Many lawyers are uncomfortable with the idea of selling because their perceptions of salespeople are colored by lifelong exposure to the undesirable behaviors and attitudes of amateurs. Think about it. Most of the "salespeople" we encounter are poorly trained and compensated, and poorly managed. Whether it's in retail, or resale markets such as cars and houses, we experience amateurs.
Here are four key differences between the amateur salesperson and the professional:
Follow up: Amateurs fail to return phone calls promptly, and are too disorganized to follow up with prospects until it is too late. Professionals follow up in a timely fashion, return calls immediately, and deliver what they say they will deliver -- on time.
Approach to Pricing: Because they're poorly trained, amateurs don't understand importance of Value, and therefore the role of Price, in decision-making. As a result, they try to use price as their primary sales tool. They get distracted (and distract their prospects) with price, allowances and discounts. This benefits nobody. A great price on the wrong product or service is no bargain. Professionals focus on what the client needs and on impact/value/cost-justified solutions.
Win/Win Relationships: Amateurs are oriented to today's revenue. They sell with their own goals in mind -- compensation, status, etc. Professionals do their best to create win/win situations with clients, based on understanding, clarity, trust, respect, mutual gain, and a shared interest in a longterm business relationship.
Dedication: Despite the market reality that everyone must sell, amateurs resist selling because, if only subconsciously, they're aware of their lack of knowledge and skill. As a result, they're fearful and engage in task-avoidance. Or, they're unconsciously incompetent, which simply means they don't know what they don't know about selling. This ignorance of what it actually takes to sell results in baseless overconfidence in their innate ability to sell. Ironically, they never take steps to increase their skill level; amateurs tend to remain amateurs. (Perhaps this is due in part to a lack of commitment to sales as a profession, or a component of their profession. Who invests to get better at something they don't want to do?) Professionals constantly seek to increase their skill level; they set goals that force them to become better salespeople.
Clients and prospects want to deal only with professional salespeople. They find amateurs as offensive as you do. If you doubt that, invest six minutes watching this video to hear what legal service buyers we interviewed had to say about amateurish sales behaviors.
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