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.
Do you think (and fear) that you need a whole new set of skills for business development? Relax. You already have all the skills you need: your "lawyering" skills. You just need to apply them to marketing and selling.
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.
In legal business development, don't assume that your reasons why someone should hire you are the buyer's reasons, too. Instead, investigate, and get the buyer to do the selling for you.
A lawyer's most valuable asset is decision facilitation, not product expertise. The wise business developer invests in the legitimacy of the decision, not the content of the decision.
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.
Emotions play a pivotal role in decisions, and may lead to a purchase decision that the ‘rational’ choice criteria might not have predicted.
Many of lawyers' sales difficulties are within their control, or of their creation. Here are 10 sales habits to drop.
Identifying business need is the anchor of traditional sales strategy. Now, "readiness" and "willingness" are more important.
Meeting with what seems like a dream client? Make sure it isn't just a fantasy, then learn what the prospect deems the optimal meeting outcome.
Two critical sales objectives: 1) identify the source of funds; 2) recruit an internal Guide to help with that.
For each decision, there will be different stakeholders. The nature of each's stake determines how much they'll influence the decision.
Integrity in selling means subordinating your interests to the client's by helping them make a sound, self-interested decision.
Achieving better sales results requires that you avoid these "sales killers."
What keeps good salespeople from achieving better results has little to do with technique or what you sell. Learn to spot these "sales killers."
If clients resist your price, help them recognize the many different types and degrees of impact associated with the problem you're solving.
Lawyer business development tip: Learn about and address all three types of buyer needs: Service, Economic, Emotional.
Nobody has time to chase business development mirages. Yet salespeople of every description--not just lawyers--do just that, wasting scarce marketing and sales time, and frustrating themselves unnecessarily.