Whenever lawyers hear the phrase “sales techniques,” their first thoughts are usually of slimy car salesmen trying to make a fast buck. We almost instantly reject the idea that sales are an integral part of our law firms.
Most of us became lawyers because we care about the law and justice. We are dedicated to our clients and the cases that we take. For some reason, we mistakenly believe that sales has no place in our work, or that it would interfere with the “purity” of it somehow. That’s just plain wrong!
Let me tell you why using sales techniques are so important to your firm:
1. Sales help simplify your consultation
When you approach your consultation from a sales perspective, you will be able to give your clients the maximum amount of information in the easiest way for them to understand.
A big problem that lawyers have is that we tend to over explain. We tell our clients of all of the complexities of the case and walk them through a point-by-point legal analysis. While this is all interesting stuff for lawyers who practice in your field, it is way over the head of clients. (This includes lawyer clients who do not practice in your same practice area).
When a client comes to you for a consultation they want to know three things:
a. Can you solve my problem?
b. How long will it take?
c. How much will it cost?
Notice that clients don’t want to know the details of how you will solve their problem. Ironically, that’s the point that attorneys end up spending the most time on when they are in consultations.
Structure your consultations to answer these three questions, and you will be able to serve more clients because you will have an increase in cases.
2. Sales create an environment of customer service
One of the “basics” of sales is to regularly use someone’s name when you speak with him or her. For example, we repeat a person’s name at least three times during a phone interaction. It helps the person feel acknowledged. We apply that sales principle to family members as well. We ask about a family member, and we refer to him or her by name.
Sales also teach us how to nurture clients and client interaction. If someone gets married, has a baby, graduates, and the like, we send a small gift and card. We send a small branded gift when someone signs a contract with us. We “spoil” our clients by making what is important to them important to us.
3. Sales Allow You to Make a Living
Let’s face it. If you aren’t getting consultations or new cases signed up, then you are not going to be able to make a living. It just cannot and will not happen. This is why sales is important. By using sales techniques, you can help a client understand the value that you provide, what makes you different from anyone else, and the unique way that you will handle their cases (not just legally but also on the interpersonal side).
This just scratches the surface on why sales are so important, but there is so much to say! Be sure to join us at the Women, Power, and Money conference in San Francisco, California, on June 12, to learn how to empower your law firm, think like a CEO, and take your business to the next level!