For all the talk of how the traditional law firm model is being disrupted by this trend or that, the key challenge for leaders remains, as ever, how to build something that lasts, something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Attorneys face a challenge unique within the business world. They must perform both tasks central to business development: performing excellent service (doing) and acquiring new clients in need of service (selling). As law firm leaders look to the future, how can they approach managing and developing their attorneys to be effective doers and sellers? Our webinar “Play Your Position” offers tools in two management areas:
Philosophies of Effective Selling
A successful plan begins with building your attorneys’ knowledge of effective selling. Selling requires the development of authentic relationships with prospective clients—a process that takes time and doesn’t always yield immediate results. Providing solutions to problems that need to be solved, and understanding that how you do what you do is as important as what you accomplish, are two ways to nurture these crucial relationships. A host of qualifiers will impact the path from first contact to closing the deal: the client’s problem, the solutions you propose, the sense of urgency, your access to the tools you need to solve it, the client’s expectations, and of course the budget. Anticipating each of these factors is key to successfully negotiating this path.
What is the biggest pain point you are currently facing in your role? Our webinar, From Good Law to Great Law™, polls showed that half of attendees are experiencing a pain point in regards to influencing lawyers to follow through on commitments. We also saw a large group (50%) that said an apathy or lack of lawyer engagement was the most challenging part of their role.
We're learning, with the voice of client research and aggregating insights from many reputable research organizations, what buyers of legal services are experiencing from high performing firms.
Our team is excited to attend LMA’s 2017 Annual Conference next week in Las Vegas.
This year, we’re going digital. You’ll see us active on LMA’s conference app, where you can win great prizes like gift cards and Fitbits. Don’t forget to download the LMA app and turn on notifications to easily win prizes.
Our recent webinar, "From Good Law to Great Law™: Building a Culture of Business Development and Distinctive Client Experience," sparked some great conversation among attendees. How do you build a culture of law that:
- develops and maintains authentic client relationships;
- understands and provides counsel in context of the client business;
- communicates in ways that build trust and loyalty;
- demonstrate appreciation for clients and their business;
- seek and act on client feedback;
- demonstrates care in billing and fees?
Law firm leadership is at a proverbial fork in the road. The people running law firms can continue to do business as usual, or they can lead their firms toward a model of business that reflects the new and still evolving client expectations and market demands.
Business as usual means trying to squeeze modest growth out of reduced expenses, increased billable hours, and hourly rate increases. That is how it has always been done, right?
I once saw a poster in a very successful lawyer’s office that I found to be rather motivational. It went something like this: “Every morning, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. So it doesn’t matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion, when the sun comes up, start running!”
Although it may seem like common sense, the 10 behaviors discussed here are not all that common. It takes hard work to be a good lawyer; it takes just a little more work to be a great lawyer. So start running.
Whenever I conduct a client interview for a law firm, the first question I always ask is “What do you like best about working with the firm?” The answer almost every time is that the primary lawyer “is really responsive and really knows my business.”
Think about this for a moment. In over 175 meetings with clients, that is the answer I get about 90% of the time. In the face of that data, how can we think that anything is more important to a lawyer’s professional reputation than being responsive and knowing the client’s business? Individuals and business clients of every shape, size, and industry want the same basic things from their lawyers.
A fundamental aspect of great lawyering is recognizing the importance of personalizing the relationship to some degree. In almost every client interview I have ever done, the clients have said that it is important for their lawyers to be “people we like to work with.” They want you to be someone with whom everyone at the client company (or family business or the association) likes to work. Personalizing the relationship does not mean that every client has to be your best friend; it does not mean you have to lavish them with fancy dinners or tickets. But clients make it very clear that “chemistry” matters.
There should be a note on every lawyer's desk that says, “What have I done today to make clients and others in my network more successful and more comfortable?"
One of a client’s best measures of a lawyer is whether or not they add value to the work and the relationship. Value means providing more than the basic legal work for which the client hired you. I have heard the word “value” described in many ways, but for a client working with a lawyer it almost always means: “I get something more than what I paid for."