Growing a law firm isn’t easy, and no two firms take the same exact path to achieve their growth. Juggling client responsibilities, preparing cases, the constant bookkeeping — it all seems to get in the way and leaves you with no time to focus on expanding your practice. Simply taking a step back and re-orienting yourself to your law firm’s position is a healthy way to gauge where you should be focusing your time and effort if you truly want to grow year-over-year.
While many lawyers will jump to the conclusion that getting more leads instantly means getting more clients, there are plenty of places along the client intake path that can have a greater effect, it just takes a little perspective.
PracticePanther’s Senior Marketing Manager, Nina Lee was joined by Bert Diener, attorney and legal marketing expert, to discuss the importance of gaining perspective in the growth of your practice.
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An Overview of the Growth Journey (3:30)
What every law firm wants is a consistent and predictable flow of new clients, but generating those clients isn’t always easy. At the end of the day a lawyer’s goal should be to make it as simple as possible to move a lead to a paying client so that you can focus on the law, not on searching for new business.
There are three stages of law firm growth. The perspective stage comes first which acts as a wayfinding point to narrow in on the aspects of your firm which can lead to the biggest growth.
The system stage is where you put together the pieces, see what’s happening, and perhaps even uncover some blind spots you didn’t know you had.
The third level is the leverage stage. This is where you take what you’ve learned through trial and error and begin to scale. Unfortunately, this is also where most law firms try to jump ahead to — they want to have everything at once, but you can’t get there without the first two stages. We must begin our growth journey by first gaining a new perspective!
What is the perspective stage? (6:09)
When it comes down to our ability to sign clients, most lawyers simply track how many leads are coming in each month. They believe that the more leads they get, the more clients they will ultimately end up with. While leads are important, there are actually five steps we really need to look at to gain a clearer perspective on how your practice is fairing.
- New Leads
- Qualified Opportunities
- Set Apointments
- Show for Appointments
- Hire at Appointments
This is your pipeline, and by changing your perspective to look at the whole picture, rather than just step one, we can uncover a plethora of insights you wouldn’t see otherwise. When we dive into each of these numbers, we need to think about each step as a leverage point.
The Parable of the Pipeline (14:10)
Pablo and Bruno worked in a village and had to carry buckets of water from the river to the village. Pablo was getting tired, so he wanted to build a pipeline to the village to reduce his workload and still make a living. Bruno was happy with his workload and didn’t want to take the time to build a pipeline. Once Pablo was complete with his pipeline, he no longer had to physically work, and Bruno was out of business!
At your law firm, you need to build a pipeline. Once you build that pipeline, you must measure it before it breaks.
Here’s a scenario: If you have 100 new leads, but only 75 of them are qualified, and 38 of them set appointments, and 25 show up, you end up signing a total of 12. Instead of adding more leads to fill that pipeline, you can look at some of the stages that have bigger gaps. By increasing the number of set appointments by just 6%, it has a trickle down effect and ends up giving you a 33% increase in new customers which means a 33% increase in revenue!
The most valuable thing that you own is the ability to attract and convert leads into clients. Your ability to do that and scale allows you to write a check and make all the other problems go away.
Relying on a GPS (17:39)
If your highest priority is just to increase your number of leads, then you are wasting your time. You can’t get to your final destination without knowing exactly where you are. Think about it, before GPS we had to rely on someone giving us a list of directions. More often than not, you remembered the first few turns and then got lost and decided to just go your own way. Today, GPS knows exactly where we are at all times and can tell us the very next move we need to make. What’s the GPS for my business you ask?
Back to the pipeline! Remember, if we increase our set appointment rate by just 6%, it has a waterfall effect and will lead to more hire rates, and growth of your bottom line.
Now if you raise your appointment set rate by 9%, that results in a 76% increase on your income. Your pipeline is your GPS, and lets you know exactly where you are on your growth journey. If you don’t understand why things are moving, you won’t be able to grow.
How PracticePanther can help your growth (25:30)
With increased growth, your firm needs the tools to be able to manage the workload. But your staff has their set processes right? Well, PracticePanther was made with that in mind — to be super intuitive and just easy to get started on right away.
We talked a lot about setting up systems to fill this pipeline. But what happens when that 10% increase in leads means that instead of 12 clients signed on at the end of this month — you have 20 new clients on your workload?
You want to be able to manage these clients both internally and externally — how are you keeping track of them, who has ownership over them, and how are we delivering a good impression to these new clients? We dive into the tools that can help you manage the growth you’re about to take on.