Mention the word ‘sales’ to just about most lawyers and other professionals and watch as a look of disdain crosses their face with images of door to door salesmen inevitably on their mind.
But, unlike the salesman knocking on doors not knowing who is going to answer, professionals get to approach a prospect based on a genuine need. The biggest advantage is that most of their ‘selling’ is to their existing clients or clients of the firm. What that existing relationship provides is of course is a significant door opener. But more importantly, that existing relationship offers the unique opportunity to identify a client’s specific needs; the things that are going to protect them, save them money or make them money. When identifying the need and pitching your abilities to provide solutions, you are selling. But what you are really doing is adding value to your client’s business and being a diligent advisor who is demonstrating interest and commitment. If it is easier to think of yourself that way, then great.
To effectively add value isn’t always easy. Often the needs of a client will lie outside of an individual professional’s own areas of expertise. Don’t let these opportunities go. Educate yourself about what the other professionals in your firm can do. As a first, step, take a look at your website (chances are it has been a while since you were last on there). Better still, go and have a chat. Understanding the breadth of skills available in your own firm means you’re better equipped to win more business from your clients. Don’t think of it as sharing your client with your colleague. Think of it as keeping your clients from going to a competitive firm.