I'm inside the lawyer's office talking to her about her need to increase her revenues—she needs more clients.
From outside of the office, I can hear someone on her staff explaining, over the phone, that the lawyer can't see the prospective client for almost two weeks.
Suddenly, I'm experiencing cognitive dissonance—how can she need more clients, yet she can't see the new client for two weeks?
Is this some sort of marketing scheme? Does she put people off so they'll feel like the lawyer is really busy? Is the firm playing hard to get?
I ask the lawyer about what I just overheard, and she explains that her schedule is a mess. Between court appearances, mediations, depositions, and family commitments, she doesn't have many openings in her calendar right now. She says it isn't always like this, but it happens, and it makes it hard to see new clients when they call.
As I sat there listening and thinking about her goal—to get more clients—I realized that the new clients would likely get caught up in this crazy scheduling situation and find someone else before their appointment in two weeks. If that happened, our marketing effort would be for naught.
We started talking about the scheduling issue and came up with a plan that I want to share with you today. I think it's going to help her, and I think it might even make it unnecessary for her to ramp up her marketing.
She's changing the way she manages her calendar. She's blocking every Tuesday morning and every Thursday afternoon for initial consultations. She's going to reserve those times and book everything else around the consultation commitment. She accepts that sometimes she's going to have to move her consultations to accommodate a multi-day trial, but she's committed to locking down another block that same week when the conflict occurs.
She's building her schedule around the consultations rather than leaving it to her staff to find time for consultations between other events. She's making new clients a priority.
With her revised approach, a prospective client calling on Monday will likely get in on Tuesday. A client calling on Tuesday or Wednesday will likely get in on Thursday, and a client calling in on Friday (her slow day for calls) will been seen on Tuesday. Her prospective clients will always get an appointment within a few business days.
She needs more clients, and she's going to get them. A simple change in her calendar may well do the trick, and we didn't have to spend any money to accomplish the goal.