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Client Engagement — Push and Pull

Are you married? If so, was the question popped on the first date?

These are questions I often ask lawyers who state they want a prospective client’s work immediately. Once they get over the surprise of this query, the answer is often: Yes, I’m married and as for proposing on the first date, no way – it would have seemed frightening or desperate.

Fright and desperation are often the reactions and perceptions of potential clients who are confronted with the questions: Who does your legal work? or Can you send me some files?

Better to engage first and build rapport that leads to a level of trust that could result in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Client engagement involves “push” and “pull” tactics. The difference between these tactics is that “push” places you in front of your target audience and “pull” draws them to you.

While the directness of asking for someone’s work can scare them, less intimidating but cost and time-intensive “push” tactics such as advertising, sponsorships, convention attendance, and trade show participation – to name only a few, may help build awareness to varying degrees.

“Pull” tactics tend to be a little more cost-efficient and familiar in nature. These tactics can include such things as article writing, blogging, speaking, surveying clients, media relations, hosting seminars or events, and if invited to do so and appropriate, offering advice for free.

Business development is about nurturing relationships. Your goal should be to engage, nurture and sustain partnerships with current and prospective clients who matter most to you.

And best to keep in mind that these important connections require respect, kindness, continuity, compromise and, above all, patience.

Just like any other meaningful relationship.

Heather Suttie is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on legal market strategy and management of legal services firms.

For 25 years, she has advised leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — on innovative strategies pertaining to business, markets, management, and clients.

The result is accelerated performance achieved through a distinctive one of one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage leading to greater market share, revenue, and profits.

The effect is accomplishment of the prime objective — To Win.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

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