The prospect wanted results — a reasonable request. Eileen endorsed his desire completely yet was smart enough to know that the specific outcome he craved was improbable. What should she do?

Here she was in an initial, “free” consultation talking to this prospect who was not yet her client. He had told her about consulting 2 other attorneys and was now interviewing her. Should Eileen tell him the “truth” based on her years of experience with the law? If so, he would surely leave and not return.

Her other choice was to identify his options and let him know how she would advocate for his rights – in essence, side with his crusade for justice and become a champion for his cause. As the prospect continued to speak passionately about his problem, she debated which course to take.

Deliver the “Truth”

Being highly intelligent, Eileen chose to deliver the “bad” news that it was unlikely he would prevail. As she suspected, the conversation ended shortly thereafter without his decision to engage her services.

While she knew that she had done nothing wrong, she reflected that this scenario had happened before where a prospect had a strong notion of what had to be done that was in opposition with how things worked legally. She wondered how she could have handled the conversation differently. Is there a way she could have served him better?

Be of Service

Eileen was intrigued by his case. A good legal mind can see so many nuances. Moreover, she felt how emotionally battered he was. As an undergraduate, she had studied psychology. Her juris doctorate plus knowledge of mental health issues made her uniquely qualified to help clients who had both legal and emotional concerns. In retrospect, she knew she could have helped him, not necessarily “win” his case, but make peace with this long-standing, intolerable situation.

While Eileen acted from her core values of being competent and accurate, what would the client have preferred? Clearly he wanted legal representation having consulted 2 previous attorneys. His behavioral style indicated that he was not interested in her knowledge of the law; rather, he wanted an advocate. Having come to this realization, Eileen is prepared to work with the next person in a different manner. She plans to listen more closely to the request and provide a response in keeping with the prospect’s values.

About Dr. Nancy Zare

A psychologist and retired professor, Dr. Nancy Zare has dedicated her life to helping people communicate more effectively. She coaches frustrated entrepreneurs who want more clients. She originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach people how to read personality styles, build better relationships, and generate more business.

Understanding that many independent professionals put off doing marketing activities consistently, Nancy now offers membership to Rapport Builderz Club that provides daily coaching, structure, support, and accountability online. It’s an affordable way to keep on track and build daily success habits.