After all your efforts to connect and build relationships with a potential client, don’t forget the most important step: asking for their business! As I’ve detailed in my article “May I Have the Pleasure of Working With You?” you can sell yourself short by not directly asking a prospective client for his or her business. For many lawyers, directly asking for someone’s business feels taboo and uncomfortable. Consider this: if you don’t ask for an individual’s business, you don’t give them a chance to say yes… or no!
It might be a conversation that feels unnatural when first put into “practice,” but as with any new effort, practice makes perfect. Below are some examples of how to easily incorporate a business ask into your normal conversation:
1) I have enjoyed getting to know you through our work on the board over the last few years. I am interested in learning more about your business and ways in which we may be able to help. Could we meet briefly after the next board meeting?
2.) I believe that the attorneys in our real estate practice group have experience that is well aligned with your company’s legal needs. Perhaps I could introduce you to several of my partners to discuss ways in which they could assist?
3.) While I’m uncomfortable broaching this topic, and would never want anything to jeopardize our friendship, I want to discuss the opportunity for our firm to represent you in connection with some of the acquisitions you are contemplating. We’ve known one another for several years and I have never felt comfortable asking, but I practice in the area in which you are using legal counsel and I think I can be helpful. Our relationship is one built on a foundation of trust and understanding, both qualities that would transfer well into a business capacity.
4) If conflicts ever arise with your current counsel, would you consider giving our firm an opportunity?
5) How can our firm be added to your preferred provider list? The likely answer is that they don’t have a list, in which case you ask: How do you decide on what firms to retain? What criteria do you look at? How do you choose your attorneys?
6) Working with you and your group on this transaction has been great. Are you contemplating projects where we could be of further assistance?