Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pitching for New Business is Part Science, Part Art

Winning any pitch for new business and planning the pitch itself is part science and part art. There is a considerable body of proven science associated with the ‘pitch’ process and the client development process for lawyers and law firms -  which takes time, focus, knowledge, effort and discipline. Most lawyers are well versed in the substance related to the pitch or opportunity in front of them, but not as well versed in the “soft skills” – i.e. form, techniques, packaging and processes needed to win new work.

For example, studies show that approximately 80% of winning any pitch for legal services is attributed to thorough preparation, research, the pre-pitch interview, coordination, practice, rehearsal and follow-up. Yet, few lawyers and law firms have a system, routine or discipline for these crucial steps. Only approximately 20% of winning pitches are attributable to what actually happens or the substance that is discussed during the pitch itself, yet most lawyers spend the majority of their time planning and creating materials and slides for the presentation.

Other studies show that when the experience and competency levels of lawyers/law firms are on a similar level, the vast majority of new business pitches are won based upon “personal chemistry,” so it is important to learn all you can about each key client/potential client contact person before you contact and/or pitch them. Also, learn everything there is to know about their company, especially latest news and trends. Compile all legal work done in the past for similar and/or related companies. If you have marketing/business development staff at your firm, ask them to assist you in this process.

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