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Why triggering demand for your expertise makes all the difference

Too many lawyers attempt to get on prospects’ calendars to discuss some legal service or another. Without realizing it, they’re asking someone to allocate a portion of a busy day to discuss what, absent any correlation to a business challenge, is irrelevant to that day. This is why it’s hard to get appointments, and why they’re so often rescheduled or cancelled. Here’s a better way.

Business Development: Step 1 is always “Google it”

Lawyers know they have to stay in contact, or risk missing out on work that a client or prospect is willing to award them, but doesn’t simply because too long a gap between communications has made them forget you. Too many lawyers struggle to generate relevant, welcomed conversation with clients and prospects. Here’s a better way.

Make it easy for prospects to recognize that they need you

How do those who buy what you sell recognize that they need you, that you’re relevant to their world and might just know something that would help them and make some part of their professional life better? The easy part is identifying what won’t do that: Legal-service nouns. Here’s a better approach.

You're known, but will you be remembered at the critical time?

There’s nothing more frustrating than learning that a prospect or client who knows you well has hired someone else for work that’s in your sweet spot. Or, you see a conference promotion where others are speaking about a topic about which you’re known to be an acknowledged expert. How does this happen?

Get paid faster: show progress vs. budget

Collecting your fee is an integral part of sales. In the commercial world, every salesperson lives by the dictum, “The sale isn’t complete until the last dollar is collected.” Lawyers are much more lax about this, and it costs them. Here's a simple way to speed things up.

Who’s on Third? Your Team?

Throughout the Summer, we see lots of highlights of individual baseball stars performing amazing feats on the field. But as we begin the playoffs, we're reminded that the best team wins the championship, and that means getting contributions from everyone on the team.

Let's examine the team that supports your clients. What value does each teammate bring to your business development efforts?

Adopt a Business Problem

Too many of lawyers' conversations with prospects and clients are thinly-veiled begging for work. Do you really want to be positioned as merely “another skilled lawyer with his hand out?” Instead, position yourself more advantageously by adopting a business problem that drives demand for your most valuable service.

Tips for Dining With International Clients

Some of your professional holiday invitations may include events hosted by people from other cultures. To help you fit in seamlessly, and avoid unintentionally creating an awkward moment, here are some examples of customs that differ from ours.

Silo Selling is Lawyer-Centric, not Client-Centric

Most lawyers are comfortable in a neatly labeled box known as a "Practice Group." Such labeling is typically the first step into the world of Silo Selling. This may provide some context and perhaps even comfort for you. However, most businesspersons think in terms of business challenges or opportunities. These perspectives are not lawyer-centric. Here's how to be more client-centric.

Seminars and webinars

Most lawyers want to exploit the opportunity to showcase their expertise by speaking before a group of potential buyers or referral sources. Whether this occurs at a conference, or a self-hosted seminar or webinar, or participating in one hosted by another organization, the key to success lies in your ability to control these critical factors. 

Not-To-Do #13: Do-it-yourself, or work alone

When it comes to getting, keeping, and growing large accounts, the day of the lone-wolf rainmaker has passed, never to return. That worked during the 25-year law boom because everybody was buying legal services. In the buyer's market that will be with you for the rest of your career, you need to ferret out, investigate, and validate potential opportunity continuously. You need more hands on the oars, just to defend and sustain what you already have. 

The "Earn the Right to Advance" Sequence

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.

Beware of sales shortcuts

Just because you come "pre-screened" by a referral, don't assume that you can take a shortcut and coast into the engagement. Stick with a disciplined investigation and help your prospect make a good decision. If nothing else, it will reflect well on your referral source.

The "no budget" problem

In legal marketing and sales, when you hear "no budget," you should interpret that as representing one of two problems, each of which can be resolved by shifting your perspective and applying one of two simple disciplines.

The "elevator speech"

Forget having an "elevator speech." Nobody wants to hear it. Instead, you need a Door-Opener, which explains the problem you solve for your clients. Here's why.

Why are lawyers reluctant to ask for referrals?

When clients are asked, "Have you referred others to [firm]?" and the answer is "No," surveyors follow up with "Why not?" The most common reply is "No one ever asked me to." So, why are lawyers reluctant to ask for referrals? 

The importance of pricing leverage

Don't cling to the past as lower realization reduces your effective price. Associate yourself with emerging problems that drive high-value demand.

Time to make yourself relevant

A Door-Opener initiates business conversation that revives your contact list with a new discussion topic, making you part of that person's future.