facing or B2B or predominantly referral base so most small firm owners live off referrals though when they start because lawyers are great at referring and so are other professionals so, that’s a great place right at the start to be cutting your teeth in getting something going but then thinking about what’s my plan for everything else whether that’s direct customer acquisition through Google or building a brand that then helps attract and convert better and James can speak to that direct acquisition a lot better than me. Yeah definitely so I think just playing on from what Mike was saying, professional referrals are extremely important for any business, not just law firms, and it is particularly important in the early days to get the wheels turning and to find your feet in the position in the market and where you want to be seen in the market and the types of clients in cases you want to be dealing with. The trouble with professional referral is that it’s very difficult to say, “Okay, in the next month, I want to receive X amount of referrals” you can’t control the incoming amount of referral work So typically with the firms that we work with, they’re looking to augment professional referral with a channel of direct acquisition of clients and cases that they can predict and control to give them forward facing predictability of how their firm can grow over a course of time, but typically what we ask; the first thing that we ask is what’s the type of work you want to be doing? And that’s about being very clear about the type of clients you want to be servicing and the type of work that you want to be doing for that client base in your area of law. We can then back up that understanding through publicly available data through platforms such as Facebook and Google. We typically lean to Google for a lead acquisition in the legal space because of people searching they have very high intent – they are looking for a lawyer in a particular format might be criminal defence they find you, they see you and they are compelled to engage with you, then you typically able to catch them right then and there immediately without doing any form of a nurturing to build that interest into a lead right. But it all starts getting super clear and we can get all the data in numbers and costing associated to understand and estimate what that cost per acquisition (CPA) would look like. How many cases do you want to be doing per month? How many clients you want to be gaining per month and then we simply process that through a bit of mathematics to understand: “Okay well if I invest X into paid acquisition and then I can receive Y ideally it’s more than double the cost of your investment so that your earning money and profit as return then we can look at then, okay, how can you take that over the course of 3, 6 and 12 months to really scale up the firm to take it to the next level through direct client acquisition. Well, it’s about new sources of work at the end of the day. I try to aim for 5 if possible and it might take years to get to that. But whatever those sources of work, whether it’s paid acquisition or referral or your personal network or your brand or event events. What Legally Yours do really well, and we do events on both sides, I think it’s important for particularly a lawyer to start at a new firm to come to our legal community events to get that sort of networking with their own community for those referrals. But we also do really well, which I don’t know if a lot of people know about, is we actually put on community facing events where we bring our lawyers in to be almost subject matter experts which is brilliant because then all those people in that room instantaneously identify so for instance, it’s a freelancing event that’s the lawyer I go to if I need advice on freelancing. Between all three of us, it’s a bit of the dream team really. Well, absolutely. My business started off the back of events in terms of clients coming through, service clients coming through so events, not just the relationships, that if you get the chance to speak and you got credibility because you know Legally Yours is giving you the opportunity instantaneously, you’ve got more credibility and everyone worries about, especially starting up: “Oh, but I’m not the expert”, well you are if you are the person talking. It actually doesn’t take that much and most of the time we question ourselves, but actually if you’ve got great legal skills and you’re going and you’re doing something in particular, you’re worthy of being listened to and so you can develop that from there, but having that plan and also thinking about how it maps out in time is really important, the time bit, because not everything needs to be done today. But you can get most steps done within your first year in business. So it’s a little bit of patience, hard work but also what is really clear is it’s about leveraging off multiple different channels, it’s not just going to be a list with one thing and it all happens. Well, that’s dangerous. I always worry about people who only have a referral base business. What happens if X person doesn’t refer you any more work? And a lot of lawyers are stuck in especially in larger firms like that. They’ve got two key client relationships, one walks out the door, they don’t have to practice anymore. That’s kind of like the cool thing about going out on your own too. You actually can source more avenues of work to actually give yourself more security. The analogy we use for our clients is you want to build your own Pantheon. You look at the Pantheon – it’s weathered thousands and thousands of years, hundreds of wars in front of it, yet it still stands strong today. Why? Because it’s held up by multiple, multiple, multiple pillars. And you want to do the same thing for your business. Paid acquisition is only one pillar. Professional referral is only another pillar. Events is another. What are those pillars that you build into your business that’s going to allow you to have multiple sources of client acquisition? That’s a difference between a business or a firm that is struggling to gain your work vs a one that’s got so much work, they don’t even know what to do with it. The difference is how many pillars of working you establish to then be able to be positioned as the market leader and the go-to person in your industry for what you do. Well thank you, that’s really helpful, and yeah bring it! Thank you very much. So there you have it, that was how to start, get your first few clients and scale your law firm beyond just relying on professional referrals for work. If you enjoyed this episode, you can check out. full video series on how to start, grow and scale your law firm produced in conjunction with Legally Yours and Beyond Billables and also with yours truly involved in the marketing side of things. You can grab that episode and the links to those episodes from the description in the video below or somewhere up on this screen. If you enjoyed this video, please like and comment and feel free to share it around, that’ll really help me get this content out there. If you need help growing your law firm or legal practice, feel free to get in touch with me at my agency, Web3. I’m James Banks, and I’ll see you in the next episode.