What's working and failing: sales and service pros tell all.

AuthorCunningham, John O.
PositionConference notes


Law firms are stepping up their game in sales and service in order to win and retain the clients that sustain them, and the tools they are using are increasingly numerous and diverse. That was one of the key themes that emerged from the 10th Annual RainDance conference hosted by the Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) in Boston June 4-5.

Highlights included presentations by a CEO, CMO, COO, chief strategy officers, a chief products officer, a panel of general counsel and other experts on:

* Building a sales culture and a winning strategy;

* Using process improvement and technology to deliver lower-cost services with better margins;

* The components of successful bidding on legal projects based on better pricing and budgeting;

* The use of social network mapping to effect change;

* The future of the legal services marketplace; and

* What clients really think about legal services and selling efforts.

Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham delivered a keynote address that focused on building a sales culture, noting that the historic sports franchise was moribund when he arrived, having a poor product on the floor and stuck in a mentality that you have to win games before you can sell tickets.

Gotham explained how the Celtics moved from a passive sales culture, which waited for fans to order tickets, to an active culture that targeted corporations, community organizations and families, offering them innovative ticket packages, chances to appear on the playing floor, in-seat visits from organizational ambassadors, and other incentives to buy.

By hiring a team of sales professionals, using regression analysis to determine optimal pricing and times for ticket releases, and coming up with alternative pricing for different days or nights of the week and different opponents, the Celtics started selling out games--and that is what paved the way for big-ticket free agent signings that returned them to glory.

DLA Piper COO Bob Bratt similarly showed the audience how his firm is building a sales culture, using sales professionals that research the marketplace, identify targets, do "cold calls," come up with cross-selling strategies, and help the firm grow against a backdrop of shrinking demand and increased competition. Bratt also warned about misdirected efforts in this environment, noting that "some RFPs are rigged" and suggesting to firms they are just bid fodder "if you have done no recent work for the prospect or have no...

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