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The Red Zone


By Allan Colman, Managing Director, the Closers Group:

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1. Offering to handle and manage what inside counsel already have the skills to manage.

2. Relying on good results but not working on the relationship.

3. Offensive humorous comments.

Conducting comprehensive research on your clients and prospects, both as individuals and on their companies is one of the single most important components to successfully closing a new engagement. Yet it is one of the major reasons in-house counsel do not retain firms. Sure, winning a major piece of litigation, completing an acquisition, settling a strike are all positives.

But if you ignore continuing to build the client relationship, you will face "I just won a major victory for my client. Why hasn't she called me?" So do your homework. If you do have services which can replace those currently being conducted by in-house counsel, offer to do so only if you have previously learned that they want to contract them out. Don't independently offer to handle and manage what they can already do.

The third failure may occur when a completely innocent humorous comment is made by a colleague during a pitch or presentation meeting. You must know who will be in the room from the in-house group and learn enough about their backgrounds to avoid the problem. This is one of those areas where you may not get the work and never be told why.

In the next blog column, we'll discuss additional foibles committed by attorneys when trying to win more business. Allan Colman


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