[Excepted from the book Power Grids: How Successful Lawyers Build Powerful Networks That Drive Reputations, Relationships, Referrals, and Revenues. Available to order on Amazon:]
Most professionals use a common sales method for every sales situation. A sales strategy can often be described as your strategy to position yourself as the “best choice” legal counsel. This sales method assumes that legal service buyers are ready to buy as soon as they realize that they have a legal problem or that they have been looking for legal talent. However, potential customers are not always ready to buy and are often interested in switching suppliers. Some people are still working on these issues. Some people have solved their problem. Many are satisfied with their existing suppliers. Some people don’t know what opportunities you can help them seize.
It’s best to adjust based on where the prospect is in the buying decision process…
Knowing this, the promotion of a “best choice” supplier may not be the best sales strategy. It’s best to adjust based on where the prospect is in their buying decision process – whether that means they’re looking for a supplier, they’re researching the situation, they already have a recommendation, or they’ve decided not to address the issue.
The models above help describe the process of determining the best sales strategy for the four most common sales situations. The three questions next to the sales strategy model can help you determine where buyers are in the buying decision process and whether they have someone to help them with their problems. These can be asked about any legal issue, question or opportunity and will help you determine the most appropriate method of selling. There are four sales situations and four sales methods.
1. “There is demand, no suppliers” sales
In this case, the company admits they have a problem, but they haven’t yet selected a lawyer to fix it. I call this a “public offering” sale. The sales strategy for this situation is the “competitive positioning” sales strategy. The goal of this approach is to identify potential clients’ selection criteria, goals, values, and priorities.
Once you know that, you’ll know how to position yourself as the best option. This is the most common sales method, whether or not the company recognizes the legal need, and often whether they have existing legal counsel or not.
2. “Unidentified Legal Issues, No Suppliers” Sales
In this case, the potential client didn’t know the problem, so it wasn’t resolved. What I call “open learning” sales. The sales strategy for this situation is the “education” sales strategy.
This approach focuses on educating potential clients about the risks and implications associated with a problem or problem. Once you understand the risks and impacts, your goal is to understand how your company’s priorities may change with this new understanding.
3. Sales of “demands recognized by suppliers”
I call this an “existing vendor” sales situation, which is common but often overlooked. In this case, the potential client already has a lawyer or company handling these matters for them. The only way to get this job is for potential clients to recognize deficiencies in the quality or value of an existing provider’s work or service delivery. I call this strategy a “displacement” selling strategy.
The purpose of this approach is to encourage potential customers to evaluate the value (or lack thereof) of the current supplier’s delivery. In the book, I describe specific types of questions that can trigger evaluations by potential clients. Identifying the incumbent’s quality of work or areas of service delivery will help you develop a sales approach to address these deficiencies as a basis for additional sales discussions.
4. “Issues confirmed but not resolved” sales
In this case, the prospect admits they have a problem, but chooses not to fix it, at least for now. I call this a “blocked” sales situation that requires a “discovery” sales strategy. The purpose of asking questions is to understand what happened during the decision-making process that led to the decision not to solve the problem.
Using the DRASTIC analysis framework (described in the book), you can determine why companies choose not to solve problems. In some cases, this knowledge will help you identify a sales strategy that can turn the decision to sign up for engagement.
As you can see, the best selling approach takes into account where the buyer is in the buying decision process and whether they have available suppliers. Chapter 11 describes each selling method and the selling techniques that accompany it. grid.How Successful Lawyers Build Strong Networks to Boost Reputation, Relationships, Referrals and Income. Available on Amazon.
He has served as the chief marketing officer of many large law firms. Eric Dewey is an attorney business development coach who has been helping attorneys and other professional service providers win new business for 25 years. Eric is an instructor and coach for eLegaltraining.com and has coached and advised hundreds of attorneys throughout his career, including attorneys from Sidley Austin, Pillsbury, Nixon Peabody, Fenwick & West, Dentons US and many others.He can be reached at 502.693.4731 or by email Eric@eLegalTraining.com.