42% of clients don’t want to hear your pitch — or anyone else’s pitch.
“I know the players, I know the partners, and if I don’t — I ask somebody I know. We don’t do pitches.”
– EVP and General Counsel, Large Financial Services Organization
“If I don’t know who I want to use, I rely on my network to learn who is good and who isn’t. Pitches don’t mean much so I don’t do them.”
– Senior Counsel – Litigation, Global High Tech Company
“Why go through it; I’ve been in this world a long time, I know how to find a firm. Pitches — not for me, no thanks.”
– Senior Counsel, Large Manufacturer Undergoing Transformation
“ I saw a great article on LinkedIn one of my friends liked — it got my interest. I called the author. We are working together today.”
– Deputy General Counsel, Large High-Profile Biotech
You can’t land these clients without serious business development and great client service. They hire the old-fashioned way — they observe, listen, research, talk to others, and talk to you. It won’t seem like an interview, but it is. And they make snap judgments — it just feels right or it doesn’t.
They have mostly complex matters, pay premium rates, and expect a lot more from you. They are also the most likely to develop a long-term relationship.
Here are 6 proven tactics to get this coveted business:
Elevated thought leadership — something someone has liked, commented on, or was sent to them by a trusted peer.
Be immediately prepared to provide the name of an attorney for additional work your client might need. As this corporate counsel shares “I always ask the lawyers I work with. If they immediately tell me a name I know I can trust it — if they have to check I don’t.”
Offer a CLE before they ask — especially around upcoming needs.
Invite them to be part of a small intimate client roundtable where you gather a small group of clients to discuss current issues and strategies. After your first 2 meetings, invite attendees to bring a friend to the next one.
Stay in voice communication — these clients will let you know how their needs are evolving and you will have time to find the right person at your firm if you don’t already know them. If you’re not talking to them you will never know.
Send educations snippets — short-interesting tidbits of information about the law, their industry, competitors, and your firm. Your client will look for these, and the more you send, the more likely your client will share their future needs.
Success with these clients demands a systematic approach. You will win new business with these clients with a continuing stream of communication, insights, and interest. You may also get a call if your existing clients talk about you in casual conversation with their peers. Always be ready because you never know when your phone might ring.
The MAD Clientist