We completely understand that you did not go to law school to become a salesman.
Almost no one pursues a professional degree to become a salesman.
But every professional — doctors, bankers, CPAs, massage therapists, and chefs — has to learn how to sell their services.
For many lawyers, there’s something about selling that even feels unethical about selling. Like it’s beneath the profession.
In our profession, selling sometimes gets a bad rap. But what if our mindset about sales is all wrong?
Shift Your Selling Paradigm
No matter how good you are at lawyering, all self-employed lawyers must learn to sell their services. That requires setting aside the old paradigm about sales, and replacing it with one that supports your success.
1. Redefine Selling. Retool your thinking so that you understand selling the same way you understand your chosen practice area. Strictly speaking, a practice is a habit, a process, a custom, or a system. Sales is a practice. Once we perceive sales as a skill that can be learned rather than a dark artform, we begin to realize that there is nothing demeaning or insurmountable about it. Lawyers are trained to learn how to do new things, including sales.
2. Selling Is the Art of Persuasion. At nearly every level, legal practice requires the ability to persuade. It is fair to assume that you have developed the ability to successfully persuade people to believe what you have to say and to act on it. That is precisely what selling is.
3. Focus on being helpful, which feels good. Selling legal services is not about convincing anyone to purchase something they do not need. Chances are, if you are engaging in a sales activity with a prospective client, they already need to purchase legal services. Your job is to merely convince the prospective client why they should hire you and not a competitor. If you shift your focus away from the sell, and more on how much additional value that a client will get by working with you, the process becomes more about being helpful than transactional. And being helpful feels good.
4. Selling Is About Consistency. You know what we’re really good at? Keeping a calendar and sticking to it (I mean, they take away your license otherwise). Guess what? Success with selling legal services is less about mastering sales scripts or Jedi closing routines, and much more about follow-up. According to a study of 3.5 million sales leads, 93% of all business transactions close within six contacts with prospective clients. Do what you are good at. Calendar follow-ups and watch your practice grow.
5. Selling Respects the Needs of Others. Selling is not limited to words or particular actions, it becomes a lifestyle. If your lifestyle is respectable, people will respect what you have to say. They will not perceive what you have to say as selling but as advice. Selling will become simpler when you learn to see it the same way.Treat everyone with dignity. Listen. Often you’ll find that people will ask you to sell them your services – or refer them to someone else who can help them. How you treat people will determine whether or not they are willing to seek you out when they need legal services.
Selling your services shouldn’t be an ancillary part of your law practice, it is very much part of what you do. By shifting the way you think about selling, it will simply become a part of what you do every day.