Sometimes attorney marketing is about managing client expectations. This is particularly true when you have to manage a difficult client. But more often than not, the reason a client is difficult is because you have allowed them to become difficult.
Think of it this way:
If you managed client expectations correctly, most difficult clients will be pussycats.
Speak with Clients by Appointment Only
If you take calls/meetings as ideas come into your clients’ heads, you will never have any momentum and your productivity will be disastrous. In addition, this is poor positioning.
How busy can you be if you pick up the phone every time your demanding client calls?
Outline the Fee Structure with Payment Deadlines Up Front
You must have a conversation about money at the outset of your engagement with the client. You must let him know what your expectation is and you must clearly spell out the consequences for nonpayment. If you do this up front and in writing, you will avoid any conflict later on down the road.
Clearly Spell Out the Boundaries of Your Work
Make sure the client knows what is included in your engagement agreement and what is not included in the engagement agreement. Having a discussion reinforces what is already in writing and it gets everything out in the open.
Make Sure the Client Knows Your Assistant is an Extension of You
You client must be able to articulate to your assistant why he is calling and the reason he must speak with you. This allows your assistant to allocate the appropriate amount of time for the meeting.
If this business model sounds familiar to you it should. It is the business model most doctors use when they deal with their patients. A doctor never answers his own phone. It is not expected that he would. A doctor never sees anyone without an appointment. It is not expected that he would. A doctor gets paid when service is rendered.
The way to handle a difficult client is to set appropriate expectations before he becomes a client. That is the responsibility of your attorney marketing.