Legal Life Lesson: “Bueller, Bueller?” Why Communication is KEY to professional relationships

Introduction: “Take Away” to this Week’s LLL (Legal Life Lesson)

As business owners, we have all seen it. The client that is so insistent that you begin work on their case….but then drops off the face of the planet after they have paid their fees and given you the paperwork. FAIL! This reminds me of the teach in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that is calling for Bueller over and over again only to hear no response back. Clients can be the same sometimes and that is BAD. However, I have a way to deal with  clients who think that I can do ALL the work without one email, phone call or visit in any given period.

Practical Example

I have the PLEASURE of representing a few restaurant owners (It’s rewarding in part because these are very TASTY restauranteurs). I have a particular client that just opened a new restaurant and, as to be expected, is dealing with multiple issues at one time—-one of which involves a negotiation of a lease that I am involved in.

Here is the thing about negotiations: Believe it or not, people can’t and won’t negotiate with themselves. If the other party takes too long for decisions, most times the other side gets frustrated and calls the offer off, which they can do because you have NOT accepted; An offeree can withdraw their offer at anytime, unless a contract states otherwise. [This is your Legal Life Lesson.]

Knowing that, it’s important for you AND your clients to communicate consistently with one another, even if there are not negotiations going on. It creates relationships of trust —-and FYI, people tend to not sue and repeat business with people they trust. I’m just saying…..

“Call to Action:

So here are some “pointers” on how to communicate with clients that seem to not to want to communicate as often as you would like them to:

1. Set non-communicative clients on a schedule. I use a WONDERFUL CRM (Customer Relations Management) system called “AllClients” that can be found at http://www.allclients.com (Tell them I sent you for a discount). It allows me to schedule (1) 3 day emails, (2) 1 week phone calls, (2) 2 week letters, etc. based on my own personalized preference for how I want to keep up with clients, vendors, past clients, and partners.

2. Try different WAYS to communicate. I have clients who won’t respond to email AT ALL so why should I try to communicate that way? Instead, I have to call these clients but ALWAYS confirm our conversations in letters. Some clients prefer texting—which works GREAT for me as well so I communicate more with these clients. You can either ask or just pay attention to the best mode of communication or several ways.

3. Give client a reason to call back. I’ve noticed that leaving a message that says “Can you give me a call back as soon as possible? Thanks” doesn’t quite do the trick with clients I want to communicate more. Instead I say, “We need to discuss what to tell the opposing party when they give me a call back today. Please give me a call to discuss before noon.” That usually gets the job done—especially if there is a sense of urgency.

Discussion Question

What else would you ADD to ways to deal with a non-communicative client?

**The “Legal Life Lessons” Series was started by Attorney Kendrick in 2012 as a way to showcase real life legal situations that either she has experienced or those within her networks have experienced. The goal is to move away from boring, white paper style discussions about the law and focus on creating comfortable conversations about real experiences in the life of Georgia business owners.**

DISCLAIMER: Kendrick Law Practice and its attorneys are ONLY authorized to practice law in Georgia and NO OTHER territory, state or country and therefore any and all legal advice is only applicable for businesses and individuals that reside and/or located in the State of Georgia. Additionally, please be advised that this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship unless there is a signed or electronically filed retainer agreement on file with the Firm.
Kendrick Law Practice, LLC – www.kendricklaw.net (practicing business law exclusively)

Keeping Georgia small businesses “IN business and OUT of Court”

P O Box 630, Lithonia, GA 30058 * (678) 739-8109

Mission Statement: To provide Georgia small businesses PASSION for and ACCESS to HIGHLY CUSTOMIZED and PERSONAL business advice AND legal counseling, including document drafting, document reviewing and negotiating services. View an audio presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/kendricklaw/why-klp-kendrick-law-practice or a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QFFIRk5ECw to answer “Why KLP?”.

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