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Business Development Mistake #6 – Pitching Instead of Questioning


Nobody wants to be pitched – especially not potential Clients. Instead, Clients want to be heard. They want to work with attorneys who take the time to listen to them in order to understand their business and their issues. These are the lawyers they think will ultimately be able to help them find ways to deal with or avoid these issues.

To become one of these attorneys – also known as a trusted advisor – stop pitching. Stop talking about yourself and your firm and how great you are and instead focus on the Client. Begin by asking targeted and insightful questions that allow you to explore the Client’s needs. This is often referred to as a Client needs interview.

During the interview after you ask a question, be quiet and listen. To be sure you are listening, use this formula: you should spend about 10% of the interview asking questions and another 80% listening. (OK, I know that some of you may now be second guessing your addition since math is not always a strong suit for many of us lawyers, but yes, you are correct if you realized this leaves only 10% of the time for you to talk).

Remember, people like to talk about themselves – so let them. While not talking may seem challenging at first, I promise that it will also be worth it. In most cases, the Client will perceive you as more interested in them and less focused on your own interests. This will reflect positively on you, especially since most other attorneys can’t or don’t do this. The Client may even come away from the interview thinking that you are a wonderful conversationalist. You’ll also be amazed at what you will learn. You will likely even discover opportunities for you or another attorney at your firm to help the Client – and develop some business in the process.

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