It’s never been a more opportune time to be in the immigration industry in Canada, but if you’re new or struggling to grow your practice, it can be tough! In this post, we’re going to cover how to grow your immigration practice and get more paying clients.
As a Canadian immigration lawyer, I’ve had my own immigration practice since 2017 and have seen the ins-and-outs of what works and what doesn’t. What I want to do is go into 3 key tips that will help you increase the revenue for your immigration practice – things I wish I learned or had known when I started my practice that you can easily implement in your own practice if you’re looking to increase revenue and get more paying clients.
So let’s jump right into it – the first tip and thing that I wish I knew when starting my practice is that I wish I would have niched down quicker. Some of you might know what a niche is, some might not – a niche is specializing in a smaller group of services for a smaller group of people in order to be more effective.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking – wouldn’t it be better to have a broad immigration practice so I can help as many people as possible?
I recommend doing the complete opposite. What I recommend to almost any service-based business owner is to niche down, and in the immigration space, to at most a few (3-4) types of applications at the beginning.
To give you a quick example, once I spent about a year growing my own practice and really got some good traction, I was focused primarily on only Global Talent Stream (GTS) applications. That was it. Maybe about 5% of my practice was Express Entry because everybody who came through GTS eventually came back to me for Express Entry, but 95% of my revenue (low 5-figures per month on average) was from GTS applications for Canadian tech companies.
Most people are surprised to hear that because most immigration firms do everything under the sun – spousal sponsorships, work permits, LMIAs, PR, citizenship, etc. But what they don’t realize is that when you’re in the earlier stages of trying to build up your practice, you can actually get far more done and many more paying clients if you just focus on a very narrow market.
What you’re effectively doing by niching down is you’re actually narrowing down the group of people that you’re going to market and sell to, because if you have a practice right now and you’re focused on any type of immigration application, you would have to do lots of marketing, sales and research in different areas.
Think about it – you would have to know the most updated information for refugees, for PR applicants, for citizenship applicants, for temporary workers – that’s a lot of information!
You might also be getting a lot of different questions from potential clients and have to do a lot of research so that you can speak confidently and accurately about each program.
What happens when you niche down is twofold:
When I niched down to only GTS applications, I knew my target market was Canadian tech companies or engineers that they were trying to hire. Once I knew that, I didn’t have to spend all this time and money marketing and trying to sell to a hundred different types of people!
I knew I just had to market and sell to tech companies and I had to market and sell to engineers or software developers that were getting hired, and that was it.
Next, what that did was it allowed me to do that one application very, very well so when companies were asking me about different aspects of the GTS application, I knew it like the back of my hand because that’s all I was working on.
I answered everything easily, I wasn’t doing constant research everyday because I knew the program inside-and-out and when it came to actually filing the paperwork, it was even easier because I’d done dozens of those applications before (probably hundreds at this point…).
Of course, there’s no law saying you have to pick a niche. But it will save you time and make you more money in the first year or two of your practice, after which you can expand out.
The second piece of advice that I would give to someone who is starting out brand new or already has a practice that they’re trying to grow is once you’ve picked your niche, you then want to come up with transparent, fixed pricing.
What I see with a lot of immigration consultants or lawyers is either they have no pricing on their website, or they charge an hourly rate. Other than charging hourly for consultations (which makes sense), I don’t recommend hourly rates because:
While pricing is very subjective and personal, I recommend charging a fixed fee and putting that fee – even if it’s approximate – on your website. This will provide much more clarity to potential clients, and earn additional confidence and trust from those who are searching your website. They will have a better idea of your pricing, even if it’s a range, and that will help them qualify themselves for you.
What do I mean by qualify themselves? Well, if you’re too expensive for them, or too “cheap” for them, they simply won’t reach out to you. This saves you both time as you won’t have to spend time going back and forth with leads who ultimately weren’t going to work with you either way due to pricing.
Now how do you come up with your fixed fees? What I did was basing this fixed pricing on a rough hourly calculation. For example, you could set an hourly wage at $200/hour (or whatever you are comfortable with). Once you do a few files, you have a general idea of how much time it’s going to take you, give or take a few hours.
So let’s say you want to niche down and only do Express Entry applications, and you have a general idea it will take you about 10 hours from start to finish (including file work, admin, communications, etc.). You take that $200, multiply it by 10 and you get $2,000. Of course, there will be some variables – what if they include family members – you can either bake that in (ie. the fee includes any/all family members), or say your price may vary based on the number of family members.
Overall, know that all clients – individuals, companies or others – love fixed fees and you will too.
My 3rd tip is probably the most important, but you need to have 1 and 2 in place before you can really get the most benefit from #3. The end goal is to automate your lead generation and your client intake, so you can continuously grow your sales, month after month, so you can spend more time on sales and file work!
Since you already have your niche selected and a transparent and fair pricing model, you need to get clients to go through the process of learning about you, trusting you, seeing your pricing and taking the next step to work with you (consult call, email, etc.).
There are a ton of ways you can try to generate leads, in fact there are so many options that what you want to do is figure out just 2-3 of those ways that work really well for you, double down on those and then constantly be optimizing and improving them. If this sounds familiar, it should, because it’s a similar thought process as niching down in tip 1!
You could spend years figuring out how to do cold calls, cold emails, social media content, Facebook ads, Google PPC… the list goes on! Instead, pick 2-3 of these channels or strategies, and start testing. The ones that work well, keep focusing and improving them. The ones that don’t, simply disregard and maybe try testing another.
Some good options that I have experience with:
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and you can also check out our amazing lead tool, Visto Leads, if interested in even more automation and saving additional time in qualifying your leads!
Also, make sure to pick 2 or 3 based on how promising they might be for your niche. For example, when I was targeting companies for GTS applications, I wasn’t really using Facebook ads because it was very difficult to target the right people making those decisions. But Linkedin was a lot more promising because you can see what company people are working at and what their job title is. Networking events were also great!
To summarize 3 ways to grow your immigration practice, number one is to niche down – that will help you a lot with your sales and marketing, and save you a ton of time and frustration.
Second, based on your niche, decide on fair, fixed pricing for your services and have it on your website or your marketing materials. Sales is hard – we want to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to say “yes!”
Lastly, pick a few ways to create traffic/leads and try to automate as much of that intake and lead generation as possible.
If you want help automating the intake process for your firm, definitely check out our tool, Visto Leads, as well. This has saved me dozens of hours in qualifying leads, while building trust and converting more leads into clients as well.
Hope this was helpful, and best of luck with your immigration practice!