The successful LNC or attorney (referred to hereafter as business owner) is one who is able to establish and maintain productive, on-going relationships with clients. The success of a business depends on the regular, consistent flow of work over time. This work comes from new clients, particularly in the early stages of the business, as well as from existing clients. For any business person, more effort and time is required to initiate a new relationship than to continue and maintain those already in place. While it is important to continue to seek new sources of revenue, the value of the current and prior clients becomes clear when looked at in this context. It is imperative that the business owner keep established clients in addition to making new contacts to achieve long-term success.
Maintaining and nurturing professional relationships requires regular contact and association over time. The idea is to develop the relationship into a true partnership. It is important to realize that everything that happens with clients affects their perception of the business owner and the relationship. This can either help the relationship grow, or cause either the client or the owner to terminate it. Therefore, the idea of creating and maintaining a partnership is not one that can be disregarded after the client has signed the first contract.
While this requires patience and can be frustrating, there are many advantages to creating a true partnership with clients. Established clients are familiar with what services the business owner has to offer, and have seen how those services add value to their own practice. A client who is satisfied with the work is more likely to return to that firm with future projects. The satisfied client is also more likely to refer the owner to other potential clients, either directly or by suggesting other clients to contact. The truly satisfied client is also more likely to allow his or her name to be used when the business owner is meeting with potential clients, or in marketing materials such as brochures or web sites.
This is not to say that the quality and appearance of the finished product are not important, but that this work product should be viewed by the business owner relative to the ongoing partnership. The work product consists not only of the final written report, but all of the personal contact with the client in the course of the project. Just as there is no ready-to-follow formula for establishing and nurturing personal friendships, there is no single source of information on how to maintain and grow business partnerships.
Source: Extracted from Robert Morrison, BSN RN, “Client Relationships”, in Patricia Iyer (Editor), Business Principles for Legal Nurse Consultants.