You have a choice…either listen to this post in the player below, read it below that, or both!
It is a natural tendency to want to show your past work when pitching new clients. As you know, this is dicey in some jurisdictions. Some don’t allow you to use past results as a predictor of future success, so the way you position prior work should always adhere to the strictest ethical boundaries in all of the markets in which you practice.
Assuming it is okay in all of your jurisdictions to use past results in your communication, then my advice to you is to always contact your clients to ask if it is okay if they are used as a representative client. When I was in-house as a law firm marketing director, we had a service provider list us in their marketing materials, which wasn’t good as we weren’t happy with their services. We had to politely ask them to remove us from the list…awkward, right?
I always advise lawyers to find non-billable reasons to stay in touch with their contacts, and to let them know you value the work you do together, so let’s use this as a touch point between you and your client. Your marketer can do this, but I want you to do it.
Don’t leave anything to chance. Script the appropriate language to use in each of these conversations.
To Make It Easy, Here Is The Language You Can Use
- Thanks for the opportunity to work together,
- We’d love to list you as a representative client for the xyz work we did together.
- Your name would be used in proposals, letters to potential clients, on our website (whatever is correct for your situation).
- Whenever possible, we are using client logos as this looks much nicer than a list of names.
If your client agrees, then you should send a follow-up document, or tell your client that Leslie Jameson, your marketing director, will follow up with him/her in writing with a summary of your discussion. Note: If your marketing professional isn’t named Leslie Jameson, then I’d suggest changing that.
In this follow-up email, send:
- A thank you for allowing your firm to use their name and logo,
- A summary of the conversation,
- Those bullet points I listed above [of course this will be customized to your situation]
- Ask who you can contact at their company to get their logo
- One more brief thank you before signing off.
If you want to be extra cautious, you can send it with a confirmation of receipt, although that can get irritating to the recipient, or you can ask the client to reply with a nod so you can make sure she or he received it okay. Hopefully, the client will follow up with a contact name for you to get the logo, which will be digital acknowledgement of the agreement to be listed.
When you use it in more public spaces, vs. a confidential proposal, such as on your website, newsletters, or other places, then you should forward a link to that client to say “Just thought I’d show you an example of how we are listing you…thanks so much for letting us do that. It means a lot to me and our firm.”
Again, another touch point with the client that has nothing to do with billing, which is always nice!
Bottom line advice: Don’t list any clients without their approval.
If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via email….thanks!