Hold your friends close, your enemies closer. Or, in this case, your estate planning lawyer colleagues. The estate planning and Elder Bar tends to be friendlier than some others, so chances are good that you know some, if not all, of your competitors. A regularly scheduled and detailed analysis of the competition’s law practices compared to yours will give you insight. Is it time to ramp up your marketing or client service quality?
Take a look at these factors:
What is the “life cycle” stage of the firm: young and growing, established or winding down and looking for a buy-out? There are a fair number of estate planning boomers now considering their next move. A merger or buy-out might be a valuable addition to your own practice.
How does their marketing compare to yours? This is pretty easy to assess, but requires putting ego aside. If they are active in the community and show up in local media on a regular basis, and you do not, that makes a difference. If they spend on AdWords and show up on Google ads and you do not, this too makes a difference. Be brutally frank with yourself. What are they doing that you are not, and could you learn from their efforts?
Level of service. This is not easy to measure unless you send a “secret shopper” person to the office, and we don’t recommend that. You can look at online reviews, but for the most part those are going to be glowing. Work off of the assumption that they are providing outstanding client service, and make sure that your firm is doing the same.
Automated intake and use of CRMs. Again, impossible to assess from the outside, so the only way to compete on this is to make sure your estate planning law firm is using state-of-the-art systems. Our E2 CRM should be part of your marketing efforts, but if it’s not, submit a support ticket and let’s talk. The latest addition, CLIPSM will transform your practice by automating intake. The old methods of manual intake are costing you money, clients and profits.
Who else are you competing with? Or we should say, what else are you competing with? The increasing rise of online legal service providers has taken a bite out of estate planning attorneys who are not pro-actively marketing their practices. Companies like LegalZoom and NoLo are just two of the ever-expanding number of players in the estate planning space. It’s easy to say that you don’t want the kind of clients who think they can do their own wills online… but wouldn’t you rather they are your clients than those of an online company?