Began reading a book by my friend from “Across The Pond” Chrissie Lightfoot; a United Kingdom lawyer (non-practicing) and entrepreneur (very practicing) :-).
Provocatively entitled, The Naked Lawyer, it shows attorneys and other professional services providers how to more effectively market, brand and sell themselves.
I know that, whenever I address lawyers, my biggest challenge is helping them to really grasp and embrace the fact that they are … in sales. And, that a big part of sales is providing the best buying and ongoing client experience.
I thought of this while reading the following paragraph early in Chrissie’s book:
“…the perception of a lawyer and the legal profession remains as someone or something that we need usually in a stressful, difficult situation/time and that, as a buyer of legal advice/services, you’re going to get whacked with an expensive bill for a piece of work that you don’t understand for the privilege of not being communicated with very often throughout the process.”
Now, this article is not intended to slam the legal profession or to imply that most legal practitioners and firms act this way. But, the fact is…many of them do.
This is good! Good, that is, for the lawyer or firm that understands that by taking the contrarian approach, they can “make lots of rain” (bring in a lot of new biz) while their competitors are acting like…well, lawyers.
I’ve had the same lawyer now for 20 years. Carlos is brilliant. But, so are a lot of lawyers. What separates Carlos from his competitors, is that he cares about his clients. I mean, truly cares. More than that, though (because there are many lawyers who care), he and his staff communicate that caring.
One of the many ways they communicate this is that phone calls are returned in a reasonable amount of time. I had to include that since so many lawyers seem to buy into the first rule of (in Latin) “Clientium turnoffium big-time-ium” which says, “we don’t return client calls because, frankly, you ain’t that important to us.”
Here’s what I’m saying: You are in sales, my friends. And, selling is giving. It’s giving “time, attention, counsel, education, empathy and appreciation.” More than anything, it’s giving a value-based experience second to none; one that totally overshadows the invoice, regardless of how large the invoice is.
If you do this, you can build a hugely successful law practice. If not, then you’ll remain dependent on both market conditions and the hope that other lawyers will continue to falsely think that they are not in the profession of selling legal services. The same pertains to any and all service professionals. Actually, it pertains to anyone in business.
I’ll end with what Chrissie calls the “ROAR Model.” ROAR stand for “Reach Out And Relate.”