When most lawyers think about selling legal services, an image comes to mind of a smarmy guy on a used-car lot selling a pink VW. The good news is that selling is not about pitching or convincing the other person to buy. It’s about asking questions.
In fact, your law firm marketing plan should include selling like a doctor who asks questions about “where it hurts” and listens attentively to the answer. Doctors are some of the best salespeople there are.
Nobody likes to be sold. Potential clients don’t want to hear about your credentials and they’re not interested in all your practice areas and the array of resources the firm has. They have no way to evaluate these things. But one to get your clients motivated is to talk about their favorite topic: themselves.
Accordingly, the best new-business call is an interview. Your marketing goal is to have the other person do 80% of the talking. If they are talking, you are selling.
Before the new-business meeting, do your research and investigate the other person’s personal or business concerns. If the potential client is a business, review their website and read their press releases. The object is to develop five good questions that will get the other person telling you what they need.
You can’t sell something that the other person doesn’t want, so you must inquire into their “pain” and the problems that you can solve with legal services. A legal need will always be expressed as a business or personal problem — not as a legal matter. In your conversational inquiry, you should work to establish rapport, get the information you need and demonstrate what it will be like working with you. Using this approach your using listening as a law firm marketing technique.
Consider it a friendly deposition. Ask open-ended questions and let the other person speak their mind.
A key point of the conversation is to discover a sense of urgency. Ask:
- “How does this problem make you feel?”
- “How has this affected you?”
- “What bothers you most about it?”
- “Why is it important to solve this problem now?
- “What would happen if you didn’t do anything?”
- “What makes your problem urgent?”
You are looking for buyers who want to act now. Lawyers need to determine if the potential client wants to proceed today. Remember that the No. 1 objection to retaining you is a decision to do nothing.
By asking questions, lawyers will not only generate more business, but they’ll avoid looking like that guy on the use-car lot.