When a client or prospective client talks with you about a legal problem, how do you set yourself apart from other lawyers in order to close the sale? Successful business developers are the ones that have successfully answered three questions in the mind of the client/prospect:

  1. Do you understand my problem?
  2. Will you deliver what you promised? (we’re not talking guaranteed results here, but the approach, value added, etc.), and
  3. How will you and your team fit in with those in my organization?

That’s what Mike McLaughlin at Guerilla Consulting tells us in an article entitled “The Ultimate Differentiator.” Since as lawyers we too are “consultants,” his advice is applicable to legal marketing as well.

He recommends:

  • Respond quickly (but only after understanding the issues involved) with your perception of the problem from their perspective, integrated with your experience, and with viable options;
  • Listen effectively (at least 50% of the time), don’t interrupt, and be careful to not use (legal) jargon when you speak;
  • Ask insightful, “killer” questions (one’s that demonstrate your knowledge and approach, and not canned, “out-of-the-box” sales questions); and
  • Do your homework about the client/prospect and be prepared to respond to the question “Why should we hire you?”

This is good advice on how to make yourself the ultimate differentiator when it comes time to closing the deal.