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Business development—the pipeline to the future—is still a second-class citizen. It gets no respect. So many attorneys treat pitches as an afterthought. Clients see it, feel it, and know it. And these lightly prepared pitches don’t win the work.

Here are just 7 examples of how at least a few attorneys are treating pitches—and The Mad Clientist is thankful none of these attorneys are at your firm. So, enjoy and make sure you take the steps to win over these folks.

As one partner says to another when working on a pitch:

We can look at the website on the way to the pitch.”

 “We beat the crap out of (law firm) in court last year; of course we will beat them in the pitch.”

“I know they (potential client) asked us to discuss alternative fees but they are really just looking for how big of a discount they can get, so make it easy for them—cut the rates and skip the alternative fee dissertation.”

“The good thing about pitching to this company is they are so big you don’t really need to have a relationship with them to get the work.”

“The decision will be based on rates—how much can we cut them and still save face.”

“He just accepted my LinkedIn invitation—I think that’s a really good sign.”

“The RFP asks how our firm differentiates itself—we need to add more resumes in the proposal.

In some cases, the BD department was able to step in and help. In others, they presumably went to pitch the client and reviewed the website on their way there. Let’s hope they weren’t driving at the same time.

BD will eventually rise to the point of being able to rein in these rogue BD efforts. Firms will institute a line of authority over what pitches look like, who delivers them, and which prospects get pitched—making these anti-BD tactics a rare occurrence. But until then, we can dream.


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