"How Do I Make Them Like Me?" Partner Asks

Friendly_1 I was coaching a law partner about getting more business.  He had followed his plan perfectly: he found a target company, got a lead, and followed up to schedule a meeting.  Now he was concerned about the interview. "How do I make them like me?" he asked.

It was a sincere question from a bright, talented and experienced lawyer.  He had credentials galore but was having trouble with the "building a relationship" part, which is not unusual.

My advice was to arrive with five intelligent questions, such as "Tell me how this business problem is affecting your bottom line?" "What's the best business outcome for you if everything were to work out perfectly?" "Tell me how the board of directors and CEO are viewing this problem, that is, whom do we ultimately need to make happy?" And I added my two favorite questions: "Tell me more about that" and "What makes you say that?"

He still wasn't happy, and wanted to pitch them about his prestigious firm, his years of experience, bar association memberships and winning track record. I advised against it, suggesting instead he ask, "What do you need to know about me so that we can begin doing business?"

He was still worried.  So I suggested he start the meeting with his "30-second commercial." He had never heard of this.  As marketers know, it's:

  • A short capsule about your work so others will want to know more
  • Answers the question "What's In It For Me?"
  • Clear & concise
  • Contains no jargon or terms of art

A 30-second commercial has three elements:

  1. "I am........" (A corporate transactions lawyers with the Alpha Beta Delta law firm)
  2. "I work with...." (Describe the people you work -- GCs, CEOs, scientists, HR people -- with at the client and ideal clients in very specific industry or business
  3. "To solve..." (Describe the pivotal "trauma" you solve, and the business goals you help clients to achieve)

The commercial is designed to prompt questions from the other person, and to be used as a conversation starter.  When the partner heard this, he was thrilled.  All he needed was a way to get the interview started on the right foot.

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Stark County Law Library Blog - October 20, 2006 9:52 AM
Posted by Larry Bodine:
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