How does a client pick you, or your competitor?

Your potential client comes sets an appointment for the initial consultation. Nervous, he arrives at your office, sits down, and begins to explain his problem.

Now, this potential client can describe this problem to 100 different firms. The problem remains the same.

So how does this person choose you? Or how does this person make a decision to choose any other of the 99 firms?

  • Your academic credentials?
  • The size of your office?
  • If the free coffee was tasty?
  • If the chairs were soft?
  • The testimonials on your website?
  • The pictures on your wall?
  • If your suit appeared expensive?
  • Your commanding voice?
  • The courtesy of reception?
  • The graphics of your ad?
  • Your all-knowing nodding when he talks?
  • Your description of your fees?
  • The payment plan?

Unless we understand how prospects make their final decision, we will continue to miss potential fees and business.

Let’s just take a look at the first criteria potential clients use to choose who should represent them.

#1. Rapport.

Before the client begins to describe his problem, he senses if there is immediate rapport - or distance - between him and you. He wants to know that you understand and see the world, and his about-to-be-described problem, from the same viewpoint. If he feels you see the world and issues differently than him, he will be sceptical of all of your conversation.

A good example is when a leader of a political party speaks. If you are a member of that party, you naturally accept what the leader says as true. The leader has the same viewpoint as you.​

If you are a member of a different political party, then you will be skeptical and reject what the speaker says, because you have a different viewpoint.

So how do we let our potential client know that we have similar viewpoints towards the world?

We tell him one or two facts that we both believe to be true. For example:​

  • “The judicial process takes too long.”
  • “Big companies have a natural advantage because they can fund extended litigation.”
  • “If we can create a strong case, the litigation will go quickly.”
  • “A quick, yet fair settlement is what we want.”
  • “Unresolved legal issues are very stressful.”

Quickly our potential client realizes that we think the same and have the same viewpoints. Now you client can set aside his fears, scepticism, and stress, and feel great that he has found someone who will understand his problem and understand what he would like to do with his problem.

Yes, even before the problem is described, our potential client has used rapport to make the first step in his selection process. With instant rapport, our potential client will be less likely to hold back and will give us a truer picture of the problem.


School exams and reports.

Exam question: "Use the word diploma in a sentence".
Pupil: "Our pipes were leaking, so my dad called diploma."

Teacher: "Who can tell me where Hadrian's Wall is?"
Pupil:"I expect it's around Hadrian's garden!"

Biology teacher: "What happens when the human body is immersed in water?"
Student: "The telephone rings"

Teacher: "What does the 1286BC inscription on the mummy's tomb indicate?"
Pupil: "Is it the registration number of the car that ran over him?"

Teacher: "Where's the English Channel?"
Pupil: "I don't know. My TV doesn't pick it up."

Angry father: "Just look at this report card! Your friend John doesn't come home with C's and D's on his report card!"
Son: "No. But he's different. He's got really smart parents"

"I was thrown out of university in my first year. I cheated in the metaphysics exam. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me." - Woody Allen.




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