[This video and post is an Episode of the Josh Gerben Show. The show, available on YouTube, is a show about the business of running and operating a law practice. It is not legal advice.]
To be a good lawyer, it is essential that you become a good salesperson. All the attorneys that we look up to in our firms are not only great in their field of law, but they are also masters at selling their legal services. In order to develop a client base, you need to be able to convey your value to other people and convince them that working with you is a good idea.
Over my eleven years running my own law practice, I learned some valuable sales techniques that helped me grow my firm to the size it is today. Without these sales basics, it will be very difficult for you to develop and maintain clients throughout your legal career.
Here are my top five tips for being a good at legal sales:
1. Be Available
It is so important to be available to potential clients throughout the sales process. Often, clients will call multiple firms and decide to work with whichever lawyer answers first. This means that if you get a call, you either need to answer it immediately, or get back to them as soon as possible. When you are first starting out, this is the easiest way to bring in new clients. If someone can get ahold of you quickly, they are much more likely to choose you as their lawyer.
2. Pick Up the Phone
In world where texting is commonplace, calling someone up on the phone may not seem ideal. However, in the legal industry, it is essential. If a potential client calls you, you can’t shouldn’t respond with an email. You should call them back or answer the phone right away. This is an easy way to stand out from the competition and reach individuals almost instantly. Phones call are a great way to build relationships, whereas sending emails can be very impersonable.
3. Build Relationships
You need to build a relationship with potential and existing clients. This can’t be done with legal language and complex answers to their problems. You’ve been through four years of law school and you’ve become an expert in your field of law, but clients will be more interested in knowing that they can trust you with whatever stressful and personal issue they have. In order to gain their trust, be sure to make an effort to form connections with them. This can’t be done without learning about your client beyond their particular matter. Find out about their family life, their hobbies, and their interests. If you have something in common, you can bond and become more human in the eyes of the client. While most attorneys will be focused on just the legal questions at hand, you are going to be the lawyer that clients are comfortable around.
When a client comes to you with a problem, the most important thing to do is listen. In my experience, lawyers love to talk over clients. We are taught in law school to argue our points, possibly to a fault. We need to learn to listen to the issues that are causing someone strife, and then give legal advice once we are sure we understand an individual’s specific case. In addition, make sure you are being empathetic. As a lawyer, you have seen so many people make the same mistakes as others you have advised. But, you shouldn’t overwhelm clients with what they should have done, but rather what they can do now. Understand their situation and how they are feeling, and then advise accordingly. This makes you likeable and more appealing to work with from a client’s perspective.
5. Ask for the Sale
The final tip I have is to follow-up and ask for the sale. Many lawyers feel uncomfortable following up with potential clients for fear of being too pushy. However, you need to be aggressive in your follow-up strategies. Check back in with protentional clients and tell them that you are very interested in being their lawyer. Give them a call, send an engagement letter, and tailor your request to each individual. Additionally, make sure any emails you send are well thought out and formatted nicely. You should view emails as just another piece of marketing. Win over clients with your attention to detail and to their matter. Remember, you can’t just be a lawyer. You need to be a salesperson.
I hope you found these five sales tips helpful. Understanding the basics of sales will help you become a better lawyer and assist you in developing a client base as you grow in your legal career. Be sure to watch and listen to the full podcast on YouTube, iTunes, or Spotify for more insight into sales techniques as an attorney.