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The Number 1 Challenge for Growing a Collaborative Practice

Last month, I conducted a survey on how to grow your Collaborative Practice. 100 people responded to the survey.

The number one response to the question, “What is your greatest challenge for growing your Collaborative Practice?” was “Getting Clients.”

The top four challenges included:

  1. Getting clients
  2. Finding the time
  3. Educating the public
  4. Educating lawyers

Challenges about "getting clients" included:

  • Finding clients who want to engage in collaborative solutions to divorce
  • Finding clients with a mind set for collaborative divorce
  • Getting clients to choose collaborative divorce
  • Convincing clients the up- front costs are worth it.
  • Attracting clients who are willing and able to move forward with the collaborative process

How do you attract clients who want Collaborative Law to your practice?

It is far easier to build a collaborative practice by attracting clients who already have a world view consistent with the principles of Collaborative Practice than trying to “convince” someone who may not have an interest in a collaborative approach.

The first step to have a clear understanding of who your target client is and then develop a plan to consistently communicate a relevant and compelling message to your target audience.

The following are four strategies for attracting clients to your collaborative practice

1. Define your target client. Clearly define the characteristics or your ideal client. What are their hopes, dreams, problems and fears? Think about your actual collaborative law clients. What were their goals? What was an important outcome for them in their divorce? Write down the characteristics of your ideal client.

2. Demonstrate your knowledge on how to solve your target clients problem, Leverage social media, including blogs, LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter to write about the problems and solutions for your target market. For example, if your target client is someone who has been in a long term marriage and wants to protect important relationships, write about the challenges of divorcing after 25 years of marriage and how to address those challenges.

3. Focus your web site content on the solutions for your target client. Does your web site immediately communicate who you help and how you solve problems for the clients you want to attract to your practice? Or does it convey an all things to all people message? The more focused your message, the more successful you will be in attracting desirable clients to your practice. If you want to attract clients who value a less destructive approach to divorce, communicate this in your web site content and headlines.

4. Educate your professional network on who is your "ideal client." Let your referral sources know the characteristics of your best clients. Inform your referral sources on the client problems you excel at in solving. For example, if you are a skilled negotiator and know how to help clients avoid destruction in divorce, tell your referral sources. Convey stories about the clients you helped and the outcome of those cases.

Once you clarify your target client and create a plan to effectively communicate the solutions you offer, you will begin to attract more clients who value what you do best.

What strategies are working for you to attract clients who value Collaborative Law?

Five Strategies for Building Your Collaborative Law Practice

1. Be remarkable at what you do: Excelling at handling client matters requires continuous personal and professional growth. What skills do you want to develop that will increase your value to the clients you want to serve? What additional knowledge and information do you want to acquire that will position you as the best in your field?

2. Stay connected: The foundation for building your practice is based on relationships. The number one way to build relationships and trust is to spend time making a contribution to your community and showing an interest in others.

Who are the most important people, organizations and groups in your professional life? What is your plan to develop higher quality relationships with them? Be selective about the organizations you chose to be involved in. It is better to spend more time on fewer organizations that are in alignment with your interests and target market verses less time on a larger number of generic organizations.

3. Invest in your professional network: People will do business with those they know, like and trust. Professional outreach requires building a successful network of referral sources and staying “top of mind” with key professionals in your network. It also requires making connections with targeted professionals who are not in your network. The outreach you do today will affect the quality of your referrals tomorrow.

Are there professional relationships that might need a little more investment from you? Can you make a contribution to their business or practice? Are there additional influencers you what to include in your professional network?

4. Create exceptional Client Value: Satisfied clients are your best source of referrals. Higher client satisfaction requires a focus on providing superior service, consistently communicating with clients and delivering exceptional value to clients. How can you create an exceptional client experience- one that inspires your clients to tell others about you?

5. Make it easy for your ideal clients to find you: Once you identify your target client, your next step is to be easily found by clients looking for your services. How can you increase your visibility among clients who need what you do best? How can you demonstrate your understanding of “your ideal clients” problem and your capability to solve their problem?

Give consideration to each of the above strategies. What is the one strategy that will make the biggest difference in your practice? In other words, what one thing can you begin doing today that will help you to change your practice and attract more collaborative law cases?

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