Law firms are professional services
Sales of legal services: between cleaning the door and honesty
The word "sales" sounds unusual for business lawyers. However, if you want to set up your own business, there is no avoiding mandate acquisition, targeting, PR measures, pitching and sales strategies, says Liane Allmann.
Legal services are based on trust. That is why lawyers should think about how to generate this trust - especially in times of the Internet, the fast pace of life and the generally perceived decline in values.
The basic assumption is as follows: No company or entrepreneur would like to deal with lawyers. If it could be avoided, no one would contact a lawyer. The reason is simple: lawyers face problems and cost money. A company either looks for a lawyer because it has a problem, because it wants to avoid a problem, or because it is not in a position to regulate a matter itself (be it because of a foreign connection, a lack of capacities or licensing problems).
What does the client need?
Most lawyers find it easy to describe what they can do. They list in which area of law they work and what industry knowledge they have. Often the lawyers assume that this knowledge is a debt of the client. However, it is important to formulate your own offer in such a way that the client finds himself in it, that he sees his concerns taken up, that he feels that his thoughts have been understood and confirmed.
For this reason, it is necessary for the lawyer to deal with which questions of the client need to be resolved. In this way, the lawyer turns the client's problem into his own - and is very close to the product. That sounds trivial, but it is what the client wants from a lawyer: He should avoid problems, solve them if necessary and make the client's life easier overall. In the best case, the lawyer should recognize a problem long before it arises, point out stumbling blocks to the client and thus ensure that business runs smoothly.
This is exactly what the lawyer wants. He would like the client to take his advice early enough to be able to give preventive advice and not only get involved when the child has fallen into the well. He would like to have the opportunity to differentiate the situation from the legal situation and to protect his clients. Unfortunately, when it comes to directing clients' minds to potential dangers, many attorneys only communicate in a problem-oriented manner. Solution-oriented communication would be a better approach, because a purchase decision made out of fear can never be as good as one in which the client believes he will gain a real advantage.
How do I find topics?
But does the distribution of legal services work? How does the lawyer know what a client needs if, in case of doubt, he does not say it at all or only much too late? This is achieved by following the business media and, for example, subscribing to the ministries' newsletters. The lawyer must ask himself at all times: "What does this proposed law or that development mean for my clients as a result?" If the lawyer can answer this question, he is very close to a product.
Are general terms and conditions to be changed? Does the HR department have to be retrained? Should discussions about the new media offensive and company pages in the social networks be held with the works council, because it would be possible to publicly evaluate individual employees? Regardless of the area of business law in which the specialization lies: every new, including political, issue is a potential advisory offer. Informing the client about these issues through various channels then means selling the legal services.
Lawyers have the greatest chances of sales success if they meet their client very early and convincingly in the decision-making process for purchasing a legal service. And, of course, the law firm with the subject and area of law should be available on the Internet. Probably the client does not make his decision to buy a legal service based on the internet presence, but the lawyer achieves positive confirmation for the client with a professional appearance and well-dosed and easily digestible information that provides added value without being obtrusive.
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