Heard that line before? It was coined by Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall Street). The answer to the question reveals three selling styles that people typically use.
Lawyers are not trained salespeople—yet, it is critical that they learn how to sell their skills and services. Here is the breakdown to the three selling styles based on the answer to “sell me this pen.” Think about how you would sell a pen (and your legal expertise) and what changes you will have to make to fine tune your sales pitch.
Value Added Selling
“This pen is gold and is more valuable.” (Our lawyers are of a higher quality)
“Compared to other pens, this pen is better.” (We are ranked in the top 10 law firms…)
In this approach, the salesperson attempts to create interest by highlighting the distinct features of the product which make it desirable. Most inexperienced salespeople utilize this method.
The issue here is that the salesperson demonstrates no knowledge of what the buyer feels is important. The seller is shotgunning assertions of what they think is valuable, hoping that something sticks.
Solution Based Selling
“What do you want from your pen?” (What’s important to you when selecting representation?)
“What color pen are you looking for?” (What legal services are you searching the market for?)
Here, the salesperson asks questions to get to know what the buyer feels is important. If the buyer has problems with their current instrument and shares them, the seller can now cater the value added of the product to the buyer’s needs.
The issue here is that the seller might find him or herself in a position where their product is not what the buys rid looking for. (I am actually looking for a pencil…) In the context of selling legal services, potential clients don’t just talk about all of their problems to someone they don’t know.
Creation Based Selling
“Write your phone number down for me…oh, do you need a pen? This pen?”
Alright—selling legal services does not lend itself to that exact approach; but there is still a valuable application from this third technique. Rather than asking open questions, establish a clear “ladder” for potential clients to follow using questions which place the potential client in a state where they begin to see the problems they didn’t realize they had originally. Rather than tell the potential client about your firm’s excellent labor and employment practice, let them know that labor and employment issues will arise, and what that problem will mean for them. When they feel the problem, you suddenly become the solution.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kdinuraj/9169062116