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August 3, 2012

Client Growth Specialist Shares Strategies at ABA Annual Meeting

If you want to stand out to potential clients, “it’s not about selling yourself,” said Nancy Mangan, senior consultant and client growth specialist with the Wicker Park Group, speaking to lawyers at an Aug. 3 program of the ABA Annual Meeting. Rather, “it’s about selling a solution you have to their problem.”

Client Growth Specialist: What Clients Look for in a Lawyer

  • Understanding of their business,
  • Responsiveness,
  • Controlled legal costs,
  • Good project management, and
  • Good communication and listening skills.

Nancy Mangan,
Wicker Park Group

The program, “Meeting Client Needs by Understanding What Clients Want,” sponsored by the Section of Litigation, examined what potential clients are most concerned about when they search for a lawyer. In addition to Mangan, panelists included Monte Williams of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, and Sebastian Kaplan of Fenwick & West LLC. The program was moderated by Paula Hinton of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Among tips and best practices for obtaining and retaining loyal clients, panelists shared these gems:

Create short, specific proposals for potential clients. Do not flood them with pages of general information or statistics about yourself or your firm. Instead, focus on explaining what you can do to meet their needs.

Establish face-to-face interaction. Organize an in-person meeting with potential clients to connect with them on a personal level. Mangan has found that many firms do not follow up with their potential clients to the detriment of their business. Clients want to work with those who have established a personal connection with them, she explained.

Identify client needs, anticipate future challenges. Clients are more willing to choose lawyers who not only determine what clients want, but also offer them a bigger picture on their present and future needs.

Provide targeted business messages, not mass-produced ads and newsletters. There is a time to use ads and other marketing materials, but Mangan explained that if you do not have a specific target in mind, you will waste your time with this strategy. Targeted messages are personal and are less likely to be ignored or discarded by potential clients.

Develop solutions that address client problems. If clients have issues on which you and your lawyers have little experience handling, bring in an outside expert with answers. That will give you an edge over the competition and show a high level of commitment to clients. Also, when developing lawyer training, focus on material tailored to client needs, rather than attending broad, general seminars.

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Learn More About:  Annual Meeting 2012Litigation