Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when someone mentions pitching new business to clients? While selling your expertise and your practice’s services gets easier the more you do it, having a few formulas to rely on can help get you started and calm the jitters, too. Get ready for your next sales meeting with a current client by asking yourself (and answering) a few good questions.
Ask Yourself Some Core Questions
First, assess how things are going with the work you are currently doing for this client.
- How would you define your current relationship? Is there potential for better communication and interaction? Does the relationship need reinforcing?
- Is the client satisfied with your work? Are you sure the answer is yes? Is there room for improvement?
- Who are your relationship contact points—both within your firm and within the client’s business? Do those relationships need to be strengthened in case partners or executives move to other firms?
- How do you rank yourself on activities considered important to the client?
- How would the client’s team rank you on understanding their business, on client focus, on dealing with unexpected changes, and on commitment to their overall success?
Now, armed with your answers to the above and before deciding on the best approach to the client, ask yourself these additional questions:
- What internal pressures on your client might impact their receptivity to additional engagements?
- Who are the final decision-makers for engaging your firm’s services? Have you met the expectations and criteria important to them?
- After a review of the company’s recent legal history, requirements, litigation, business activity and new products or services, where are your openings to introduce further work?
- What other firms has the client used, for how long did they use them, and how does your proposed team compare?
It is much better to scrutinize your client relationships before seeking engagements for new business, rather than engaging in soul-searching after the chance for new work is lost. This process may turn up answers that are alarming or uncomfortable, but it allows you the time and space to improve while the client is still within the fold.
Allan Colman, PhD, is CEO of the Closers Group, a legal sales and business development training consultant and a motivational speaker. He is author of Own the Zone: Dominate the Competition, and co-author of the new book Lead Like a Boss. He is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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