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How to Stand Out When Big Law Firms Move Into Town

Andrew Adams

Regardless of what city you practice in, you’ve probably experienced the unpleasant feeling of a larger firm announcing its new office right down the street from you. It can be unsettling and your knee-jerk reactions can either help you or hurt you down the road.

When a new firm moves into town, it is possible they have more resources available for marketing, office build-outs, and client development. Not to mention, they have the announcement of a new office which can spearhead new clients by itself.

Can you compete with a bigger firm? How can you keep your clients and gain new ones? Will it affect your practice or employee retention? There are a lot of unknowns when competition arrives but these three tips can help you mitigate the stress and keep your practice thriving.

Let Them Out Spend You

One of your first reactions when competing with a new firm might be to spend additional money on advertising to match what they’re doing. You want to make sure your presence is still known, but you don’t need to advertise everywhere they are. You’ll run out of money and the return on investment probably won’t be great either.

If your clients notice a new firm in town, they’ll likely also notice if you amp up your spending on marketing to compete, which can make them question your stability - and also your billing rates.

In situations like this, it’s better to remain a steady and reliable law firm while focusing on your clients and your staff. Your reputation and your bottom line will survive the competition better this way.

Focus on Your Clients

Instead of spending time worrying about other firms coming into town, focus on your clients. The best way to keep your clients is to ensure that they’re happy with the services they are receiving.

Here are a few ways you can ensure that your clients are happy:

  • Send current and former clients a quick note to check in
  • Create and distribute a client satisfaction survey
  • Plan a client appreciation event or send a swag item as a thank you.

If your client base is mostly from word-of-mouth referrals, you want to ensure that current clients are satisfied so they will continue to tell people about you. The newer firms in town may not have an existing client base there to help with word-of-mouth marketing. No matter how many resources they seem to have, your loyal clients can serve as your biggest advocates. Earning their trust and keeping it will ensure that they cannot take this from you.

Reassure Your Employees

We understand that losing clients is a big concern, but it's also just as vital that you retain your employees so you can serve those clients. Depending on the market, your employees may be getting offers from the new firms as they try and staff their offices. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding to move firms and it isn’t always possible to ensure a 100% retention rate. However, you should always be listening to your employees and finding ways to make the workplace better so that they will want to stay for the long haul.

Your employees don’t always need a grandiose show to make them feel appreciated. If you normally do employee appreciation activities, keep it up. People leave jobs for a variety of reasons but if they are happy and content at your firm, they may not even entertain an offer from another firm.

Check out this e-book for more information on How to Retain Top Talent for Your Business.

New competition can make things difficult but it is also an opportunity for your firm to stay focused on providing exceptional service. Concentrate on the things that matter to your firm and the new firms in town will have a much harder time taking anything away from your bottom line.