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The Red Zone

Lawyer Business Development

By Allan Colman, the Closers Group,

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LAWYER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT continues the discussion of what in-house counsel expect from outside counsel during the "courting" period. I have had outside counsel tell me they were surprised by the wide range of questions they were asked during a marketing presentation. And I've also heard from in-house counsel that they were surprised at how little information the presenters really had.

Pre-client meeting preparation is critical to winning a new engagement, even from a current or recent client. Close communications during any contact effort, whether pursuing new business or arranging for an in-house presentation, are critical to assess success, analyze and adjust to challenges, and keep on moving.

Be willing to ask questions such as what are the most important criteria to you in evaluating current client work including:

* Understanding their business * Client focus * Dealing with unexpected changes * Commitment to help, etc? Who are the final decision makers at the client, the user of your services plus a budget/financial executive?

In-house counsel recognize the need to provide this information but most won't volunteer it. They want to be asked as part of their evaluation process.


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