If you want to gain new clients, you need to understand their goals and efforts. To improperly assess a potential partner, especially in front of them, can be a careless mistake that is easily avoidable. There are many cases in which attorneys, understanding the field of law their potential client is dealing with, can seriously impress and lock up a deal immediately. However, such agreements can not materialize if common pitfalls are experienced.
There are important tips and tricks below that can illuminate your process to signing a contract and building a long-term business relationship. However, these must be supported by a genuine dedication to your clients and understanding their issues they’ve come to you to solve. Considering the negative reputation the media has pushed about attorneys, this can often be the first step.
Research is Your Key
Ultimately, it will be up to you and your staff to create an appropriate portfolio of knowledge regarding your potential clients. Many times this research needs to be aided by further knowledge of their industry and particular portions of state and federal law regarding these laws. Some larger firms will have paralegals or researchers that had been part of several large economic fields, but chances are you run a small firm with a few dedicated employees.
This increases the responsibility on you to do the research with your team to find some crucial data.
- Find the Records: The internet, a few well placed phone calls, and public records are often a good first step in determining a good knowledge of the client. Understanding recent issues, business strategies, and potential legal issues are key portions of understanding their frame of reference. Many companies are more than proud of their record and accomplishments and looking for aggressive expansion. You can often find a myriad of data on their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Many will publish their quarterly reports online for public review. It is not uncommon to see a full client list available on their site.
- Know the team: Make sure to understand as much of the key figures of the company or organization you’re dealing with. The CEO, CFO, board members, current attorney, and other important members are able to help you create the interpersonal relationships needed for a long term partnership.
- Deal is in the Details: The more you understand particular information about the organization you’re dealing with, including their financials, goals, markets, competitors, and more the more you will be able to show expertise and impress. Determine if there would be any potential conflicts in working with this group and how your experience would affect their operations.
Crafting the Meeting
Bring your most verse members of your team to meet with the other party. Understanding the key nuances of what your potential client is looking for will make all the difference. Having questions involving specifics about their company can show dedication and forethought. Preparing for any potential issues the company could have with hiring your firm will enable you to parlay these into strengths.
Your dedication and hard work will show. Many law firms fall into the issue of not going the extra mile. Your understanding of clients’ needs will spread as your firm expands. You will gain a reputation that will be hard to beat and continue to strengthen due to your attention to detail and effort.
Michael Ehline is a Los Angeles based personal injury and product liability attorney. He passed the bar through the Abraham Lincoln method of reading the law before graduating from law school. Ehline gained notoriety in his field after winning hundreds of suits for clients and receiving industry honors. Ehline writes advice columns for up and coming attorneys to ensure they can avoid common pitfalls while building their firm.
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