Lawyers sometimes feel an aversion to the words “sales” and “selling”, and resist the idea that sales has anything to do with our profession. The fact remains, however, that we are in business and, while it may not be the only reason that we do that we do what we do, for those of us who do not work in a not for profit sector, a large part of what we are required to do if we want to earn a living for ourselves in the practice, is to earn revenue for our firms.
At risk of overstating the obvious, in order to earn that revenue we have to sell our services, whether we like that word or the connotation that we associate with it or not.
If we can at least agree on that as a starting point, then it stands to reason that we may be able to learn something from looking at sales strategies and philosophies employed in other sectors to gather information about the kinds of things that work in other contexts and to get some ideas to use in the creation of our own plans for building our businesses (aka selling our services).
By encouraging you to look into other sectors for ideas, I am not taking the position, tacitly or expressly, that selling professional services and selling retail items is exactly the same. I do, however, believe that there are some sales concepts and strategies that do translate well into the context of selling professional services. In particular, there are sales teams in a variety of industry sectors that focus on relationships, regardless of what product or service they are selling. Moreover, most, if not all, all industries and sectors are adopting the philosophy that what they are actually selling is not a product or a service, but a solution.
In other words, lots of industry sectors are now approaching sales of their products and services from the same position that legal service providers come from in trying to sell their own services to clients. So it is at least reasonably likely that some of what they are doing would work for us, or could at least give us ideas that could be modified to suit our contexts better.
The article I have attached to this blog and recommend to you is a couple of years old now, but it addresses a question I get asked again and again in the legal context, just using slightly different wording. The question is : “How do I convert contacts into clients?”
You will see that some of the ideas track with some of the things we have discussed on this blog before, like generosity, the importance of nurturing strong relationships and thinking about what your clients and contacts need instead of about yourself, but it shares other insights too and at a minimum looks at these same ones from a different perspective.
I hope you find it as useful as I did.
Until next time!