When it comes to making the sale, in the legal profession, that usually means landing a client. For many attorneys, doing that can be rather elusive. That's why the so-called rainmakers get the big bucks, and young lawyers are told (but not taught) to always be selling.
And while learning to sell isn't impossible, selling legal services is a little bit different than selling a traditional product or service. Below are three tips to improve your skills for selling legal services.
1. Actively Listen to the Potential Client
When you get a potential on the phone, or in your office, it's important to let them talk and for you to actively listen. More likely than not, the individual has come to you because of a legal problem. Let them tell you what's going on, and you should take notes, listen intently, and ask follow-up, open ended questions.
Also, never be afraid to go off on a tangent, especially if there's a chance you and the client might connect. For instance, in a motor vehicle accident practice, if you find out the caller owns a classic car and you are genuinely into those, spending a couple minutes asking about their treasure or telling them about yours, can go a long way in connecting with the client on a more personal level.
2. Give a Guarded Opinion, Then Sell
Though lawyers are often told to keep their opinions to themselves until a prospect is actually a client, you shouldn't shy away from offering up some thoughts on the merits of the potential client's matter. However, be sure to include caveats and end whatever you tell them with an enthusiastic sales pitch that explains that you're qualified, ready, willing, and able to help them.
3. Show Your Value
Closing a sale generally will require some proof of concept, meaning that potential clients want to know you've successfully handled similar matters before. If you've cultivated a reputation in a particular area, don't be shy to show off accolades you've earned. Though, simply telling them about how prior matters were handled could prove rather effective at getting a potential client to sign your retainer.
Protip: Knowing a client's ability to pay before having the money talk can also be rather important in terms of how you frame your fees, and whether you're willing to negotiate or offer alternative fee-arrangements.