In our previous article, The Three Forces and Profitable Partnerships, we outlined the threats that confront law firm managers, and suggested that a new approach to client acquisition and retention is required.
However, this is not an easy shift to make – if it were, all law firms and lawyers would be taking this approach already. One of the key obstacles to success is that the value to the client often remains hidden, and therefore actually closing sales is extremely difficult. On the first day of the Profitable Partnerships Programme, we focus on uncovering and demonstrating value, and overcoming objections from potential clients.
Focus on Value
Many lawyers struggle when talking about value, as for them the value in a case lies in the technical interpretation of the law. However, this is a statement about content – and for most clients, the value lies in the context of the work. Rather than describing technical competency, which should be a necessary condition for hiring a solicitor, lawyers should focus on the tangible benefits they can bring, such as the extra cash winning a case may generate, or the peace of mind of a swift and amicable resolution.
The key thing is to understand what the client values, and to frame the conversation in terms of the specific value for that individual or company. When the client perceives that their needs are prioritised, they are much more likely to engage the services of a professional.
Value in a Niche
It is far simpler to demonstrate the value of your services to potential clients when you operate in a niche. Developing a reputation as a niche specialist reverses the normal selling process, and encourages clients to seek out the services of a specific individual or team – rather than the individual constantly searching for new sources of work. The client will already have some knowledge of the individual’s technical abilities, and the focus on the value to them will be all the more welcome.
Operating in a niche means that alliances can be developed, contact can be more easily and systematically maintained, and introductions and referrals can be cultivated. Right from the outset we deal with these very issues, looking at practical ways to carve out a reputation and develop a sustainable flow of new work, maintained in a systematic way.