Thursday, October 22, 2009

Focus on Client Closes the Sale

"How can I help you?" This simple question prompted an international financial services company to retain an AmLaw 100 attorney I met in NYC this week.

Recalling the incident, the winning attorney described how he was in competition with many other highly qualified lawyers for this prized account. Rather than spend most of the client meeting describing his many accomplishments, however, this experienced practitioner chose to give only a brief background of his experience.

The bulk of the client meeting was then devoted to a discussion of the prospect's business goals, as well as the obstacles that stood in the way of their success. Skillful questioning by the attorney helped to uncover U.S. regulatory requirements that were inhibiting growth plans, as well as some of the workarounds that had already been considered.

The international financial services firm later explained that other attorneys spent most of the allotted interview time talking about themselves, leaving little opportunity to address the client's needs.

The learning here is that the basic act of listening can be a winning formula for new business development. Demonstrate a sincere interest in helping a prospect succeed, and you may do so as well.

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