No matter which time of year you choose to conduct a client meeting, it will be welcomed by clients. And, it helps energize members of the firm when they have good meetings with clients. These obviously are not meetings for which you charge a fee, but rather meetings which focus on the relationship with the client or contact. Whether it’s the beginning of a new year to review the last year’s activities, or the end of a year or mid-year to check-in, consider scheduling meetings, virtual or live (but not by phone—the point is to “meet” with the client) to discuss one and/or all of the following:
Year-End Review (an update or recap of important matters worked on during the year)
A Client Service Interview (formal or informal client satisfaction and service commitment review)
Annual PlanningSession (discuss business plans, initiatives, and aspirations for the upcoming year)
This proactive approach achieves the “top of mind” mindshare that we seek and also affords us the ability to be viewed as a trusted business advisor.
Client Service questions to consider (and you will want to come up with your own for each client or contact relationship):
How would you describe the relationship with us?
What would you consider the essential elements of a professional relationship?
In which specific areas could we improve?
How would you describe the quality of our work?
Regarding value, how do we compare to other law firms?
Would you suggest any changes?
Upcoming year planning questions to consider:
What are your top three priorities this year?
Can you describe your goals and objectives for the coming year?
What potential challenges does the company face?
Where do you see the business going in 1, 3, or 5 years?
What are the critical company initiatives for the upcoming year?
What growth opportunities do you foresee in the future?
What are the most significant challenges you are facing in the legal department?
What is currently working in the legal department? What is not?
How do you see using outside counsel to help you achieve your goals?
What criteria are used for selecting outside counsel?
What areas provide the greatest opportunities for improvement?
As you think about your outside law firms, are there future projects for which you would consider working with our firm?
Always close with a recap of the meeting and next steps based upon your understanding of the client’s needs. Schedule a time to follow up (including dates and times).
About the Author: Silvia Coulter is a Co-founding Principal of LawVision Group. Silvia Coulter is widely regarded as one of the legal industry’s most experienced business development and leadership consultants. Her experience includes working as a former strategic account executive and sales leader at a Fortune 50 company, a chief marketing, and business development officer at two global law firms, and consultant and facilitator to professional services firms across the globe. She was an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies in the Master’s in Law Firm Management program (2010-2019), a co-founder of the Legal Sales and Service Organization (www.legalsales.org), a Past Elected President of the Legal Marketing Association, and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She is a frequent speaker and facilitator at professional service firm retreats and legal industry meetings. Silvia is the co-author of three books: The Woman Lawyer’s Rainmaking Game, Rainmaking Advantage, and SAM-Legal: From Key Clients to Strategic Accounts (due out 2020). For more information, please contact Silvia L. Coulter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-697-4869.