Monday, March 14, 2016

Avoid ‘Seen it Before Thinking’

Actors live by the 'call back'. They know they've auditioned well when they get the call back. Lawyers get call backs too. Whether or not you get a call back depends on how well you auditioned- it depends on how well you conduct your first meeting. 

Many first meetings with prospective clients fail because the lawyer doesn’t take the time to learn about the client's particular issue. They assume the issue is like others they have handled and proceed directly to discussing a proposed solution and why the firm or the attorney is best suited to solve their problem. After all, the client has sought you out, so it’s easy to think that you have the answers to their problems.

But ‘seen it before’ thinking can cause you to miss important details, or misjudge how the client needs the work to be done or the level of expertise they require. Keep an open mind and assume you don’t know the answer until you're sure you know the client. 

In every proposal there are ‘deliverables’ or solutions and there is the ‘approach’ to the work- or how the work will be done. You know what the deliverable needs to be. You’ve delivered this solution before. But your approach- how you get to the deliverable- may need to be entirely different. That’s what the first meeting does: it gives you the necessary insight into how to approach the problem to find the right solution for that particular client. Make sure you are listening. Don't stop listening once you know 'what needs to be done'. You could miss the most important piece of information the client has shared with you.