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The trust premium: How trust affects business development

Don’t underestimate the importance of trust in business development, says Andy Heslop

23 January 2013

Experience painfully suggests that clients who are less trusting of law firms and more antagonistic get bigger discounts off headline rates, cause higher write-downs and cost a lot of time and stress to service.

Conversely, clients with whom firms enjoy a trusted relationship pay higher matter fees, are subject to fewer write-downs and are more pleasant to deal with. Building more of these relationships, and perhaps managing them differently, can be a profitable investment.

As Warren Buffett pointed out, in highly competitive markets it is difficult to charge more than your dumbest competitors. His business partner, ?Charlie Munger (one of the world’s richest lawyers), has argued that the best way to usurp commercially-dumb competitors is to build a moat around your business.

Placing a focus on building trusting relationships is ex...

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