The Only Three Ways to Generate More Income

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Our days are busy, busy, busy. The clients are demanding, the team is distracting, the stress is persistent. We don’t have time to sit down and think. We’re caught in the roiling waves, the ups and downs of running a business.

Most of us are so busy in the business that it’s hard to take even a moment to work on the business. But we must. So let’s keep it simple: today I’m going to focus on the fundamentals.

We often make things harder than necessary. It’s all too easy to over-complicate our efforts to increase revenues. We have vendors pitching us solutions, we’re loaded up with articles we need to read, and we’re weighed down with ideas we’ve heard around town. Increasing revenues feels like a complicated, tricky, hot mess.

But we can keep it simple. In fact, we have to keep it simple. Complexity is the enemy when we’re working on the business.

Here’s my simple message:

There are ONLY three ways to increase the revenue coming into your firm.

Yeah, only three. Trust me on this.

1. Bring in more clients

You’re delivering a service that is valued by some clients. They’re happy with what they’re buying. You’re happy with what you’re selling. You’ve taken an important first step by successfully testing your model.

You’ve proven that some people want to buy what you’re offering. The odds are good that there are other folks who need what you’ve got to give.

The challenge now is finding those other people, or helping them find you. The key to solving that challenge is understanding why your existing clients buy from you. With that knowledge, you can reach out and spread your message.

There’s huge value in understanding your current clients. You need to understand the people who are buying now, so you can more easily reach others in the same situation. Your current buyers hold the clues that will lead you to more buyers.

Your existing clients meet a certain profile, have a particular perspective, and believe a common story. You need to understand all of those elements so you can speak directly, effectively, and efficiently to others with similar problems that need to be solved.

Study your clients, understand them, and then leverage that information to identify, approach, and persuade others. There has never been a better time for a persuasive storyteller to spread a message. We can target and reach people today through ever-increasing channels and approaches. All it takes is understanding and a persuasive story.

You know that what you do works for those you already serve. Now, you’ve got to aggressively find their doppelgängers.

Bringing in new clients is difficult but worthwhile work. It’s the way most of us attack the revenue problem. But it’s not the only way–there’s an easier approach to increasing revenues.

2. Raise your prices

Raising your prices is easy, but terrifying. You worry about the clients who are going to walk away when the price goes up. You’re afraid that higher prices will result in lower total revenue. When you raise prices, you ought to expect some clients to go away in response to higher costs.

But many clients will stay. Revenues will increase. Then you’ll have more time to focus on the remaining clients, even while you’re bringing in new clients who are willing to pay the new rate. I realize that knowing all that doesn’t make raising prices any less scary. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to wait years too long to bump up the rates.

I’ve told at least a hundred lawyers to increase their prices. Nearly every time I say it I get nervous looks. But once the price has been increased and the dust has settled, the lawyers return to tell me that I was right. Trust me–I’m right.

Find the courage to make the leap. Most of your clients will barely notice. It’ll work. But, even though raising prices is easier than bringing in new clients, it’s still hard. Unfortunately, there’s nothing easy about increasing revenue.

Fear not, though: there is an even easier approach.

3. Sell more to your current clients

Selling more professional services, or adding products to the mix, is an easier approach to generating more revenue.

Your existing clients trust you. They’ll continue to trust you when you offer more assistance. They’re endorsing you each time they pay your bill. They appreciate your problem-solving skills, and will welcome more help from you. They’ll thank you for making their lives easier by offering solutions to more of their problems.

Some lawyers increase revenues from the existing client base by adding new services. You might add new practice areas and expand your menu of services. Cross-selling these services to existing clients bumps revenue up.

Some firms creatively add preventive services to their offerings by providing audits to identify and eliminate situations before they metastasize.

Some firms add maintenance plans, warranties, membership sites, and other options to clients in need of ongoing protection.

Clients who already trust you are likely to buy new offerings when those new offers provide substantial value and solve problems your clients already experience.

Which way is best?

The three ways to increase revenues are simple and limited.

  1. Bring in more clients.
  2. Raise prices.
  3. Sell more to your existing clients.

These are your options.

Sometimes, getting back to basics and thinking through options in an orderly fashion gets us closer to taking action and moving forward. It’s common for the day-to-day crisis management to obscure our view of the big picture.

So, which approach is best?

The best tactic is to improve on all three approaches. A successful firm has a steady stream of new clients calling, is charging fair prices, and works to add value for its clients by solving additional problems.

Locking yourself into a single approach is counter-productive. All three approaches, managed concurrently, will build a solid foundation for the law firm.

Work to attract new clients, raise your prices as you add more value, and pay careful attention to your clients, so that you identify and solve the problems impacting their success. Develop strategies and tactics for each approach, and you’ll see an exponential increase in revenues.

There’s no easy way to increase revenue. Fundamentally, when you cut through the noise, there are only three ways to do it. Each of these three approaches presents challenges, but successful firms overcome those challenges. Pick one approach, two, or, even better, all three.

Don’t let the busyness of being in the business confuse your thinking. When you stop for a moment to focus, when you turn your brain to work on the business, remember this:

There are ONLY three ways to increase the revenue coming into your firm.

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