Don't Call it a "Client Survey," Call it "Client Discovery"

Patrick Fuller Business of Law blogThe right words you use can make all the difference in getting a law firm's management to try a new marketing initiative.  This is certainly true in the case of client feedback surveys, which 60% of law firms don't do -- despite the fact that they are a great marketing technique.  So why not call them "client discovery" or an "external deposition" to give the lawyers some terms they can relate to, says blogger Patrick Fuller.

As a Business Development Executive with Thomson West, Patrick writes the Business of Law blog. "It may increase the internal adoption of marketing and business development concepts if marketers and business development professionals begin mapping their strategic initiatives to traditional attorney functions," he argues.

"For example, a colleague once described discovery to me as the most important function of trial preparation.  Discovery is defined as “The act of finding or learning something that was previously unknown”. All of the definitions and examples provided centered on a common theme – becoming enlightened to the facts and utilizing this newfound knowledge in a strategic matter.

I can understand why law firms spend so much time in discovery, as effective discovery techniques tend to make or break cases and separate the average attorneys from the great.

What I cannot understand is, if discovery is so important to every case, why is it not applied with equal intensity to business development?   Ineffective trial discovery can damage a case, which can ultimately lead to the loss of a client. Ineffective client discovery can ultimately cripple a law firm.

"An Internal Deposition is essentially a list of basic background questions about the client, their business, their industry, etc. that are answered prior to meeting with client. If executed correctly, internal depositions should generate very thorough questions for the potential client, which are asked during an external deposition. 

"An External Deposition is conducted with the client and should consist of questions generated during the internal deposition, along with questions that could not be answered internally, and should be visceral, compelling questions. Asking intelligent, thoughtful, open-ended questions based upon internal discovery is not only a great way to gain meaningful insights from a potential client – it’s also a great way to demonstrate both excellence and preparation and differentiate the firm from competition.

"The end result of the Client Discovery process should be a clearly defined strategic plan for executing an airtight client pitch by a confident and well-prepared team.  With the dissatisfaction rate of primary outside counsel by their in-house counterparts at an all-time high, conventional thinking should indicate that a tactical shift in law firm’s approach to business development is needed.

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end