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Client relationship scenarios described by senior practitioners in professional service firms

Asking for more work without appearing greedy or pushy

Q “We have just completed a large transaction for an energy client. It was the first significant matter we have handled for them. It was successful and our work was appreciated as good quality, responsive and value for money. My relationship is with the UK General Counsel but he has many good and close relationships with other City firms which date back over a number of years. How can I ensure that we win the next piece of work without appearing pushy or greedy?”

A You did not work so hard on this client to win only one piece of work and there is never a better opportunity to ask for more work. You may want to couch the request for work during a feedback meeting if this has not happened. Organize your questions well and emphasise how your main concern is to share learning and improve the overall service, reflecting on the good bits just as much as on any areas for improvement. Provide your ideas and seek the client’s input and views. A marked degree of enthusiasm and hunger for the work will help - not all your well-established competitors will feel the need to do this.

Ask them about their strategic aims and demonstrate that you can offer them something of value which will help them achieve those aims. Phrase you request for work in the terms of providing further help and support – “What have you got on the horizon that we might be able to help you with?” In other words, demonstrate a level of willingness, enthusiasm and genuine concern for their business that takes you ahead of the other advisers.

Overall, you have earned the right to ask for more work, you have the client’s ‘respect’, so seize the opportunity to ask for more in a style you feel comfortable with but do ASK!

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