John Wooden once famously said:
Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
Practicing law also reveals character. Clients can tell when they first meet with you whether you are trying to help them or trying to sell them. I have never met a client or potential client who wants to be sold.
How can you demonstrate your focus is on them and not you? I have been asked several times by lawyers I am coaching for suggestions on what to do at first meetings with potential clients.
In a nutshell your success in these first meetings may depend in part on three simple ratios.
- The ratio of time you are talking compared to time they are talking.
- The ratio of questions you ask to statements you make.
- The ratio of the words you and your to we and our.
There is an appropriate time to tell the potential client about you and your law firm and how you can help the potential client, but it is usually late in the meeting and best in response to a question by the potential client.