Do your clients like you?

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The prevailing wisdom is that, “all things being equal, clients prefer to hire lawyers they know, like and trust.”

How do they know they’ll like a particular lawyer before they hire them?

They read reviews and testimonials that attest to the lawyer being “nice” or having a great personality or going out of their way to help them.

They get feedback from someone who referred said lawyer.

Or they size up the lawyer when they meet them networking, via a free consultation or by hearing them speak.

Sometimes, a client doesn’t do their homework, or is fooled by what others say, and they hire someone they don’t like. Or they get along with the lawyer in the beginning and something happens to change things.

They may stick with the lawyer out of convenience or because the lawyer is very good at their job, but. . . all things being equal, I’d rather have my clients like me, wouldn’t you?

There are things we can do to increase our likability. Becoming a better listener, for example, is a skill that can be learned and is an important factor in likability.

But sometimes, we tick all the boxes and some people still don’t like us.

It happens.

I’ve said things to clients I regretted saying, and apologized, but felt my words had tainted the relationship.

Sometimes, it’s just bad chemistry. Maybe you’re aggressive and they want someone who is gentle and understanding.

What can we do to improve our likability?

We can ask for feedback and conduct surveys, but clients may not be honest with us, or it might be too late.

We can ask our employees if they think the client is happy with us and if there’s anything we should work on, but they might be wrong.

We can self-assess. Think about our conversations with our clients, give ourselves a grade and make notes about ways to improve, but that might not be enough.

We can work ourselves. Read books and take courses on personal development and practice our interpersonal skills.

We should do all of these things, and more. We must be ever-vigilant and continually seek ways to keep our clients happy and make ourselves likable.

If we don’t, we’ll have to rely on our ability to consistently deliver good results and I don’t think any of us should take that for granted.

There are many ways to improve likability (and trustworthiness) detailed in The Attorney Marketing Formula.

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