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Client Communication

The best way to talk to clients (don’t)

You’re preparing to negotiate a merger agreement. You know where the client stands on some of the key provisions and you want to set clear guardrails rooted in current market practices.

You know what the client wants out of the deal, and you have a pretty good sense of what the other party will ask for. Corporate transaction negotiations are heavily influenced — even determined — by recent practices in similar deals. “What’s market?” is the great dividing line, and it’s so important to make sure you’re not digging in your heels on a nice-to-have that doesn’t reflect market practices.

So you do your research. You check Practical Law’s What’s Market tool to analyze market trends. You talk to colleagues. You consider a few scenarios — if we give in on this, what can we expect to get? How do we get what we need on the most important provisions without giving too much on the others?

You’re ready to negotiate. As you exchange redlines with the other party, though, you see that you’re going to have to give on some provisions to win on your client’s most important terms.

How do you get your client on board?

You could get the client’s deal team on a conference call and walk through the data you compiled. You can explain the raw data and your analysis of it. You can load them up with bullet points and statistics and hope that your logical analysis makes them feel good about giving on something they were hoping to avoid.

Or, you can save your breath and use a picture instead.

Tell a market trend story with data visualization

Increasingly, attorneys are relying on visualizations to make their point, especially when complex data rolls up to a compelling image. It’s no secret that people learn and are moved by stories and images. Attorneys have been collecting stories, trading them with colleagues, and repeating them to clients for generations. Until now, getting a picture to tell a data-driven story about a legal matter has been time- and cost-prohibitive.

Now, new tools available to attorneys quickly demonstrate a point to influence a client or opposing counsel. To put them into perspective against overall market practices and drive more effective strategies for their clients. What’s Market Analytics, for instance, provides actionable data on market practices to help attorneys advise their clients on how to approach a matter and how hard to negotiate specific points in an agreement.

“I would use this in a negotiation,” one transactional attorney told us. “Especially in M&A deals, to ensure what we’re agreeing to is standard.” Clients want to “see what the trends are, what we need to think about, and why we should or should not accept terms or provisions,” he said. Visualization tools like What’s Market Analytics help attorneys communicate these nuanced points to clients.

The secret behind a good visualization

Research shows that images and visualizations help influence attitudes. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Visual perception research has established the fact that visual information is powerfully and inescapably persuasive in a way that text and speech aren’t.”

The secret is, the visual has to be appropriate and on-point.

Of course, not just any chart will do. “In a presentation, time is constrained,” writes Scott Berinato in the Harvard Business Review. “A poorly designed chart will waste that time by provoking questions that require the presenter to interpret information that’s meant to be obvious. If an everyday dataviz can’t speak for itself, it has failed — just like a joke whose punch line has to be explained.”

In other words, not all charts are created equal. What’s Market Analytics from Practical Law offers depth and breadth of knowledge on many matters, including:

  • Antitrust risk-shifting provisions
  • Federal merger enforcement actions
  • Public merger agreements
  • IPOs
  • License agreements
  • Executive employment agreements

The visualizations are designed by seasoned transactional attorneys who understand the kinds of questions clients ask and how to bring the answers to life compellingly. They can help you identify, review, analyze, compare, and visualize deals and general market trends in just a few clicks instead of spending hours doing research.

Make your job better and easier with data visualization

Tech savvy lawyers are using data visualization to streamline their own research and understanding of the data. With a tool like What’s Market Analytics, you can efficiently establish your guardrails and get your clients on board. Ultimately, that gives you clearer negotiating power and a smoother path to a great agreement. See for yourself what a difference this can make to your practice.

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