Give Them the Business

     You don’t want to keep your clients.
     Really. You don’t.
     You probably think I’m crazy. You’re probably right, but that doesn’t mean you should desperately hang onto your clients.
     This occurred to me last week after spotting a bit of business advice on the website in an article titled: “Lawyers: One of the Most Important Questions You can Ask Your Clients.”
     I would have guessed the question is, “What’s your name?” or, “What’s your billing address?” but instead the author says lawyers should ask: “What can I do to keep you as a client for the long haul?”
     I read this advice and the image of half a dozen car salesmen leapt into my mind.
     “What can I do to earn your business?”
     It’s practically a mantra. I think they learn that in car salesman college.
     It doesn’t make me like those guys or want to give them my business. Maybe that’s just me and my antisocial nature, but I get the urge to flee whenever I hear that phrase.
     It has the air of the desperate, clingy girl/boyfriend about it, with a soupcon of naked greed.
     I figure it’s worse in a lawyer’s office. Some poor client is trying to get out of trouble with your help and you’re, in effect, saying you’d love it if he or she got into more trouble on a regular basis.
     Imagine a doctor saying that.
     Yeah, I know preventive care and checkups are a good thing, but how lucrative is that? You know you want your clients to get into as much trouble as possible and clients who’ve had to deal with car salesmen will know this.
     If you’ve sold a shiny new piece of successful representation with a warranty to a client, don’t ask about more business. Most of your clients will be happy never to see you again.
     Instead, ask the clients to ridicule friends who haven’t got out of trouble because they weren’t smart enough to hire you.
     Business will boom.
     More marketing: Sometimes – well, actually a lot of the time – it’s embarrassing to be part of the news media. So many of us are so darn accepting.
     I direct your attention to a press release issued last week with this headline: “Myles L. Berman Voted Best DUI Attorney for 2014.”
     My immediate reaction upon seeing this, non-accepting person that I am, was: “What the heck? How is such a thing possible?”
     According to the press release, “Myles L. Berman has been voted yet again ‘Best DUI Attorney’ by the Los Angeles Daily News readers for the annual Readers Choice Awards.”
     Yet again!
     Now, let’s think about this. Ignore that the headline says nothing about being restricted to the Los Angeles area. That could be an oversight.
     What I wonder is, who could have voted in this poll and how would Daily News readers know how to compare DUI lawyers? How much experience could these voters have with all the city’s (or the nation’s) DUI lawyers? Have they each used dozens of them?
     How many people could have voted in this poll, and are all the voters people who just maybe – allegedly – had had too much to drink at some point?
     Why would a reputable newspaper (if there is such a thing) conduct a preference survey for DUI lawyers? Have the editors been drinking?
     Your next assignment is to go to your favorite search engine and type in “Myles Berman Los Angeles Daily News.”
     The first three pages of listings I got are all from assorted media outlets who parroted the press release.
     There’s no point in doing any reporting if you’ve got a press release.
     Next step: Go to the Los Angeles Daily News website and search for Myles Berman. Then try searching for Readers Choice Awards.
     I’m going to have a drink now.

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