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How do Mediators get Paying Clients?

While mediation is a deeply meaningful profession (or sideline), it is also a business, and this means that we must approach it as such from the very beginning. It is all good and well to put yourself out there to do good, but if mediation does not sustain you financially, you won't be doing it very long.

We spend 10 hours of the course learning how to do exactly this.

Start with the End in Mind

As an established mediator, almost all of your work comes from referrals. You've mediated enough cases to receive a constant stream of work, and you only take on the cases that bring you closest to your true purpose. Your practice is only truly self-sustaining when you are no longer required to spend any time or effort to attract paying clients. The quality of the settlements you produce and the quality of the client experience is what sends clients your way.

Your clients will speak to their colleagues, friends and extended family about how they truly felt heard, about how you, the mediator, helped them to work through the challenge and set them on a new course. Visualise this goal, see yourself as the respected mediator you are working to become and keep this in mind throughout your studies.

Working with Law Firms

Certain law firms prefer litigation, which creates an opportunity for a partnership with a qualified mediator. These business agreements usually entail a percentage split of the fees between the mediator and the law firm, allowing each to focus on what they're good at.

The First Few Months

At the start of the author of this article's career, mediations would be conducted in the evenings after work and on Saturdays. The industry was still relatively unknown, with very little of the support we have available today.

As mediators, we experimented with: -

  • Traditional marketing (e.g. posters and community boards),

  • Digital marketing (including business profiles for Facebook and LinkedIn), and

  • Face-to-face marketing (i.e. networking)

Fortunately, the industry has come a long way and has become established in the minds of South Africans. In the course we work through a number of examples of each of these spheres of marketing, and we separate the good from the bad.

Here is one of our favourites, which has served us well over the years.

An Example of Effective Networking

Whenever I mediate in a new jurisdiction (or if I'm looking to mediate in a new jurisdiction), I meet the staff at court. I'll be neatly dressed and have my business cards on hand. I'll meet the assistant registrar (the clerk of the court) and introduce myself as a mediator, asking him/her to introduce me to the magistrate.

I'll tell the magistrate that I'm a qualified, accredited mediator and that I'm looking to expand my work into their jurisdiction. But I'm not coming empty-handed. Give me the dustiest docket on your desk, the headache of a case that just isn't going away. I'd like to mediate it pro bono, free of charge. And as I entered the court building today I saw an empty office on the way here, I'd like to use that office if possible.

The use of the empty office is for a reason: I want the staff at court to see that I am mediating a case at court and that I want to meet the court manager.

Now keep in mind that the parties have been without a solution for quite some time already, they want you to help them. Often we'll start mediating at 08:00 and the case will be settled before 12:00 on the same day. At this point, I tell the assistant registrar that we've settled. Wow! That was quick.

I'll be back at court around 15:45 on the same day, typed settlement agreement in hand, and I'll ask the assistant registrar to check the agreement (don't stress too much about typing out the settlement agreement from scratch, the templates are included in the course). This is an excellent time to arrive, because the magistrate will be back in their office, ready for the assistant registrar to share the good news of your settlement. Congratulations, you've just resolved a headache for a number of people.

In the next day or two, I'll start receiving calls from the general public, telling me that they got my number at court. High quality leads are now dropping into my lap without paying for it (the conversion rate for these leads are around 80% or 85%). As long as I keep answering my phone, returning every single missed call, and maintaining the good will I've created at that court, I'll keep receiving leads. This tree will bear fruit as long you keep watering it.

Leveraging your own Strengths and Opportunities

The above example works great, but to really get an edge over your competitors, you want to make the most of your particular set of skills, your background and the people you've met over the years.

This is where our team comes in. Click on the button below to schedule a call with us, or drop us an email. Our success depends on you reaching your goals.


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