Most attorneys hate sales. For some, it’s the negative stigma that’s attached to the word “sales.” For others, it’s the idea of being sold to or someone who’s being “salesy.” The sad reality is that the word “sales” is so despised in the legal community that attorneys call it “marketing,” just to avoid the word “sales.” So why does sales have such a bad rap? Mainly because of the traditional way that sales have been conducted over the past 75 years. The traditional model of sales consists of one individual convincing another to buy his service. This typically occurs in the form of a presentation, pitch or proposal. The unfortunate truth about this model is simple: the salesperson’s job has always been to sell, and not necessarily put the potential customer first.
When looking at some of the most successful rainmakers in the legal community, we notice something radically different in their approach. No selling! So, how does someone sell a service without selling anything? The key isn’t in selling, convincing, or closing. The keys are in building trust, asking great questions and qualifying the prospective client in order to see if there is a “fit” for both parties.
Here are some suggestions to help you stop selling and begin walking your prospective clients through the decision making process in a consultative manner:
Step 1: Building Trust
Find a natural affinity with your prospective client. Do some research prior to speaking with him to uncover where the areas of common interest might be. Use Google or LinkedIn for starters. If that doesn’t help, be sure to ask about “how he got into the business” or “what he loves most about the industry he’s in.” Either way, make the first 5-10 minutes of any meeting about your prospect. Remember, a person’s favorite subject is almost always themselves.
Step 2: Set an Agenda or game plan for the meeting
This is the control element for any and all meetings. If you’re not in control, your prospective client is, which may lead to a lot of free consulting. In fact, most lawyers go directly into a sales pitch to demonstrate education, intelligence or value. They simply aren’t prepared to ask questions at the beginning of the meeting. The key to understanding a prospective client’s needs is through asking probing questions. As a result, failure to set an agenda will hurt your chances to find out more about the opportunity. For a tutorial on setting agendas, view my video tutorials.
Step 3: Stop selling and start asking!
The most important aspect of being effective during a sales meeting is in asking the prospective client about the issues that need solving. If you can uncover 3-5 issues that negatively affect the prospect’s business or personal life, you will have the beginning of a very impactful meeting. Remember to ask questions and then LISTEN! Ask a follow up question and keep peeling the onion. This type of meeting will always get you farther ahead than a “show up and throw up!” For a tutorials on asking the right questions, view my video tutorials.
Without understanding the prospect’s issues, costs, impacts and compelling reasons to buy legal services, there may be nothing left to do but blindly sell to them.
My mantra has always been, “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice”. So, be sure to ask enough questions and really understand what their compelling reasons are to hire you.
Focus 100% on the relationship with the prospective client, setting a mutually beneficial agenda and asking great questions. Do this, and you will be on the right path to bring in a new client. The idea behind Sales Free Selling is simple. Make sales, free of selling in order to be successful at growing your book of business. This methodology will hopefully give you comfort that you don’t need to be a “salesman” to be successful in selling legal services.
Call Steve at (312) 981-0119 for a Free Consultation and to receive a complimentary copy of his book, “Sales Free Selling,” or use the form below to send a message:[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]