For most companies today, the goal is almost always to drive more sales in any way possible. Without sales, your company will end up 6 feet under so obviously it’s what keeps your company alive. But while sales growth is crucial to the development of a business, it’s important to understand that not all business is good business.
In every industry there are great clients and there are miserable ones. I learned that early on when I first started this company in 2005 and I didn’t have the opportunity to be selective and just had to get the business off the ground. In that time period I took what I could get and I learned the hard way about working with dishonest and downright miserable people, even though my gut would tell me in those situations “You don’t want this guy as a client, it will end bad”. And my instincts were right. However I wouldn’t trade those bad experiences for anything as they truly helped mold the company into what it is today.
Since those lessons learned in year one, I implemented a “no jerk” clause. What that means is we won’t work with you unless we like you. Life is way to short to work with clients who make life miserable. Bad clients are also bad for company morale because nobody wants to deal with them. Happy employees in the workplace are a must, so by being selective about our clients and doing our best to work with people who we enjoy working with, this helps contribute to the great work environment we have and it has played a big part of our success over the years. Employees who are excited to come to work every day are much more likely to produce great work product than those who dread coming to the office.
So what type of clients do we like to work with?
1. People who treat others with respect: Working in the legal industry we work with a lot of egos and that’s perfectly fine. I love working with confident people because often times those are the ones who are the best at what they do. Some of the best attorneys out there have big egos but they still know how to treat people respectfully and are great to be around and to work with. It’s important to us that we work with people who treat our employees with respect. If you are disrespectful to our employees, you can be sure you will not be working with us the following month no matter how much you spend with us. So if you follow the golden rule, we’re starting off the right way.
2. Clients who are honest: When we are working with clients, we need honest feedback. This helps us to better understand how we are doing. Sometimes I think clients are afraid to tell us the success they are having because they are afraid of us asking them to spend more. Since we work in an industry where no purchase is made on the site, we don’t know if what we are doing is working and translating into new cases without good feedback. Sure we can monitor Google analytics and phone call tracking data to monitor performance but at the end of the day what we do is about generating new cases for our clients and we don’t know how many cases are being generated without feedback. When we do get that feedback and we get stories like we did recently from a client who said they just received a $5 million dollar settlement from a case they signed up through his site, that motivates the hell out of our team.
3. People who are great at what they do: We prefer to work with lawyers who really are good at what they do for multiple reasons. First, if we are optimizing a site and helping it to get great visibility on Google, this means more consumers will be finding our clients site. When a consumer end up on the website of a really great law firm (and not just good marketers), they are most times going to be much better off having their case handled by that attorney. I know that makes me feel good about the “matchmaking” that we are essentially doing of helping introduce consumers to right lawyers. Second, it’s the law firms with a history of success over the years who have a much easier time converting prospects into actual clients because they can show past results and have already “been there” and they have a history of success. That’s important to the great majority of consumers looking to hire someone to handle their case. Last, great lawyers have a great ability to take that lead that is generated and turn them into a client. We can only do so much, which means sure we can generate the leads but at the end of the day it’s up to the law firm to convince that prospect to hire their firm to handle their case. These types of attorneys are the kind that end up as long term clients (some have been with us from our first year in business!) because what we are doing has continued to work for them.
4. Firms with a healthy marketing budget: Today, law firm marketing on the Internet is incredibly competitive. More so than it has ever been as firms advertise more aggressively and transition budgets from other areas into online marketing. If you are a firm going after anything consumer related, you can expect competition to be tough. Especially in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law, employment law and bankruptcy. If you are a law firm who wants to be highly visible on Google, there are no shortcuts and it’s not going to be cheap. It takes both time and money. Law firms that have tried cheap SEO solutions are now facing the wrath of the great Google Penguin and are paying the price for it with penalties they cannot recover from. If you are searching for a low cost search engine optimization solution, we are not a good fit because it’s not realistic to think you can compete on a tiny budget when firms are marketing so aggressively. Don’t waste your money with these types of providers. If it sounds too good to be true….it is. Smart marketers understand that it’s not just about how much money you are spending but what kind of return on your investment are you getting? Make no mistake about it, this is an investment and like any good investment, it takes time but if you go at it the right way it will pay off (and if you are like many of our clients, it pays well). At the end of the day, it’s marketing and there are no guarantees but you at least want to give yourself a chance to have success. So how much does it cost and what kind of marketing budget do you need? That depends on the level of competition you face on Google and every case is different. Some campaigns could be as low as $1,000 a month where others could cost $20,000+ if you are targeting heavily competitive terms on a national or multi-geographic level.
Having the right “clients” on the bus
Have you ever read the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins? If not, I highly recommend it. In that book, the author talks about having the “right people on the bus”, meaning having the right employees in your company. We most definitely apply that philosophy but we also want to have the right clients on board with us as well. We have the good fortune of being able to be selective with our client base because we have never been a revenue driven company where sales are the main goal (our sales people don’t even have quotas). It’s one of the great advantages of being a successful company that limits the number of clients we work with. Choosing to work with the right kinds of clients has been and will always remain a big part of our strategy.