When I was a Jenkens and Gilchrist partner, our firm hired a consulting firm and paid them a lot of money to mostly tell us what we already knew.
One consultant told me I should “sell” our labor and employment lawyers and our environmental lawyers to my construction contractor clients. I replied that if we wanted my construction contractor clients to hire our lawyers in those two practice groups, the lawyers must first demonstrate their expertise and knowledge of the construction industry legal issues.
Later at a firm meeting the consultants shared their findings. After hearing our firm’s consultants talk about how we needed to “further penetrate” our clients, I created a short plan I called a cross-serving plan. Take a look at my thoughts and use them as a foundation to create a plan for your firm.
Objective: To expand relationships with your existing clients and provide services you are not currently providing.
Main Point: Selling will not work. Clients do not want to be sold. They want to buy, but only what they want and need. In order to get clients to buy other services, you must thoroughly understand their business, their perspective and their views of lawyers and of your firm. Here are some steps to follow:.
- Identify specific clients and client heads.
- For each client research and describe their business.
- For each client describe what you know about the client representative.
- Identify the legal work being done for the client in the practice areas.
- Put together a team to focus on finding ways to add value and serve the client in other areas.
- Prepare a client service plan (not a marketing plan) for each client, including specific activities to better know the client, the client’s business and the client representative.
- Identify and prepare list of “joint projects” that could be done for a client – not “cross-selling” but rather integrated services.
- Identify something extraordinary and memorable to “give” the client from the other practice groups (newsletters, white papers, guides, check lists, etc.). Keep in mind that if it is not extraordinary and memorable it will be ignored.
- Conduct regularly scheduled team meetings to discuss what is going on with the client and their business.
- If possible, set up meetings at no charge to learn more about the client’s business.
- Prepare a white paper on fully integrated services of the practice groups and how such fully integrated services would serve the needs of the clients.