As appeared on LinkedIn on June 13, 2023. Be prepared.
I was fully prepared for today. It was the first time I used doggy daycare for my puppy Lucy. With advanced planning, I packed Mrs. Lucy Doberman’s food, shiny new bowl and her favorite toy. Yet I recall there were plenty of times when I forgot an important occasion-based necessity. I was the child who went to ballet class and left my dance slippers at home. Becoming a list-maker and putting workable systems in place helps me as a grown-up.
I can recall more than a handful of times in legal marketing when I would ask a lawyer heading to a new business pitch, “Do you need anything to prepare for your meeting?” The answer would come back, “I have everything. We’ll prepare on the ride on the way to the meeting.” I would shudder inside.
Here is a quick reminder on some of the basics to “bring along” when preparing for a new business meeting:
First and foremost, be current on the prospect’s business and industry. There are several ways to do this, and if you’re fortunate to have a marketing department to help, you’re steps ahead of the game by involving them.
Think about the legal problem in advance. Read the applicable pacer reports or filings and have a good idea of what the prospect will likely want to discuss. While being a great listener is vitally important to the meeting, spend time to consider some approaches you may want to discuss.
Know the most recent news impacting the prospect. If it involves a public company, check their stock price for the day, any recent 10Qs, other filings, and any regulatory news that may impact them.
Know as much as you can about the people with whom you’ll be meeting. Review their social media. Find out if any firm alumni are now in place at the company, or who else at your firm knows whom at the prospect’s company. If they are public, find out if your firm has any connections with the board. (Technology, particularly a strong CRM program, will help you do this without much effort.)
Plan and if possible, rehearse your approach to the meeting. Each person should have a speaking role, and know the purpose of the meeting, and the firm’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition.)
The materials you bring along, send in advance or use to follow up, are important, but it’s the nuances that move the conversation ahead that will impact the discussion.
It’s not the number of pitches you make in a month that makes a difference, but the quality of preparation that moves the needle.