Law firms, and other businesses, have far too many “one and done” clients. Many of our clients ask us to help them find ways to work on rather than in their business. We often advise that creating a recurring client or customer base is a major step in the process of learning how work smarter rather than harder, and thereby laying the foundation to work on your business.

Here are four ways to help you create longer-lasting and/or recurring client relationships:

1. Plan.

Setting expectations early on with clients is crucial to establishing both short-term and long-term client relationships. Create and implement a system for consistently welcoming and on-boarding your new clients, and then set clear expectations about who is doing what, timing, and cost. This will not only impress your clients, but also increase the likelihood that you will have clear lines of communication throughout the relationship.

2. Listen.

Clients don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Most clients just want to be heard, and they want to know they are not alone; i.e., that you are on their side. Let them speak and vent if necessary. By listening and showing empathy, you will be off to a good start and laying the foundation for a long-term relationship of trust and confidence.

3. Consistent contact.

The most expensive clients are the new clients. Once you have invested the resources necessary to establish a new client relationship, it makes sense to then invest the resources to cultivate the relationship. One way to do this is to create and implement a system to stay in touch with your clients by, for example, recognizing their birthdays, sending an annual letter on a relevant legal topic, and/or periodically just reaching out and checking in.

4. Real talk.

Lawyers spend way too much time using legalese and other legal jargon that may sound normal in the office, but that is a foreign language to our clients. Clients want clarity and comfort – they are not asking to be confused. Speaking in “plain English” is an excellent way to clearly communicate with your clients, and to ensure both parties understand current status, strategy, and next steps.

Remembering these four simple tips will help you build a business by working smarter, not just harder.

For assistance with any legal needs related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at or 860.670.3535 now for a free consultation and planning session.