Many lawyers dislike the idea of selling. It is not why they got into law and it is not something many are comfortable engaging in. Firms tend to stay away from using the word “sales” by talking about business development and client service.
The main aim of a sale is to generate profit. The difference in sales vs. service is that servicing aims at supporting new and old clients in order to increase client satisfaction. A practice thrives by creating an experience that is not only satisfactory but builds upon multiple client concerns.
For a lawyer, the focus should always be on service. Serving clients is the number one priority and sometimes that includes selling. Lawyers need to sell their skills and knowledge but by changing the narrative the results may vary.
A significant aspect of building a firm is cross-selling. Many lawyers are not comfortable cross-selling because of the sales aspect. But if we think of it as servicing a client across multiple areas rather than cross-selling another practice maybe more lawyers would participate.
We know that cross-selling makes perfect sense from the firms and client perspective. The client already likes working with you and your firm, the client trusts you to manage their work, it is less work for the lawyer than finding new business, and it provides an opportunity to expand an already solid business relationship. By approaching sales as “how to better serve our clients” we change the narrative to one that lawyers are more comfortable with. The change in narrative allows for different questions to be asked such as
- Are we servicing all of our client needs
- How can we be more attentive in servicing our clients
- Are clients satisfied with the service they are receiving
Next time you are considering ways to build your book or if you are encouraging others in your firm to find new business, consider how a small change in approach could significantly improve chances of success.