Stop pitching and start listening

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Prospective clients want to know what you can do to solve their problem or achieve their goal. What they don’t want is for you to make the conversation all about yourself.

Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective client. You’re talking to an attorney about your legal matter. Would you want to hear how successful the attorney is, or would you be more interested in hearing what they can do for you?

Many attorneys rely on telling prospective clients about their experience and capabilities and try to impress them with what they’ve done for others. Experience and capabilities are important, but when you make that the focus of your conversation, prospects eventually tune out.

They want to talk about themselves, so let them. Encourage them to do that. Ask questions and let them do most of the talking.

Even when you understand their situation and are ready to present a solution, let them continue to vent and share their pain and frustrations.

And then, ask more questions.

Look for secondary problems caused by their legal situation–a loss of revenue or sleepless nights, for example, that may have caused their business or family to suffer.

Get them to tell you all about it, and listen to every word.

You listen to learn the facts, of course, but listening also shows the prospect that you care about them and truly want to help.

Show them you are listening by making eye contact, asking follow-up questions, repeating back to them what you heard and understand, and letting them see you take lots of notes.

Then, give them their options and tell them what you recommend. Follow that by describing the specific steps you will take to solve their problem and alleviate their pain.

When you let them do most of the talking, they’ll tell you what you need to say and do to get them to choose you as their attorney.

If you do it right, you may not need to talk about your experience and capabilities.

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“The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”

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Marketing legal services is often defined as “everything you do to get and keep good clients”.

That covers a lot of ground.

Everything from lead generation to getting prospects to sign up to getting repeat business and referrals, and a lot more.

It includes prospecting, qualifying, presenting, overcoming objections, and closing. Yes, pure salesmanship, for many attorneys, the bugaboo of legal marketing.

But selling your services doesn’t mean becoming a salesperson. You don’t have to use unseemly tactics to get people to do things they don’t want to do.

If your marketing is effective, you don’t have to do much selling at all.

Peter Drucker said, “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”

When you do a good job of marketing your services, clients sell themselves.

Prospective clients learn what you do and how you can help them, and see proof of what you’ve done for others. They learn about your experience and abilities and get a sense of what would be like to work with you. And then, on their own, they decide whether to take the next step.

They make an appointment or contact you to ask questions or request more information. Eventually, they either sign up or they don’t.

Without you having to sell them.

Don’t misunderstand, it’s useful to know what to say when a prospective client hesitates. Knowing how to overcome objections and close can help them decide to hire you and thus get the benefits they want or need.

But it is your marketing that does the heavy lifting.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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The Bandwagon Effect

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Psychologists tell us most people tend to think or act a certain way when they believe others are doing the same. They don’t want to make a mistake or miss out so they usually follow the crowd.

The “Bandwagon Effect” is a cognitive bias that causes people to buy a certain product or act a certain way because it is the more popular option.

Prospective clients often choose the attorney who appears busier for the same reason.

You can use this innate cognitive bias in your conversations and presentations with prospective clients.

When you present two or more options to a prospective client, e.g., Package A (your “starter” service) and Package B (your bigger service), for example, before you ask what they’d like to do or which option they prefer, tell them which option is more popular: “Most of my clients prefer Package B” (if that’s true) and tell them why.

You can do something similar in your articles and blog posts, and in your sales materials.

“Most of the people I talk to about [issue] tell me they don’t want to wait, they want to take care of this immediately because. . .”

Most people want to follow the ostensibly safer and better path chosen by others, so make sure you tell people what most people usually do.

Ready to make this year your best year ever? This will help

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The best marketing requires THIS

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I talked to a business associate today. She’s getting leads via email on LinkedIn, getting some inquires, and wanted to know what I recommend she do to follow up.

We talked about what she was doing and what she wanted to happen, and then I told her something I know she knew but needed to be reminded of.

I told her she needs to talk to these people.

You can use LinkedIn (or whatever) to get people to hold up their hand and ask for information, but if you want to sell them something (she does), the best thing you can do is transition from email or text chat to the phone, a video chat, or an in-person meeting.

It’s not the only way to sell (or get clients), by far. But it is the most effective.

You need to hear their voice and they need to hear yours. You need to ask questions and answer theirs. You need to see their body language and they need to see yours.

You need to connect with them and have a real conversation, because marketing is more than just delivering information.

When you talk to people, you can weed out the lookers and focus on the serious prospects. You can find out what they really want and what they’re willing to do about it. You can overcome objections and sign up more clients more quickly.

And if they’re not ready to hire you, you can set the stage for the time when they will be, and make sure they come back to you because they got to know you, like you, and trust you.

I’ve sold a lot of products and services without speaking to anyone. I’ll take that business all day, every day. But if I really needed to make a sale or sign up a new client, if my life literally depended on it, I’d take my fingers off the keyboard and call someone.

How to get your website to do most of the selling for you

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The number one marketing skill for attorneys

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What do you suppose is the most valuable skill for marketing and building a law practice?

If you said, “salesmanship,” you are right.

Learning how to sell your services makes you better at prospecting and lead generation, qualifying prospective clients, presenting, handling objections, and closing.

When you know how to sell, you get more clients and better clients, with less cost and less effort.

Learning how to sell also makes you more effective in the courtroom and the boardroom. You’ll win more cases and close more deals.

Sales skills also help you to write more effective articles and blog posts, driving more traffic to your web pages and sales pages. You’ll get more people contacting you to ask questions or make an appointment.

More people will trust you and want to work with you. More people will want to tell others about you.

When someone questions your capabilities or balks at your fees, you’ll know what to say and do to make them happy and ready to proceed.

When a client has a complaint or questions your judgment, you’ll know how to show them that they are in good hands.

When you speak or network or do an interview, you’ll be more confident, more persuasive, and more attractive to prospects and fellow professionals.

Sales is the uber-skill every attorney needs to learn. So, why do so few attorneys learn it?

Probably because they’re afraid they’ll appear too aggressive, manipulative or hungry for business. They think they’ll come off as less professional or less successful.

“I didn’t go to law school to be a sales person,” they often tell me. But learning how to sell doesn’t make you a sales person. It makes you better at your job.

When I began practicing, I found it difficult to bring in clients and I struggled to pay my bills. Everything changed when I studied marketing and sales and starting using what I had learned.

I encourage you to do the same.

How to use email to sell more of your services

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Your fees are too high

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What do you say to a client or prospective client who says your fees are too high?

Do you negotiate? Offer to reduce your fees?

Yeah, don’t do that.

Do you tell them that’s what you charge and they can take it or leave it?

Don’t do that, either.

Instead, say something like, “When you say my fees are too high, what are you comparing this to?”

Let them tell you about other lawyers who charge less.

And then show them why you charge more because you are worth more–to them.

Show the client what they get with you they won’t get from other attorneys.

The best way to do that, of course, is to let your other clients do it for you. Show them your positive reviews and testimonials and share success stories about what you’ve done for other clients.

But maybe the client doesn’t have anyone they’re comparing you with, they think all lawyers fees are too high.

In that case, go over their current problem or situation and ask how much this is costing them now, in terms of time and money and mental anguish.

Let them see how they will be better off hiring you than continuing to live with their current situation.

Finally, if they can’t see things your way, say something like this:

“I don’t want to take your money if you don’t think this is going to work for you. I understand you want to solve this problem but I don’t want to work with you if you’re not committed to working with me to solve it”.

C’mon, you know you want to.

Referred clients make the best clients. Here’s how to get more

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I need to think about it. . .

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Ever have a prospective client tell you they’re not ready to sign up, they need “to think about it”? How do you respond?

Do you say something like, “No problem. Let me know if you have any additional questions”?

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great posture. Don’t chase. Make them come to you.

But there’s something else you can do instead. You could find out what it is they want to think about and “handle” it.

The fact is, they’re not going to think about it. That’s just an excuse.

They need to talk to someone (and get their permission or buy-in), they don’t have the money (and may need to “find” it), they’re not convinced they need to hire an attorney (yet), or they’re not convinced they should hire YOU.

They came to you with a problem. There’s something stopping them from getting the help they need and probably want.

With a little probing, you may be able to find out what’s stopping them, address it, and get them to sign up.

Because if you let them walk, you have to assume they won’t be back.

They’ll talk themselves out of it, or get overruled. Or they’ll see a “better deal” offered by another attorney and grab it.

Take a minute to find out what they need to think about.

“Is it the fee?” Because that’s often it.

“Are you thinking you have more time?” Because they often tell themselves they do, hoping the problem will go away or they’ll find another solution.

“You told me you wanted/needed X; has that changed?” Remind them why they need your help.

But DON’T ask, “Do you need to clear this with your [spouse/boss/partner]?” because that’s something you should have clarified at the time they made the appointment. That other person should be seated next to them.

Your job is to help people. You can’t do that unless they sign up.

So, help them do that.

For lawyers: The Quantum Leap Marketing System

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I have the answer to your problem but you can’t have it

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It’s better to have people ask you to send them information than you for you to ask them if they want it.

It’s better because when they ask, they’re raising their hand and telling you they want it and will probably consume it.

It’s also better posture for you. “Be the pursued, not the pursuer.”

So, how do you get people to ask?

My favorite way is to use a “takeaway”. Let them know what you have but don’t offer it to them.

To wit:

YOU: “I just wrote a report that shows how to [solve a painful problem]. Do you know anyone who might like a copy?”

You have something that, ostensibly, a prospective client wants but you’re not sending it to them or offering it to them. If they want it, they have to ask for it.

And they will. “Could I get a copy?”

YOU (Surprised): “Oh, well, sure. . . I can send you a link. What’s your best email address?”

If they don’t ask, they’re either not a prospect or your report title/description needs improvement.

How well does this work? Brilliantly. I’ve used a takeaway successfully more times than I can count.

It’s a beautiful thing hearing the other person (prospect or professional) ask if THEY can have a copy.

Sometimes, they’re not interested but they know someone who might be. That’s fine. They help their friend or client get information that could help them, and they do some “advertising” for you.

Sometimes, they’re not interested and they don’t know anyone.

That’s fine, too.

At least they know what you have and if their situation changes or they run into someone with a problem your report addresses, they know where to turn.

Who do you know that’s ready to take their law practice to the next level?

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A simple way to get more people to listen

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When you speak to prospective clients or anyone else you want to persuade, they are often skeptical about what you offer or propose.

To overcome this, you want to make them feel safe so they will open their minds and listen to your offer.

One way to do that is to use words that align with the idea that what you’re proposing is “normal”–not unusual or risky.

This can be as simple as using the phrase, “If you’re like most people. . .”

For example,

“If you’re like most people, you want your loved ones to be protected in case something happens to you.”

“If you’re like most people, you want your business to be safe from claims and lawsuits. . .”

“If you’re like most people, you want your property to close quickly. . .”

Most people will agree that they want what “most people” want.

They’re listening.

You also got them to focus on a problem you just happen to be able to solve for them–and tacitly admit that they want a solution.

Clever you.

You can (and should) use this in your newsletter

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Closing the deal

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Lawyers need to be good closers, right? There are many sales techniques and scripts we can use to do that.

But most lawyers don’t use them.

Most lawyers simply deliver information to the prospective client, showing them what they do and how they can help them.

They tell them about the features and benefits of the services they offer, they tell them their options, they share some examples or stories and answer frequently asked questions.

But they don’t close.

No scripts, no techniques. At most, after they’ve presented the information, they ask the client, “What would you like to do?”

But you know what? That’s a closing question. A soft one, to be sure, but if you’ve done a good job of educating the client about what’s at stake and what you can do to help them, you probably don’t need anything else.

Are you relieved?

You can let the client sell (and close) themselves.

Besides, you don’t want clients who feel like they “got sold” or who regret signing up, do you? If they’re a good candidate for your services, they’ll make the right decision for them, which is also the right decision for you.

On the other hand, every lawyer should learn some basic sales skills, including how to close.

Because not every prospective client will do a good job of selling themselves and may need a little help from you.

And that’s really what sales is about: helping people make good decisions.

When you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your marketing. . .

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