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This bold claim was the sub-head in a tip I posted on MyLegal.com and to some LinkedIn groups to which I belong. It’s the first of an occasional tour of this critical undertaking.

I realize that posting a title that says “the only thing that matters…” invites knee-jerk rebuttal. After all, how could there be one definitive thing in any context?

But, I’m sticking with it. To borrow from Chris Rock, “That’s right. I said it.”

Decisions are the absolute foundation of all the marketing and sales activities that comprise revenue-generation. Nothing is going to happen unless (a group of) someone(s) decide(s) that:

  1. they have a problem or opportunity
  2. its impact requires action and investment
  3. you’re relevant to the problem or opportunity
  4. you’re qualified to comment on it
  5. you have something to contribute to the conversation about the problem
  6. they agree with and like you
  7. the possible outcome is worth the risk
  8. other stakeholders can be aligned around some position
  9. you’ve generated real value even before being hired

Well, one thing will happen: you’ll spend more time and money “following up” on a mirage.

This is not an exhaustive list, but a modest one. There are many decisions within each of these, and countless others within each stakeholder’s worldview and self-interest.

The point is that decision-making is hard, and unless you’re making it easier, you’re nowhere. Too many salespeople actually make decision-making harder by allowing buyers to focus on the wrong considerations, such as the merits of the seller’s solution. Getting someone to decide that you’ve got a credible solution has no effect at all on the list above.

Understand that few people know how to make decisions individually, and almost no groups know how to get a group decision. Doing so requires focus and facilitation skills that are learned, not innate. Yet most lawyers have developed such skills to an art form in the course of their legal practice. You help clients make decisions every day, without regard to your self-interest.

Bring this critical skill to the table and you’ll be received as a valuable contributor to the decision team, rather than as an arm’s-length vendor.

Mike O'Horo

Get our free eBook, The Blind Spot That Keeps Lawyers from Doubling Their Income, and learn more about how achieving a decision delivers more value than increasing your number of prospects.