Author: Brani Andreev, MBA, is an expert in nationwide management of process service, consultant, speaker, and developer of the breakthrough Management Model of the 4Ps™ that ensures the consistent quality of process service.
If you are just starting your process serving business or trying to build your volume during these difficult times, most likely you do not have much money to put behind launching and scaling as a business. What you may lack in financial resources to grow your process service volume, you may make up for in mastering knowledge that you could use to become your own marketing department. Here is what Jean Ashcroft, a process server in Austin, TX is saying about her experience:
"What I lacked in financial resources, I decided to spend time learning social media strategy and PR. I even researched other businesses, both local and large process serving agencies. I reviewed different process server associations and what each offered to get more work as a process server. I also enrolled in the one-on-one session with the Process Server Center, and they helped me build a master plan of how to use viral tactics and customer satisfaction to level up and expand my process service business, all for free. Over the past six months, I've worked with hundreds of clients without spending a dollar on advertising or marketing thanks to the great ideas on how to build my process serving business that I got from the Process Server Center..."
Following the feedback we received from Jean, we decided to share the tips we gave her with all process servers. Here is exactly how Jean Ashcroft succeeded to build her process service volume in six months:
1. Build a Personal Brand as a Process Server
When you first start a process service business, a lot of trouble in getting new customers lies in paralegals, attorneys and other clients needing to trust you, especially when you are the one providing the service to them. That is why turning to your personal brand as a process server, which may consist of a few months of serving legal documents to years of experience allows any potential clients to get to know you as a professional in process serving. If you are a new process server, perhaps you can highlight your prior law enforcement experience or your training and knowledge of process service. If you are an experienced one, you may use your track record of successfully delivering process, finding defendants who have moved to a new location or delivering the documents to a respondent who has avoided being served several times. Allowing potential clients to get to know her helped Jean Ashcroft emphasize on what made her stand apart from other process servers, and ultimately bring her new clients.
Every process server or process server agency needs a personal brand. Start by understanding your value, skills, story and your background and experience in process serving. Then communicate that consistently across multiple platforms, starting with a website and one to two social media channels. Paralegals and attorneys have repeatedly shared with the Process Server Center that they like to do business with process servers they can trust and know. That is why your personal brand as a process server will help attract new clients who might be wary of taking a chance on a process service business they just discovered.
2. Do Your Own Process Serving Agency PR
"Getting featured in news articles across legal journals and bar associations newsletters helped me bring in new clients on a monthly basis. I never hired a PR firm and instead found ways to pitch myself", shares Jean. Upon our suggestion she started out by researching and creating a long list of outlets she wanted to be featured on, and then learned what kind of stories they like to focus on. Then Jean adjusted her pitches to each of these outlets, carefully crafting them to share her experience in process service and how she has helped clients deliver legal documents to particularly hard-to-serve defendants. Finally, Jean followed up with them, many times, to get feedback and eventually get featured.
Create a wish list of places you would like to be featured on as a process server, then do your research and craft a pitch that is relevant to what their audience will care about and what will make a good story for them to run with. You can also use tools like Help a Reporter Out (which is free) to get an understanding of what reporters are looking for from sources.
3. Provide Free Value as a Process Server
Most process servers are eager to increase their volume of process service, build their business and make money. Even new servers, just starting out, are eager to quickly grow their volume of work, and one of the most frequently asked questions among process servers is "How do I find more work?" Perhaps the focus, too often seen, is on the growing of your process service business rather than on asking yourself the question of what constant value do I bring to my clients. When she first approached us for an online consultation, Jean Ashcroft shared that "although I was eager to make money when I started my process service business, I realized that I also needed to create constant value for my clients." Upon our recommendation, Jean began offering a few free services to each new client in order to entice them to switch from their previous process servers. She also improved her organization by utilizing a new software for managing her process services. Jean also resolved internal issues that delayed the execution of affidavits. While doing all this, she made sure to let her clients know about the recent improvements or changes highlighting how they would help with the smooth service of process and ultimately benefit paralegals, attorneys and law firms.
The recommendations shown above would help you build and maintain credibility for your process service business and add to the overall value for your clients. In addition to the services your offer as a process server, create at least one way to share free value with your clients. Consider a blog on your process service website, an article shared with an online publication, an active participation in Facebook and LinkedIn groups or other marketing materials that will not cost you anything, and will give so much to your existing and prospective clients.
4. Tap into Social Media Geared Toward Process Serving
Social media can be a powerful free avenue of finding new clients for your process serving business. Every chance you use to build credibility, to allow your clients and peers to get to know you, to showcase your background or your many years of successful process service, all of these would help both new and experienced process servers reach and connect with more potential clients.
Join as many social media groups, pages and platforms as you can. Dedicate at least half an hour each day to visiting and actively participating in these groups. Let your voice be heard and let other servers or clients hear about you. Move from being unknown to someone who others are now getting to know. With perseverance and patience, such daily actions would lead to more and more people "knowing" you. Try and add value when interacting with others and both peers and clients will begin to recognize you as an authority in the process serving industry.
5. Keep Process Service Industry Friends Close
"When I was first starting out, I spent a lot of my free time finding people within the process service industry I could network with", shares Jean. Most process servers do not necessarily have a budget for ads or marketing. Therefore, word of mouth referrals can be a big way to gain new customers as a process server at any stage of your business.
Do not shy to send cold emails not only to paralegals and attorneys, but also to your peers. Introduce yourself and the process services you offer, the areas you cover. Let other process servers learn about you, your background, how they can benefit of getting to know you. Do not forget to reach out and interact with other process servers using the social media platforms discussed above. Help them as much as you can, send them business and ask to help them with their business. Make yourself available and show other process servers that you are available and reliable to them. Taking these steps is a great way of building relationship with people who also interact with your "audience" like attorneys, paralegals and law firms. Establishing such peer relationships would definitely help you reach out clients indirectly and create opportunities to gain new clients on a regular basis. Research who else in the process service industry your clients often interact with or buy from. National association, state associations, online directories and of course, the exclusive directory PROServerLIST that helps legal professionals find process servers the easy way. All of these are platforms for opportunities to find, reach out and connect with potential clients. This can significantly help you build your process service business and get more referrals.
6. Create Superfan Clients of Your Process Service Business
A few weeks after implementing our team's recommendations, Jean shared that "I prioritized over-delivering for my clients to ensure they were happy with my process service." Making sure your clients are happy with your service of process, from the initial phone call or email to the successful delivery or filing of affidavits of service, taking excellent care of each of your clients helps process servers create "super-fan" clients who would share your contact information with their peers and networks, and also be happy to act as a good referral to your process service business.
First focus on providing the best service of process, then when they are happy with your work, ask your clients to share your contact information with other legal professional. Be ready to also offer them a free service (like a check-up phone call) if they brought in a new client. Think about how you can encourage past super-fan clients who enjoyed your process service or working with you to become ambassadors who help bring in new process serving business.
Finally, always remember that you can be successful as a process server without having a big budget to spend on bringing in new business. You just have to have a strong strategy and think outside of the box. Tap into skills you already have, continue to learn through online classes and join social media platforms. Learn how to be your own master marketer, so you can use different avenues to spread the word and grow your process serving business.