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Potential clients: how can we attract the right ones? (II)

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In the professional world, everybody is selling something: services, products, ideas or causes. Lawyers deal in (suitable) relationships, and they must know what they are selling.

Do they sell legal certainty? Selling legal certainty is something that the bad lawyer tends to do to attract clients: “Don’t worry, this is going to be a piece of cake”. As one lawyer told me: “Promising certainty is simply reckless, because the client might give the wrong explanation of their situation and needs, the lawyer might misunderstand the case and the judge may eventually rule against the interests of our client”. As someone once said, “there is nothing certain in life, except death and taxes”.

How you sell something is just as important as what you sell. That is why a positive attitude, devoting attention to the client, empathy and active listening are crucial. They convey interest, they create confidence and encourage the client to participate actively in the service. There can only be service if the client participates actively. In the client’s eyes, the difference between one lawyer and another often lies in how they treat them or how they sell to them.

The key to selling a legal service lies in knowing the needs, desires and the style of the potential client, and in adapting to them. Or in other words, you have to be flexible and sell according to the client’s mentality, and not insist on doing so according to your own system of beliefs. Each potential client requires a different sales strategy; a strategy, of course, framed by good personal and professional values, those specific to the practice of law, without pressing the client.

The potential client hires benefits, not services. We have to ask the right questions to ascertain why the potential client wants to hire us, and use the most suitable sales pitch. Moreover, we need to have a message, know what makes us different from the rest: a speciality, a market, a skill, an idea, etc. For example, on being asked what you do, say: “I help people to solve conflicts. I am a lawyer and a mediator”. First of all let them know what you deliver (added value); follow that with your profession.

Most lawyers introduce themselves with the same expression: “I’m a lawyer”. Language makes a difference.

© Francesc Dominguez, legal marketing and personal branding consultant, www.francescdominguez.com