Lessons from LSSO – Common Sense Should Be Common Practice

At this year’s Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) RainDance Conference, there was no shortage of memorable takeaways. Keynote speakers dove into diverse topics, from how to be distinctive in order to win business to how to master a PowerPoint presentation. Over two days, a common thread was woven throughout the presentations: “Common sense” is not always “common practice,” but it should be.

For legal marketers, business development is often a pain point, and strategies to win new business often become confusing and jumbled. As Rick Davis discussed in his presentation “Are We Distinctive? Creating Compelling Experiences to Win More Business,” a good question to ask ourselves is “Does our business development approach reflect the way we serve?” The answer more often than not is no. So, how do you showcase who you really are to make your business distinctive from all others?

Davis mentions several key factors that clients are looking for when it comes to decision-making and what firms need to know when pitching their work. Potential clients want to be “wowed,” to know you are ahead of the curve, and to know why they should choose you. If your firm doesn’t answer any of those questions, then it’s time to change the way you play the game. Here’s how:

  1. Be Distinctive – This requires at least three characteristics: chemistry fit, relevant perspective, and collaborative style. Not all are necessary at once, but being able to identify a common thread will get your foot in the door.
  2. Get in Early –The notion of getting in early is common sense, but knowing what “getting in early” actually means and how a firm can accomplish this is not common practice. Understanding the client decision cycle is the first step. Put out receptors and listen to what the firm is saying or feeling. This may not yield concrete needs at first; maybe the firm hasn’t identified those “needs” yet, but understanding that there’s “motion” going on is the first step. This is the time to get in early, set up coffee or lunch to talk with a member of the firm, and start listening.
  3. Give a Glimpse – When you get in early, you have the luxury of forming a rapport within a potential client. They may not be able to articulate their exact needs, but at this stage they have probably articulated what is wrong. This is where you step in and show them what you can do for them. Address what is isn’t working and give examples of what you can do. Giving a glimpse will allow a potential client to visualize things, and help build an experience. An experience is much more memorable.
  4. Get their Fingerprint – You need to get a fingerprint on a client. All of the steps above will open the doors to a dialogue. What do they need? What is their pricing? What is their engagement approach? You also need to determine what your value-add is, and this can only be understood by asking! Ask what they need and what they are looking for – don’t assume.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Persuasive Business Presentations – Forget “Best Practices”

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