This article from ElderLawAnswers gives a quick look at Vinnie’s client care program and the early days of the Academy. While some things have changed since the article was posted, Vinnie’s quote, “a maintenance program is simply one of the most effective business-generating tools an attorney can have,” is still true.
Following publication of our article on client maintenance programs, we heard from a Massachusetts estate planning attorney who has founded an academy to train estate planning law firms in creating and successfully implementing such programs. The Client Maintenance Academy’s founder, Vincent E. Bonazzoli, is the principal of the Family Estate Planning Law Group in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. He believes that “a maintenance program is simply one of the most effective business-generating tools an attorney can have.”
Bonazzoli has identified the “Seven Sources of Revenue” that a client maintenance program generates, and over the last ten years his firm’s own program has averaged a better than 93 percent renewal rate, including more than 97 percent in 2008 in the teeth of the Great Recession. The program has 330 clients who pay between $800 and $1,000 a year. Bonazzoli founded the Academy after working more informally with estate planning firms in setting up their own maintenance programs. He would spend a couple of days helping the firm design a program, but found that only about one in four firms actually implemented the program.
“I realized it’s not just the two days, it’s coaching them through and making sure they hit certain measures. Certain adjustments have to happen and certain systems have to be in place,” Bonazzoli says. “This year I decided to create the Client Maintenance Academy where we’re training attorneys in creating maintenance programs that are going to work, are going to be viable, and going to make them money.” The Academy had its first program April 29 and 30.
The program consists of two days of instruction followed by six months of coaching calls where Bonazzoli gives the firms homework on the marks they have to hit as they’re developing their maintenance program. “There’s no roadmap, that’s the problem,” Bonazzoli says.
Bonazzoli is in the process of launching a Web site for the Academy. In the meantime, he can be reached at: [email protected] For Bonazzoli’s article, “How to Implement an Estate Planning Maintenance Program — NO KIDDING!” which appeared in the April 2010 WealthCounsel Quarterly, click here.