Friday, January 29, 2010

Super Bowl of Client Development Tips

Super Bowl of Client Development Tips

Legendary football coach John McKay In response to a question about his team's execution said - "I'm all in favor of it."

We are just in the 1st quarter of this year but is momentum wearing your teams colors or are you already playing a couple of scores down?

I had a manager fresh out of college that was a Tennessee grad and spoke almost exclusively in football clich├ęs. Was a great manager and still good friend. Although some of them were a stretch, they rattle around in my mind when thinking about client development and sales opportunities from time to time. Here are some of my favorites that I hope you will enjoy:

Getting a deal comes down to blocking and tackling: How are you on the fundamentals of planning. How are you executing on each move? What is your plan for the 1st hour of the day? Who are you calling? What are you doing? Look at successful people and are they executing the little things all day or relying on a big play to pull them through.

Goal line stand: Protect your brand. Protect your name. Protect what you are about. When it gets down to there it is who wants it more.

Punt: Risk/ reward. Sometimes the best deals are the ones that you never make.

Matriculate the ball down the field: If the goal is to score and ultimately win, what does everything that leads to that look like? It’s the actions that set up other actions, deliverables that lead to the final result. What measurable events (10 yards at a time) are you planning and executing on to get to your goal? How do you identify areas where you can do better the next time you have a chance?

Calling an audible: When faced with competition that has you matched well, change the play in your favor.

Executing the 2 minute offense: When the pace is picked up and time is not on your side, where does precision come in? It comes from preparation, teamwork, communication. Everyone has their role and everyone is dependent on each other to do their job.

Nose for the football: Know when a play is about to be on, anticipate, and make your move. Always be looking and listen for opportunities. Be in position to capitalize.

Don’t be the quarterback with happy feet: When the pressure is on, questions are flying at you, you may not have as much time as you think, slow things down in your head and rely on your ability.

Pin your ears back and go after them: When your competition is back on their heels a bit, aren’t executing, and you have momentum, go after them. You do them no favors by letting them believe they are better than what they are.

Hand the ball to the official after a touchdown: Scoring touchdowns are what you are supposed to do. Winning, growing business, executing, is why you are hired, and what is expected. Act like you been there before and just hand the ball over..

Gut check time: I’ll never forget what my manager said on a low day in his office. I had produced a few excuses for a bad sales month and he said, “Whatever problem you think you have, you will own it. If you think people won’t buy because of this reason or that, they won’t. Use any excuse you want, they all work..” If you think you can’t develop clients because you are an associate or never have before, you won’t. You have to see yourself above your plan. Everything you do from that point on is an exercise in getting there.

Have a firm retreat coming up or want to get your team all pulling in a higher revenue direction?

Looking for speakers through lunch and learns or webinars/ audio conferences? Have had tremendous feedback on customized presentations specific to individual firms goals and plans. Please read some testimonials at

Please contact me: Andrew Wilcox,, 850-893-8984.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does your firm have a client retention strategy?

Does your law firm have a client retention strategy?

So much time and effort is spent on new client development. The national average on client attrition is between 12-15% from year to year. How does your firm compare to this average?

What is striking are the issues as to why clients leave at all. Has your firm measured the value of retaining each client %? How much would that mean to your bottom line?

According to a recent study by Lexis Nexis:

  • Clients that have more than 5 partners working with them, 90% of them stayed with the firm.
  • Although clients that had 100% of the work done by partners were only 50% likely to stay with the firm
  • Clients that stay with a firm/ lawyer for more than a year were 80% more likely to stay with them for the long term.
  • 35% of the clients that used a firm for one area of practice ceased using the firm after the issue was completed.

Bill rates had very little to do with retaining clients. Low price shoppers were more likely to leave anyway.

So when forming your client retention strategy, how do you optimize efforts? Understanding that some clients are best not held on to for a variety of reasons.

Have business conversations with business people. Are your attorneys talking with a single point of contact (General Counsel) about legal matters? Have you considered talking with the C-suite or VP of HR about their business related legal issues? May secure labor an employment work for someone in a referral network, or products liability work, or transactional work.

Establish success metrics- How do you and how does your client want the attorney/ client relationship measured? Can you discover metrics beyond wins and losses to save your client money, time, resources? What is the value of your work to your client? Is this a client that makes sense for you to retain, or is it costing you money?

Build your bench - Associates are your future partners. What is your firm’s succession strategy to get associates involved in partner matters like client development. The clients should be comfortable with the firm’s talent and resources from the receptionist to the managing partner. Free up the time for partners to do more client development. Consider what work your associates can help with and gain greater understanding around to ultimately better serve your clients?

Qualify, Qualify, Qualify… There are 2 winners in the client development game. The firm who gets the client and the firm who got out first without spending time, money, resources that could have been better spent elsewhere. If your bill rate is $650/hr and this is a prospect that won’t pay more than $500/hr, then move on to other prospects. If this is a prospect that understands the value and doesn’t treat legal work as a commodity, they will pay your bill rate.

Do you have a firm retreat coming up? Let’s discuss how to merge your marketing plan with your attorney’s client development and retention efforts through Client Development Process.

Email me at You may also visit my website 850-893-8984