Pre-qualify Your Clients to Keep Bad Clients Out of Your Practice

Do you want to keep bad clients out of your law practice?

In this video series on bad clients, we’ve talked about identifying and eliminating bad clients from your practice, but the best way to eliminate bad clients from your practice is not to take them in the first place.

In my last video, I talked about trusting your gut when it warns you that a new client might not be right for your practice. But I know that realistically, sometimes even when your gut tells you not to take a client, you may be tempted to do it anyway. So today I want to talk about a more concrete way to identify bad clients before they come into your practice by creating a prequalifying process for your clients.

First, make a list of the worst clients you’ve encountered in your practice. What made you classify them as problem clients? What do those clients have in common? Were there red flags or warning signs at the initial consultation? Did those clients exhibit specific behaviors that might have tipped you off that they could become a problem later?

Talk to others in your office as well. How did those clients treat your receptionist or other staff in the office? Did your staff take note of something when they interacted with those clients?

Create a list of red flags or bad client warning signs. You might even consider ranking those red flags – perhaps some are worse than others. Maybe if a new client exhibits only one characteristic you’re willing to take them on, but if they exhibit more than one, you won’t. Or perhaps there are some behaviors or characteristics that would make a client an absolute “no” for you.

Developing a list of these characteristics can help you to say no to problem clients before they come into your practice. You might even develop a system to allow those kinds of clients to self-select out of your practice before they even come to the initial consultation by putting obstacles in place designed to keep out those problem clients.

For example, if your problem clients are overly concerned about price, one way to keep them out of your practice is by charging for the initial consultation. Or if your problem clients are unprepared and don’t get you documentation or information you need in a timely manner, you might require your clients to complete an online form or submit documents in advance of the initial consultation. The idea is to develop a system and a process designed specifically to stop bad clients from entering your practice in the first place.

What do you do to keep bad clients out of your practice? Do you have a pre-qualifying process? Let me know in the comments!

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