Despite a year wrought with challenges, thousands of lawyers all over the country stepped up to protect and serve their clients when they needed them most. 2021 even proved to be the best year yet for many law firms, jumping over hurdles and maneuvering through obstacles with grit and determination.
We celebrate these efforts and wins today; but the job isn’t over. With 2022 right around the corner, it’s more imperative than ever to move forward with no signs of slowing down, because an even better year is just ahead of you.
If you need assistance navigating a fresh start, we’ve put together a guide to the five New Year’s resolutions to make for your law firm to have your most successful year yet:
- Hire a Winning Team
- Upgrade to the Best Programs
- Invest in Marketing
- Commit to Your Core Values
- Connect with Clients
1. Hire a Winning Team
The importance of hiring a winning team cannot be overstated. Without a great team (or any team at all), your law firm has the potential to become unorganized, unkempt, and chaotic.
- Hire the best people, not the best available people.
- Begin to think of recruiting candidates as marketing and sales: build a pipeline, create a funnel, and get quality team members to stay and contribute.
- Stick with the same hiring method for each person that applies.
- Are you selling when it comes to your benefits? Are you marketing your company’s culture? Are you selling the awards, recognition, and accolades you’ve received?
- Look at team members as investments to be maximized, not as costs to be minimized.
As a leader, it can be daunting to bring new people into your organization. One strategy you can use to cut drama out before it even begins is by self-reflecting.
As workplace drama researcher and best-selling author Cy Wakeman says, always ask yourself (and your team members), “What would great look like?” How can you lead your team to victory? Your job is to help team members eliminate emotional waste by facilitating good mental processes.
Once you’ve hired a winning team, how do you plan on keeping them? What can you do to ensure their loyalty to the mission and vision of your brand?
Michael Mogill, Founder & CEO of Crisp, knows that your team has to believe in your vision. Do they see a future for your law firm one, five, even 10 years from now? Are they willing to fully immerse themselves in your culture and bleed your brand? If so, consider that a win.
By hiring the best team, being a great leader, and aligning your organization with a clear vision, your law firm will be successful in the new year.
2. Upgrade to the Best Programs
Entering a new year with the latest and greatest platforms guarantees you to work productively, efficiently, and organized. How can you expect productivity to increase if your team still operates on a physical filing system and lacks a cloud-based phone system?
Look, we’re not saying to adopt every single work procedure to the 21st century. If you’ve got a few tried and true ways of doing things, then stick to them if you’re comfortable doing so.
But we are saying that using a document automation tool or case management system takes manual tedium (and all that room for error) off your plate. We’re also saying that using e-signature technology helps reduce back-and-forth human error, and not to mention makes your firm all around more eco-friendly. Integrating technologies such as these and even mobile apps like iAnnotate and Feedly will make life at your law firm easier for you, your team, and your clients.
There are hundreds of choices you can make, but start with the basics. For instance:
- Are you a Mac or PC law firm?
- Do you use Google products (Docs, Sheets, Slides) or stick to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel?
- When hosting virtual get-togethers, will you use Zoom or GoogleMeet?
- How are you handling remote employees versus those who operate from in the office?
- Is there a portal for your clients to easily communicate with you?
- Who, or what, is in charge of managing your documents?
Once you have your key systems down, consider hiring an operations manager to keep everything organized and in place. Whenever the time for bringing on new team members comes around, that person will be accountable for the hiring and onboarding process, freeing you up to do what you do best: lead.
While the thought of upgrading might make your wallet sweat, remember to always view it as an investment in your law firm — and ultimately yourself. Why would potential clients choose a law firm that hasn’t entered the digital age yet? How would that boost their confidence in you? Don’t even let them question that by staying one step ahead with effective systems that improves your team’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Your law firm doesn’t need to look like a Facebook office, but it should have programs that your employees can use and operate no matter their age.
3. Invest in Marketing
A new year means new opportunities, so when it comes to advertising your law firm, don’t be afraid to shake things up. While some forms of marketing still work quite well in certain markets, many practices have found most of them to be ineffective and outdated.
Alexander Shunnarah, one of the nation’s most prosperous and well-known law firm owners, swears by strategic marketing. In fact, he knows that any great marketing campaign often takes time to show results, as he explained to Michael on a highly popular episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast.
“You have to consistently do marketing for at least a decade. It’s a huge financial commitment, but once we made that commitment and constantly worked on it every day, it stuck and resonated. That’s where people go wrong. They stop and don’t consistently believe in the long process,” Shunnarah explains.
Behind every relentless marketing strategy, every law firm owner needs to have a strong message, a clear Unique Value Proposition (UVP), and attention-grabbing yet emotionally compelling content. If you see the value in these three components, consider a Legal Brand Video to really bring it all to life.
How can you attract the best clients?
Invest in paid social advertising.
Research shows that since 2015, organic reach for business pages on Facebook reached an all-time low. We’re about to enter into 2022, seven years following that study. If things were that bad then, how can we expect them to grow any further in the next seven years?
Running paid ads on the highest-traffic social media platforms increase your chances of:
- Reaching your target audience
- Boosting content visibility
- Strengthening your brand’s credibility
- Understanding your audience better
- Developing long-term relationships
- Elevating your “knownness”
Need we say more?
If you’re still new to the social media game in general, use 2022 as your chance to become the top contender in that field. Your clients are using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so many more. Determine where they’re spending most of their time — and where you should be spending yours. Once you have that figured out, your advertising dollars will never go to waste again.
4. Commit to Your Core Values
If you read that line having no clue what core values are, we need to start from the top.
Core values are something that every law firm should have, no matter how big or small. These values are what you stand for, and they reflect your moral and ethical choices, as well as how you and your team operate.
Here at Crisp, we abide by the following:
- Vested in Client Success
- Results Driven, Not Effort Driven
- Solution Focused
- Team First
- Better Than Yesterday
- Take Ownership
We practice these in everything we do, inside and outside of our organization — period.
Not only does your team benefit from aligning around core values — clients also prefer knowing your beliefs up front. Believe it or not, research shows they’re more likely to work with you if you stand for the same things as they do.
Core values aren’t just chosen out of a hat, however; they come from deep within. Take the time to ponder what matters to you. What are you passionate about, and what does your law firm do for which you aren’t willing to cut corners?
Take it a step further: once you have your core values narrowed down, make them visible in your office. Paint them on the wall in big, bold letters, so that your team never forgets the common goal everyone shares — and more importantly, live them. These values need to be hiring- and firing-worthy as their importance to your law firm cannot be overstated.
5. Connect With Clients
Where would your firm be without the clients who believe in you? Clients are the lifeblood of your firm, which means investing them in is the only way to continue to thrive. Even after the pressures of the courtroom end, the relationship continues to grow and prosper. It’s only right that you continue to cultivate that relationship.
Entrepreneur, best-selling author, and expert in turning a casual audience into SUPERFANS Pat Flynn says:
“When was the last time you reached out to a client you hadn’t spoken to in a while or from a case a year or two ago? Reach out! See how they’re doing with no agenda but that. When you keep those relationships open, you’re digging your well before you’re thirsty.”
People want to hear for themselves how well a person, product, or service worked for them, and this is your opportunity to have them review their time with you. In fact, 59 percent of consumers say they read reviews before buying into something. 72 percent of consumers prefer video to text when it comes to brands. Testimonial video, anyone?
The most watched and preferred method is video. In fact, by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. Imagine the traffic you could drive by showcasing your client testimonial videos on top of the referrals they’ll send your way.
Aside from simply asking your past clients for a favor, staying in touch with them is the last step in a potential client’s decision-making journey. Preceded by the Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, and Decision stages, the Loyalty stage is where you keep clients engaged and continue to nurture those relationships. A loyal client is someone you can approach to ask for referrals, testimonials, and even simple feedback. But that’s most successful after delivering an excellent experience and continuing to nurture that relationship in genuine, meaningful ways.
Don’t overlook this important step to success. The more you invest in past clients, the more future clients you’ll bring in 2022.
Go Forth and Prosper
Now that you have your resolutions set, you can apply them to your 2022 goals. Remember: most people drop their resolutions by February 1, so it’s up to you to stick with it in order to be successful.
How will you change your future?