Power Niche Marketing: Why Should I Hire You?

Pitching for legal work — or any kind of work — has a lot of subtleties of course. This includes establishing trust and rapport and much more — but ultimately you have to be able to answer a simple question that the prospective client is asking you overtly or impliedly:


If you don’t have a strong, powerful, unreserved, confident answer to this question, you have completely blown it. And I mean completely blown it.

That is what the prospect wants to know. That is what the prospect wants to take away from the meeting and if you don’t have an answer to that question you have missed your chance.

So now I ask you a question: When you prepare yourself for a pitch, do you sit down with a colleague and have the colleague ask you flat out:


And then – play-acting — do you answer it? I don’t mean saying to your colleague, “what you would say,” but actually answering it exactly the way you would say this to the prospect when the prospect asks you this question at the pitch.

If you don’t do that, why on Earth not?

I guarantee that if you do the foregoing play-act, you will be disappointed in how awkward you sound at first. But if you play-act a few times, or a bunch of times, or even a lot of times, you will be impressed with yourself and how incredibly good you sound.

And of even more importance, you might be puzzled at first and wonder why the prospect would in fact hire you. Maybe at first you can’t think of a reason and you will have to really think about it until you do come up with a reason.

In any case, without belaboring this point too much, one way or another you need an answer to this question that is — as I said — strong, powerful, unreserved, and confident.

You may be thinking at this point, I have been to a bunch of pitches and no one has ever actually asked me this specific question, so, Bruce, what are you talking about here?

That is a good question and there are two answers:

The first answer is that the prospect is thinking about this question even if she isn’t actually asking.

The second answer is that the process of figuring out how to answer this question is going to underlie and overlay your pitch meeting anyway. And if you have a strong answer it will come out one way or another during the pitch and resonate strongly to your benefit.

So, to conclude, never — ever — go to a pitch without a great answer to the question:


Power Niche Marketing: Some Advice On Pitching You Might Not Have Thought Of

So you have a pitch set up. Now what?  Who should go?  Who should speak?  Who should do what?  How did you get the pitch?  What is the prospective client expecting to hear?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the people doing the pitch?  What is the one question you really hope the team isn’t asked?

At most law firms, everyone looks at each other awkwardly. No one wants to hurt someone else’s feelings. If Toby is a brilliant lawyer but trips over his tongue at a pitch, maybe he should be keeping his mouth mostly shut — but who is going to tell Toby that?

Or if the big cheese — maybe the managing partner — is going to the pitch, should she dominate the discussion or keep quiet and let others speak to get air time?  And who is going to tell the big cheese what her appropriate role should be?

There is a myriad of questions here and they are all personal to the people going to the pitch and the people who are going to be receiving the pitch.

But there is only one answer: everyone should check their egos at the door in figuring out who should do what. There should only be one single goal and that is making the right impression at the pitch.

This is easy to say — and I just said it — but it is difficult to do if there is an inherent awkwardness within the team in having this type of discussion. Let me delve into this important point.

Patrick Lencioni — in his incredible book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (affiliate link), puts forth the first dysfunction of a team as lack of “trust.” This doesn’t mean a concern that people will steal. Instead, he means that often Teammate A doesn’t “trust” Teammate B enough to be honest enough to say something like:

“Toby you really aren’t good at these pitches — you just babble too much — I am much better — let me do the talking.”

Yikes — that is awkward to say!  Isn’t it?  You could hurt Toby’s feelings. Yes, you could indeed. You could really upset Toby.

But what is your goal — preserving Toby’s feelings or doing a great pitch and landing a new client?

Do you “trust” Toby enough to tell him what he needs to hear and the team needs for success, or are you too afraid of honest confrontation?

Bottom line — teams that don’t “trust” each other enough to be honest about what each teammate is great at and what each teammate is poor at, are a lot less likely to have a successful pitch.