What does it take to run a successful life care planning business? You have mastered the fundamentals of Life Care Planning, and you have gotten some cases, but you know you could be doing more to build your business or improve cash flow. Successful Life Care Planners pay attention to five pillars:
- client management,
- finance, and
- business development.
I call these pillars because they form the foundation of your business. They support you and allow you to grow.
These 5 pillars also apply to any self-employed legal nurse consultants.
Expertise is a foundation of successful life care planning business
Attorneys understand that Life Care Planners are usually needed for large damages cases involving a patient whose survival will depend on complex care. There is a lot at stake in such cases including factors that we may not see.
For example, plaintiff attorneys may have taken loans to finance a large case. Defense attorneys are concerned about large settlements or awards and how they might affect their relationship with the carrier. Everyone wants to know, “What are the numbers?” Your expertise affects the answers to that question.
Your Life Care Plan must be well written, well researched and easy to follow. The people who will read your plan are not healthcare providers and thus need adequate explanations and a medical summary written for lay people. Spell out abbreviations and define terms. Use a format with sufficient white space. Be sure your tables are clear and easy to comprehend.
Although an attorney may attempt to apply pressure to influence your calculations, remember your role in being impartial. A Life Care Planner hired by the defense attorney may see items a plaintiff’s Life Care Planner missed, items that would improve the quality of the plaintiff’s life.
Whenever you prepare a Life Care Plan, envision yourself being cross-examined about why you included specific elements in a plan. Your expertise is founded on your detail-oriented analysis of the patient’s needs and is rooted in your up-to-date knowledge of medical and nursing care.
Remember that your work product is of no value if you do not meet the attorney’s deadlines. You can destroy your successful Life Care Planning business by gaining a reputation of being undependable.
Just about every Life Care Planner needs to market to start or maintain a business. This is the second pillar of a sound business. “Push” marketing involves reaching out to attorneys through networking, cold calls and cold visits. “Pull” marketing reverses the dynamics by using methods to attract clients. Both types of marketing have a role in building a business (Lockard, 2016).
The goal of any marketing is to establish rapport with the prospect, to help that person know, like and trust you, as well as remember you when a case comes in that needs a Life Care Plan.
Your ideal client
- Who do you want to work with? It is far easier to get cases when you have a clear picture of who needs your services.
- Who is your ideal client?
- What market do you best serve?
- What types of cases are the ones where you have the deepest knowledge?
- How can you get known as the go to Life Care Planner for that type of case?
Both attorneys and legal nurse consultants hire Life Care Planners. They may find out about your services through list servs, networking, word of mouth referrals, your web site, publications, or a booth at a trade show.
Legal nurse consultants may hire you as a subcontractor or refer you to an attorney. This is often an ideal arrangement if subcontracting provides you with support such as organized medical records and report proofreading services.
Marketing requires persistent, consistent effort.
Consider your referral sources. Who else markets to the attorneys who have cases that require Life Care Plans? Get to know the engineering firms that handle accident investigations. Network with the vocational experts, demonstrative evidence firms, and economists who get involved in cases with medical damages. Request introductions to attorneys who may be able to use your services.
Are you blogging?
Analyze how you stay in touch with clients to remind them of your existence. Do you have a website with a blog? Blogging is a way for an expert witness to demonstrate expertise and get the attention of those who are in hiring positions. After doing the work to formulate a thoughtful, informative blog, don’t stop there. Repurpose your blog posts in a newsletter that you send out a minimum of once a month. Provide helpful tips in a form that is quickly digestible.
Ask your own clients for referrals. Give them specific language to use in a phone call or email to a colleague to pave the way for your conversation with the prospect (Newman, 2013). For example, ask your client to say, “Bob, I want to introduce Grace Galley, a Life Care Planner who has been helpful to me in my personal injury cases. I know you handle similar cases and think it would be of value to have a conversation with her. She will be calling you. Please take a moment to talk to her.”
These are 2 of the critical 5 pillars of a successful Life Care Planning business. How do you measure up to the requirements? Check out Part 2 of this blog post for the other 3 pillars.
This article was published in the Journal of Life Care Planning, Summer 2017.
Lockard, P. (2016, February 3). Why you need push marketing and pull marketing, [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.dmn3.com/dmn3-blog/why-you-need-push-marketing-and-pull-marketing
Newman, D. (2013). Do it! Marketing. New York, NY: American Management Association.