Posted In: Business Development
Law Firm Sales: More On Pick Up the Phone!
Every lawyer gets it—they need to bring in business as part of their role as a lawyer and eventual business owner of the firm. Until someone literally walks them through the steps though, sales can be a mystery to many. Sales is difficult too. And, what works for one person may not work at all for another. So just doing what a rainmaker does won’t work for everyone. Sales for lawyers can be easier than one believes though. Sales is a game of psychology. It’s often a negotiation to get from point A to point B. Lawyers, when they “get it,” excel at selling. Selling requires many of the same skills it takes to be a good lawyer.
That said, there are some obstacles to overcome on the personality side. Dr. Larry Richard of lawyerbrain.com has tested over 8,000 lawyers using the Caliper Profile. Findings show lawyers test the lowest in resilience, high in impatience, high in autonomy, higher yet in being risk adverse. All these are opposite of what it takes to be a good salesperson. To overcome these traits, just know that it takes a long time to develop relationships and to obtain new engagements. Team efforts (selling one another, working together to obtain new business) is generally going to outweigh lone selling.
Hearing ‘no’ many times or ‘we have hired another firm for this project’ does not mean the end of the world. It simply means that you must continue to build the relationship and ask for another shot at work. Don’t feel bruised when you get the brush off. Instead, leverage your legal skills and go for another round at business. As Thomas Edison once said,“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Keep these characteristics in mind if you are a lawyer who is building a book of business, a BD professional who is helping lawyers build their books of business, or leadership at the firm who are asking others to build their books of business. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes confidence. And it takes a developed skillset. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up the phone! Check in with contacts and inactive clients to see how they are doing. Get out of your comfort zone. Find a little time each week to focus on relationship-building. Results will follow.
Silvia Coulter is a principal consultant with LawVision and concentrates her practice in three areas of expertise: business development and revenue generation, cross-firm collaboration, and leadership.