Wednesday 23 May 2018, London
Anna Lind – Director, Client Relationship Management, JLL, welcomed everyone.
Each of the speakers took one of the elements of the virtuous circle of client focus: building relationships, pricing & proposals, doing the work and post-transaction activity.
Building Relationships: Tracey Byer – Head of Client Development, EMEA JLL
Connecting with clients
Why should you care about relationships?
Tracey presented figures which said that the contributions to customer loyalty were:
Has technology changed customer decision-making?
Tracey showed a model that stated that since end of 2015/early 2016 people are using the web to assess options – so eroding the role of sales. 81% of customers get in touch at the decision stage causing disruption to the status quo.
She showed a Harvard Business School model which maintains that the traditional relationship where the information and interaction flowed from product/ to seller/ then to buyer has reversed and now flows buyer/ to seller/ to product. This means that marketing’s role of making the buyer aware of the offering is vital.
How automation is changing the business: is your firm aligned?
In the light of the above – the roles are:
Interestingly, due to the importance of messaging, Tracey said she’s aware of some firms hiring journalists.
Why do people buy from you/ your firm?
Carnegie Institute of Technology:
“85% of firms’ success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Shockingly, only 15% due to technical knowledge”.
Pricing & Proposals: Steph Hogg – Validatum Limited
Understanding client and procurement needs
Steph put her presentation in the context of a quote from Buying Legal Council: the ‘noose’ is getting tighter.
Strategic Buying needs Strategic Selling
She underlined the importance of preparation and that you must be in touch with clients in advance of a tender as otherwise it’s too late. That people buy from people, that the business priorities determine the buying targets and that a buyer has to demonstrate value, manage and report on the money. Relationships and trust take years to nurture and are broken in an instant!
Who’s actually buying your services?
Teams include in-house legal, business, procurement and finance people – all with different motivations and agendas. Steph referenced the General Counsel Excellence Report which showed that primary factors were top-rated individuals, focus on the sector, business expertise, reputation, brand and then cost.
Business leaders are looking for:
So firms need to be clear on what the client is getting for the money.
Procurement’s motivation – is savings. They are typically charged with x10 FTE salary in savings. Finance teams are keen to meet objectives within budget unsurprisingly.
Request for Proposal Typical Selection Criteria:
E.g. who are you pitching to? A mixed race, mixed gender team: therefore has a mix of interests and personalities and so a better chance of building rapport (how they feel about our team, whether the could trust us) so matching makes a difference.
The weighting of criteria changes every time you pitch so those who have a head start on the relationship have a head start on the procurement.
Altman Weil 2017 Client Survey
Showed guaranteed pricing is most valued. We can do this by giving an overview on pricing, giving transparency and sign-posting, and if there is a change explaining why early. Otherwise supplier will get the blame in the face of sudden overruns/ billing huge WIP/ or missing a bulk discount.
Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) quote:
“The big joke is that when procurement departments deal with law firms, lawyers give discounts in 5% chunks. Can you imagine that happening in other industries? When you're negotiating with, say, a photocopier supplier, they'll say something like: ‘the most we can give you is 0.83% discount on that product’. But lawyers choose 5, 10, 15 or 20%. It's hilarious!”
Be more consultant!
Doing the work: Polly Fox – Senior Disputes Lawyer, Transport for London
Irritants to avoid!
Polly’s comments were as an individual not as a representative of Transport for London. Polly used lots of examples to bring to life the ‘irritants’ that in-house lawyers have when dealing with outside legal teams:
Post-transaction: Dominic Green – Head of Data and Research Products, Deloitte
Think about what’s next and what you need to do and who should do it
Dominic looked at demonstrating value post transaction. He introduced his model Focusing relationship activity which looks at the Nature of the Service at the centre with frequency, changeability and multidisciplinary elements at three points of a triangle.
The way that you are interacting with a client determines what course of action to take e.g. focus on deepening relationships, focus on service delivery or focus on broadening relationships:
Dominic also looked at Triad of practice development (adapted from Penczak, 2013) which talks about Sales, Marketing and Fee-Earners being in opposing roles.
He also talked about Managing the Professional Service Firm (Maister, 1993) which has a hierarchy of roles with Finders at the top, Minders in the middle and Grinders at the bottom.
The presentation closed with questions.
Francesca Ayers, Get Serious