The Secret Sauce — Client Specific “Value”
A winning proposal needs to demonstrate that your law firm places a premium on providing value to its clients. Most importantly, the proposal must personalize its value-based approach to mirror the client’s definition of what constitutes value.
The longstanding value factors of industry experience, matter expertise, record of success, and client service are still critical. But as noted by one of the leading legal department global operations directors, these factors are table stakes to be invited and kept in the conversation.*
Beyond Table Stakes
To compete and win today, the proposal must demonstrate its strength in both the traditional value factors and an ever-expanding set of additional factors that include:
- Alignment on the relationship level - understanding the client’s industry, it's business, it's legal department and it's business success metrics
- Alignment on the matter level – agreement on where a specific matter sits (legal complexity, business risk/reward) and agreement on what constitutes a win
- Communication (e.g. scheduled touch points covering matter updates, end of matter review, formal/informal state-of-the relationship feedback)
- Collaboration (e.g. intranets, client teams, key client programs, 3rd party legal service providers )
- Operational excellence (staffing models, knowledge management, project management, process improvement)
- Special programs (secondments, CLE-accredited training, off-the clock advice, client conferences)
So how can you arrive at the winning “value” formula—the secret sauce—that will make your proposal the winning proposal? The value formula is driven by client preferences. You will need to uncover the value factors the client deems compelling and deliver a proposal that, at a minimum, delivers on those preferences. Uncovering the needed business intelligence to understand each client’s value factors requires two steps: research and conversation.
Research + Conversation
In The Proposal — A Look @ The Overlooked (Part 2 of this 5-Part series), we discussed the importance of conducting the research critical to understanding why the client issued the RFP—the backstory. If it’s an existing or past client the research also needs to include the client’s history with the law firm (e.g., key client contacts, experience database, CRM, informal/formal state-of-the relationship feedback history, matter management reports, accounting history).
But whether it’s an existing or potential client the lynchpin for crafting a winning proposal are the conversations you have with the client. Those conversations must ask the right questions of the right people.
THE RFP: WINNING THE BIG ONE
A Five-Part Series
# 1. Evaluation—Play To Win Or Pass
# 2. Proposal—A Look @ The Overlooked
# 3. Value Delivered—The Secret Sauce
# 4. Design Elements—More Than Words Can Say
# 5. In-Person Interview—Bring Your A-Game