“I don’t know what’s wrong”, she said. “I feel like I’ve tried everything, but nothing is working.”
I was on the phone, listening to a solicitor who’d just told me that she’d been trying to grow her practice for the last 6 months. I could tell from her voice that she was really frustrated – and probably a bit scared – by the fact that that nothing had happened.
Well, not quite nothing – her working hours had got longer and longer as she tried to do all the things she thought she ‘should’ be doing to grow her practice, whilst still having to deliver client work to agreed deadlines.
When I diagnosed the underlying problems (during a Profitable Practice Focus Session) I discovered the biggest thing holding her back was relying on ‘trial and error’ as a way to work out what strategies and tactics would work to grow her practice.
I’m amazed that so many professionals who are experts in their chosen field (which they’ve spent a long time studying and practising) assume they’ll automatically be good at other skills like getting client enquiries or converting those enquiries into paying clients (which they haven’t studied apart from maybe reading a few articles on the internet).
They wouldn’t expect someone else to be able to google their chosen field of expertise and be any good at doing their own legal work. Yet these same solicitors assume they can do just that when it comes to skills like attracting new enquiries and converting them into paying clients.
In short, they are (like many of their own clients) suffering from DIY delusion – thinking they can work it out themselves, with trial and error, and kidding themselves about the impact that has on their practice.
Yes, they can probably get some enquiries and convert some of them into paying clients, but at what cost?
Your time is precious and every 6 minutes you spend not working on a client matter is a billable unit lost forever – you never get that time back. Or, maybe even worse, you find that the pressures of billable targets or profit goals mean you have to steal from your personal time in the evenings or at weekends in order to get those billable hours ‘back’.
So if you’re like the solicitor I spoke to last week, then the prescription I gave her will help you too: reduce the amount of time you spend on getting enquiries and converting them to paying clients so you can maximise the time you spend on client work.
How do you do that?
Well you need to improve your skills so you can get better results, faster.
Yes it will require some time investment now, but it will save you a lot of time in the long run.
And yes it will probably require some financial investment to get some training or some expert help. But when you get good at attracting enquiries and converting them into paying clients in as short a time as possible, your investment will be repaid dozens of times over in increased time spent on billable client work (and what’s the value of more personal time during the evenings and at weekends?).
In a nutshell, when you get this right, you’ll have more clients and more profits without working more hours.
Doesn’t that deserve more than a ‘trial and error’ approach?