Too high a percentage of the meetings we attend are largely a waste of time. So say the lawyers, CMOs, BDOs and COOs with whom I’ve spoken about the topic. If it helps at all, the law biz is not alone in that experience and perception; the whole world suffers from “death by meeting.” Here’s how to make life better for everyone, every time.
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When selling, lawyers get anxious about how to obtain a sufficient understanding of a prospective client’s problem, and share enough of their knowledge to motivate her to hire them, without giving away the store or over-investing in what could turn out to be a dry hole.
Based on how often I’ve been asked this question by lawyers throughout my decades in BD coaching, this seems a pretty universal problem. Here’s how to make lemonade out of those lemons.
Unless you’re helping a prospect inform and make a specific decision about a specific offer, you’re not selling, you’re still marketing. It’s only when you progress to the point where the entire focus is on deciding whether or not to buy that you’re selling. Everything else is marketing. If it’s about your products or services, it’s marketing. You may have some overlap, i.e., where you have to do some ongoing solution discussion during the sale, but the important point is recognizing that if you’re not talking about a decision, you’re not selling yet, which means you’re not getting closer to getting business.
Whether we’re talking about professional business development or our personal lives, there’s always a long list of things that we don’t get done, despite our declarations that we coulda, shoulda, woulda, oughta, wanta do them. So, which do we actually get done? Only those we must do. What defines “must,” and how does it differ from those aspirational descriptions?
One of the most difficult lessons for sellers to learn is the importance of getting a decision. Without a decision, you have nothing. No client. No work. No revenue. Over time, as we gain experience (and, hopefully, pay attention to it) we begin to recognize that "Yes" arrives quickly, whereas "No" takes forever.
How fast should you try to move the sale along? How aggressive should you be? How long should you wait before recontacting the prospect you met with? These are the questions that comprised a high percentage of the coaching calls I fielded from lawyers over the past 20-odd years. Here's how to answer them.
The client selects your firm; you win. However, the work never materializes, or does so at a trickle relative to what was discussed. This occurs when the purchase is driven by “druthers” rather than imperatives. The client intends to take the action discussed. However, if it’s not something they must do, it can be a long time before they get around to it, if ever. Here's the solution.