Posted by: johnocunningham | March 31, 2017

GC Tips on How to Pitch to a Client

Law firms that pitch their expertise to savvy corporate clients may want to consider the advice of Dennis Garcia, Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft, who recently penned an article on the subject of making legal sales pitches for Bloomberg Law.

He neatly summarized some of the key factors to successful pitch-work, and I have inserted some of my own comments (parenthetically) as follows:

  • Start Strong (don’t build to your key point – just make it)
  • Know Your Audience (learn and understand the business of the potential client before you pitch)
  • Keep It Simple (corporate clients want to hire someone who can make the complex seem simple, and not vice-versa)
  • Differentiate Your Firm (don’t say the same stuff your competitors do, and know your competition, so you can distinguish yourself from them)
  • Highlight Client References
  • Follow Up on the Pitch (not only seeking constructive feedback, as Garcia suggests, but responding to any points or questions raised by the potential client in your meeting)

As a former General Counsel who have interviewed many other Chief Legal Officers, I would add that it is very important to spend time listening to the potential client and asking carefully crafted questions about what they need, value and want from outside counsel and vendors in general. To do this well, you will need to do your homework on the people you are meeting before you walk into the room. Learn as much as you can about what they love and hate, both professionally and personally. You should also make sure that you bring the right players into the room – assembling a pitch team that fits with the personalities of the people in the room, and the culture of the potential client.

One other key point – you should consider your first meeting with a potential client to be like a first date. Don’t be overly aggressive because that is a turn-off. Just be interested, thoughtful and trustworthy to earn a second date. On average, it will take you several impressions to make a sale with a new target.


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