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Practice Development/Practice Management Section
"I Hate Selling" Syndrome

By John R. Frazier, Esq., and Henry Harlow
PDPM

Do you hate selling? Should you hate selling? What does “selling” mean, anyway? How does hating selling affect your client service and revenue? If you decided to learn to love selling, how would you go about developing that love? Read on.

Many attorneys hate marketing. Even more would say they hate sales. The “hating” part in the title depends on what you mean by selling. After all, many people think the word “sell” is a four-letter word. If you mean the kind of traditional selling we find prevalent in the selling of new or used cars or if you think of selling as getting someone to purchase what you have to sell regardless of the means used — then I would say I hate selling myself!

If you mean facilitating a person’s unique process in deciding what is in their highest and best interest (while suspending one’s own needs and supporting their decision-making process) — then I love selling. I assert selling is not something to “hate” given how I define selling. Selling, given my definition, is a required skill set in serving people well and is critical to serving the client. 

Given my definition, what do you do? First, I would suggest you think through your responsibility to your prospective clients to deliver “buyer facilitation” (more on this a bit later). Second, I would suggest you become familiar with a few “consultative sales” models. Few attorneys have ever had any training in sales or even read a book on the subject. What are these sales models?

Sales Models
One model that works well and has a 30-year track record is the Sandler Sales Institute’s 7-Step System for Successful Selling. The book I found that is the best for understanding this approach is David H. Sandler’s You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar. There are around 175 Sandler franchisees around the country that have multiyear sales training programs you don’t need. However, you can find the book online at Amazon. Even though I do not agree with everything presented in this book, it is one of the top three I recommend for attorney marketing.

The next model is Integrity. One of this model’s strengths is how it identifies different “buyer types.” Using this technique, you do not speak the same way to everyone, instead, you speak to their “type” of person. You can read more about this in Integrity Selling for the 21st Century: How to Sell the Way People Want to Buy, by Ron Willingham.

Finally, another top book recommendation for lawyer marketing is Selling with Integrity, by Sharon Drew Morgan. Sharon’s model is a “third-generation” and a win/win situation. By third-generation, she means that first came traditional selling, then came the consultative sales model, and now the buyer facilitation model. One does not throw out the consultative sales model (represented in the first two books I mentioned) totally with buyer facilitation model. You’ll use consultative sales skills after buyer facilitation. She has a website where you can learn more (http://sharon
drewmorgen.com/).

Why Are These Models Important?
How do using these models help marketing your law firm? First, you want everyone you talk with to have a good experience. Whether they hire you or not, they have been profoundly served and will remember your unique connection with them as well as tell others.

Second, you want your prospective client to be an educated consumer when making a decision since an educated consumer is more likely to say “yes,” and say it sooner than later.

Third, you need to be interested in your “conversion ratio.” Conversion ratio is how many of the people you talk with actually turn into clients. If you improve your conversion ratio (or, please forgive me, “closing ratio”), then you will increase your income while you serve your clients better than ever. And what is wrong with that? 

About the Author
John R. Frazier, Esq., practices in Largo, Florida. He is a member of the NAELA Practice Development/Practice Management (PD/PM) Section and the Florida Chapter (AFELA). Henry Harlow is a law firm business consultant, now in retirement, who continues to advise John Frazier as needed. This article is provided by the Professional Development/Professional Management Section. For more information on NAELA Sections and how you can join can be found at www.NAELA.org/Sections.
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