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3 (or 4) Ways to Make More Money in Your Law Firm

Business entrepreneur and guru Jay Abraham, has said that there are only three ways to make more money in any business: 1) Get more buyers, 2) Sell them more (or make more) in each transaction, or 3) Get them to buy from you more often. I believe there is a fourth one, but I will get to that after I discuss these three.

Get More Clients

Sure. That’s obvious. That’s what we all want as attorneys, more clients – more money. This is particularly true for lawyers representing individuals in practice areas such as personal injury, bankruptcy, traffic court, worker’s compensation, and the like. Once the client’s problem is solved, they don’t need you anymore. They can refer other people to you, but that’s just one way that you can get more clients.

Since this is what we all want, this is also what all of your competition is trying to do – increase revenue by increasing the flow of new clients and new cases. This puts you into a very competitive space and, in my opinion, makes this the toughest of the three methods to do successfully.

Sell Them More/Make More

Here you are leveraging more money from each client that comes in the door for a consultation. As to how to do that, let’s take the second method first – make more.

If you haven’t raised your prices in a while, you need to. Your overhead continues to go up, so making the same profit as before means getting more clients, while forgoing making more money. Both myself and other lawyers I’ve talked to have raised their fees and not looked back. Any clients that shied away were more than made up for by those that retained at the higher amount.

Then there’s sell them more, i.e. do an “upsell.” Some practice areas complement one another, and if someone comes in for one service, you might be able to sell them another as well.

I do this with my estate planning practice. No matter what the problem is that the client has – from a speeding ticket to an unaffordable student loan – they need an estate plan. Not everyone takes me up on it, but those that do end up paying me more than double what they would have otherwise.

Get Them to Use You More Often

This option depends on the type of law that you practice. Not everything lends itself to repeat business, especially in the consumer space. You can’t hope that the’ll get another traffic ticket or be in another car accident (and you shouldn’t).

You should start off by delivering the best quality experience for the client. Notice that I didn’t say best legal services; the clients expect that anyway. But make the whole process less painful, less complicated, less stressful, so that in the end, they send you a Christmas card every year!

Then continue that great experience after the case is over. This is where lead nurturing can come in, where you stay in touch with the client long after their case is concluded. If they regularly read what you send them, then they will be receptive to an offer of more legal services.

This can come in handy when you start a new practice area. Even if they can’t benefit from it, they may refer friends and family to you. Maybe there’s been a change in the law that means they need to revisit their estate plan. Maybe that complementary service they didn’t buy in and upsell they are ready to purchase now. Thus you can leverage your list to sell more services.

Bonus Method: Strategic Overhead

And now for that fourth way to make money in your practice: being strategic about your business expenses. Remember the old saying, a penny saved is a penny earned? Well anything you can do to lower your overhead means your profits grow from your existing gross receipts.

But it isn’t about just cutting spending and “sharpening your pencil;” it’s about thinking strategically about how you spend the money in your business to leverage more gross receipts and, more importantly, more profits.

Consider doing the following:

    • Look at the line items in your expenses. Is there a piece of technology or a better way to do it that would be more efficient and cost less?
    • What are you paying for that you needed once but now no longer use or use very little?
    • Would switching vendors on a product or service be less expensive without sacrificing quality?
    • Would having remote and virtual workers allow you to downsize your space and lower your rent (or if you own, lease out the unused space)?
    • Are you paying for advertising and marketing that is not producing at least a 5x return on investment (ROI) or paying for itself at all that you can cut?
    • Are there other advertising and marketing strategies that are exceeding a 5x ROI that you can do more of if you repurposed the money from those strategies bringing in less than 5X?

Every dollar that you spend has to work for you and make you money. If that dollar isn’t doing its job, then fire it. This will ensure that your investment in overhead is making you the most money possible and creating the highest profit margin.

Want More?

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Steven J. Richardson

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