Many marketing professionals have been in a situation where they are packed up and leaving the office when a partner comes by and says they need a promotional package for a perspective client they are meeting first thing in the morning. Generally what will happen is the marketing person will sit back down at their desk and put together a package of material, much of which is available on the website, so that the partner has something to give to the client as a take away the next morning.
Funny thing is, potential clients don’t want it.
Often, not always, these packages are put together with little or no information about the perspective client, the matter, or full scope of the project. Often this initial meeting is based on a recommendation and the particular lawyer’s reputation. The fact is, putting together a package before understanding the project may actually limit the firm’s ability to get the client signed up, limit further work that may be available for other members of the firm, and alienate the prospect.
Here is the problem. By putting together a package prior to meeting, the law firm is basically saying, “It doesn’t matter what your issue is, we can solve it and here is the team that will do it.”
By presenting the package after the meeting, using it to show understanding of the matter and developing a team (if necessary) that is capable of resolving the matter puts the firm in a completely different light. It shows you listen. And clients want lawyers that listen.
The best practice is to research the potential client and provide that information to the partner (sorry marketing colleagues, you still have to stay and do the research), have a debrief after the meeting and then develop customized material based on the true needs of the prospect. This approach will go a long way in developing a long standing relationship with the prospective client.
And no matter how many times a lawyer tells you “this situation is different”, it’s not.