How to reach out and support your clients

27 April 2020

Katie Cramond

Associate Director, Business Development Europe at McDermott Will & Emery

Katie Cramond, Associate Director, Business Development discusses the importance of reaching out and supporting clients while the world battles this global pandemic.

This is an unprecedented time for lawyers, for clients and for everyone. Whilst many lawyers may hesitate to pick up the phone for fear of being too “salesy”, now, more than ever it is vital that lawyers are reaching out and supporting their clients. As Stephen Revell mentioned in his introduction to the new edition of Business Development: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers, if you take one key lesson from the book it should be “When in doubt, act; don’t just make a list of actions”. As the world battles this global pandemic, you need to act to stay connected to your clients and be there for them.
However, how do you cut through all the COVID-19 noise and demonstrate to your clients you are genuinely there for them? Unsubscribe rates from law firm content have hit high levels over the last month as clients become bombarded with irrelevant content. Connecting with your clients on a personal, empathetic level will have much more impact than a purely business motive. Yes, you want to show you have thought about how the pandemic has disrupted their business and ways in which you can support them from a legal perspective. Yet, in my experience, connecting with them on the human level, on how they are finding working from home or home schooling, genuinely, will enable you to build a deeper, longer lasting relationship with your client. Trust, respect and a relationship are fundamental to retaining and developing business.
In my opinion, developing marketing collateral or a thought leadership on every COVID-19 topic under the sun will do little to differentiate you in the market; and frankly, will take up a lot of your time and resource. The best approach is to focus on your strengths, producing targeted and meaningful communications that provide your clients with insight. This is also a great time to explore or build upon your use of platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft teams and social media. Today’s environment is forcing all lawyers to use technology, so get creative! 
Many rules have gone out the window over the last few months but the fundamentals of business development activity remain the same. Stay consistent and personable and your clients will remember you were there for them during this difficult period.

Katie Cramond, Associate Director, Business Development contributed to Business Development: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers, Second Edition.