Tips for Lawyers Preparing to Pitch and Earn Business
Do you know what you need to know to compete in the legal market?
Lawyers spend a lot of time getting better at what they do and mastering their craft. But anyone practicing knows that simply being good at the law is not enough. Competing in the marketplace requires a lawyer to know how to pitch their value to consumers of legal services. Those who drive those decisions tend to not be lawyers.
Succeeding at pitching business is an art form that varies by individual. Each individual lawyer has their own style and approach that will work best for them—BUT, there are some key components that can equip you to earn new business.
Learn to communicate when your services are most effective.
Think beyond “if you’re being sued it’s too late.” If you are a transactional attorney, at what stage of the transaction are your skills most valuable? When the letter of intent is being negotiated? After due diligence? For litigators, are you more effective at preventing suits, or after someone has been served?
An excellent attorney provides vital assistance in almost every aspect of business and life. Your target client has pain points, and the timing of your messaging is what determines the effectiveness of your pitch.
For example: is it more effective for you to tell a target client that you can help them get out of a sticky situation, or for you to tell them you will prevent them from ever getting into a sticky situation? How you frame this message is critical to whether the message is effectively received.
Understand what non-lawyers think you do.
When lawyers communicate with each other and share their areas of practice, you might not ever hear them say “I’m a contract lawyer”. But when they talk to non-lawyers, you might hear them use different terms. This is because they understand their audiences’ perception.
Understand what people think when they hear you describe their work. Learn which experiences resonate with your target clients. This is the key to making sure that you present yourself as the lawyer that your target is looking for, rather than a frustrated or desperate lawyer trying to take advantage of an outsider. Know whether your insights are legal, and when you start to tread into nonlegal aspects of your target’s work or life.
Learn to talk shop.
Picture two potential clients who are looking for a real estate attorney.
One is an individual who wants to lend money to a friend to develop a piece of land into a shopping center, and wants to make sure there is a healthy return on investment. The other is a landlord who needs to evict a tenant, but does not want the tenant to destroy the property on the way out and disturb the other tenants on the way out. The conversation that a real estate attorney will have to the lender and to the landlord are very different.
Learn to be familiar with your industry and its legal environment. More than anything, this will help you understand the world your target clients are in. You should be able to communicate openly and freely with your clients. In turn, your clients should feel the same about you, and that they can trust and believe you.
A general counsel once told me: “Don’t choose the lawyer who ‘looks’ like a lawyer. Choose the lawyer who looks like they work for a living.”