Law Firm Business Development: “To Present or Not to Present”


Many of our clients ask us to help them with presentation skills and we’re more than happy to comply because this is an important skill to develop. But, there is a time and a place for “presenting.”

Presenting should be reserved for educating or technical training purposes. A “pitch” or “pursuit” meeting is not typically a forum for educating or training, but it is an opportunity for you and your team to make a connection with the client or prospective client. We, at LawVision, always say “People buy from people they like and trust, so it’s important to make a connection.” As consultants who deliver a great deal of training to lawyers and marketers alike, we do “present” a fair amount. Even still, we try to make these presentations as interactive as possible, thereby maximizing our opportunity to make that all-important “connection.” Despite our good intentions and diligence, sometimes it remains difficult to make a personal connection during a technical presentation. “Presenting” should not be the word that comes to mind when preparing for a “pitch/pursuit” meeting with a client or prospective client unless technical content is being delivered. The “pitch” meeting shouldn’t be a “pitch” at all; it should actually be a “discussion.” The lawyer who focuses on demonstrating how proficient she and her team are likely misses the boat when it comes to communicating to the client that they understand their needs and making a connection with the listener.

True rainmakers have discussions. They take time to understand their clients’ or prospective clients’ business, are immersed in their clients’ industry, have developed the ability to “share insights” on a topic that is interesting to the client or prospective client. Rainmakers share insights and engage clients (or prospective clients) in meaningful discussions, and rarely, if ever, “present” in a pitch situation.

So, focus on having fewer presentations and having more discussions. Share insights with your clients or prospective clients about what you and your colleagues are seeing in the marketplace, tie that insight to how you can add value to the prospective client, and I know that you will win more engagements.

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