A Bankruptcy Attorney’s Nightmare or Vision

07 Jan A Bankruptcy Attorney’s Nightmare or Vision

Imagine a Monday at the office and the phone doesn’t ring, and the nightmare begins. As bankruptcy attorney, your know that the number of consumer bankruptcy filings are directly tied to what is going on in the economy. We all know that consumer bankruptcy filings have slowed down a little in the last few months. So, the question is what are you going to do about it? Take the nightmare and turn it into a vision.

I’m sure there are a number of bankruptcy attorneys who are going to whine about everything under the sun. It’s the government’s fault. It’s Obama’s fault. It’s only a matter of time. Well, the truth of the matter is that it is only a matter of time until they wake up and smell the coffee. You need to connect with your clients and past referral sources and then create new referral sources. There are new guys on the block every day looking to eat your lunch. Trust me, I’m one of them. I am looking for every opportunity to gain an advantage over my competitors.

Why am I writing this? Because I know that my competitors will read this and they will do one or two things once or twice and then it will be over. However, letting people know what they need to be doing motivates me to be better each and every month. The good bankruptcy attorneys need to get into the game to get rid of the bad bankruptcy attorneys.

Here is a list of what you need to be doing in your down-time unless you want to become obsolete. It’s time to create a vision. Let’s start with your past referral sources:

1. Look at last year’s statistics and determine who your best referral sources were. It’s time to go to lunch with the top ten people and develop a relationship. This has to be a two way street. Find out how you can assist them in their business. You may be very surprised about what you learn. Keep the lines of communication open with these people.

2. Go to their offices with them. Let them show you around and introduce you to the people that they work with on a daily basis (another opportunity for a connection). You can have a very good time getting to know new people.

Past Clients: You have worked really hard to earn their trust and respect. You helped them achieve their discharge, now they need to know how you can help others.

3. Create a Newsletter – Let your clients know about your other services and how you can help them with related services.

4. If you have a newsletter, take a real hard look at it and ask yourself: If I was a client would I read this? If the answer is no, then ask: What would I like to read? Try new things in your newsletter like: What we did this month? Recipes? Games? Etc. It’s a newsletter, not a legal treatise. One of the most engaging parts of our newsletter is the trivia part. Another staple in our newsletter is a recipe from a local restaurant (another connection). Hopefully, the light-bulb just came on.

5. Connect with all your friends of the firm on a Facebook page. As you know, this costs nothing but time. You must track your time so that you are not spending too much time on Facebook and not enough on the other parts of your business. Remember, it’s a business tool, not a toy. One of my favorite days on Facebook is Lawyer Joke Tuesday. Your clients will be glad to throw their best lawyer joke at you.

6. Send your clients a letter letting them know of the other services that you provide: FCRA, FDCPA violations, Personal Injury, Etc. If your clients don’t know that your partner handles personal injury cases, guess what they will do when they know someone who needs an attorney.

New Referral Sources: These are the people that you determine will be able to help your bankruptcy business in the future. CPAs, Family Law attorneys, Bankers, Real Estate agents, Mortgage brokers, etc.

7. Here is an opportunity to discuss ideas with new people. This goes hand in hand with developing your past referrals. After each strategic encounter, and yes I said strategic, you need to evaluate the possibility of how well the meeting went. Is this a person that I would trust sending one of my clients to? Is this a person that I want referrals from? You never know until you try.

Like I said before, many attorneys will not take the next step to build their business. They will sit on the computer reading the latest listserve messages. That is fine. But don’t complain when I or another attorney steal your clients.

This blog is likely to be very controversial, and it may tick off many good bankruptcy attorneys. Good, that is what it is meant to do. If you are a good bankruptcy attorney and you are losing business to a bad bankruptcy attorney who is better than you on the internet, shame on you, that is your fault. People need Good Attorneys, but they also need to be able to find Good Attorneys. The internet is filled with garbage, so now it is time to take control of the internet and treat it like you would treat a client.

Change your perspective – Change your practice.

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Carmen Dellutri is a proud member of the Florida Bar, and he is a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney, Certified by the American Board of Certification. He practices in the areas of Consumer Bankruptcy and Plaintiff's Personal Injury. He is the principal attorney at The Dellutri Law Group, P.A. The firm supports many charitable and civic causes by donating time and much needed capital to our community. Mr. Dellutri and the other attorneys in the firm routinely speak to students of all ages about various legal and societal issues.
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