November 21, 2014
Have you ever watched The View? Whether the guest is a celebrity, politician or fashion designer, sometimes the hosts of the program become so vocal and passionate about a topic that no one listens to the guests – they merely talk over one another.
All too many professionals fall into a similar trap when they are trying to win new engagements. They spend too much time talking and not nearly enough time asking questions and listening to the needs of the prospects and clients.
An old adage says, “There are no dumb questions.” I would take that notion even further and say that when it comes to sales, business development and business generation, not asking the right questions is about as unwise as one can get. More important even than asking the right questions is listening to the answers, which serve to clarify your client’s expectations and offer an opportunity to expand the engagement.
What should you ask? If you have received client letters or have conversations in which your clients say something really great about your firm, consider those as well. Write down everything they say or write.
Also consider calling on your very best clients or simply ask them when you’re with them questions like:
Q. What do they like about your firm?
Q. Why do they refer business to you?
Q. What else would they like you to offer or provide to make their relationship with you stronger, better?
Further, involve your attorney teams since they work for your clients. They will have some different and interesting answers.
Q. Why do they think your clients hire you?
Q. If they could choose anything, what do they think your clients would want additionally from your firm?
Q. What do they think could be done to improve the client experience?
Q. What ideas have they seen from competitors that would work will with your clients?
The answers to these and other questions form your firm’s unique positioning statement. As opposed to the hosts of The View, who jump all over each other with a broad range of opposing opinions, good questions and listening to answers are at the heart of all your marketing and sales efforts.