Monday, March 14, 2016

Keys to Selecting an Effective "Sales" Coach* for Lawyers and Other Professionals©

In this highly competitive market for outside professional services, many law firms and individual lawyers, accountants, advisors, brokers, experts, even CMOs, CBDOs, and other professionals are using personal, external sales coaching services.

There are numerous outside sales coaches available because there is a low barrier to entry - i.e., anyone can claim to be a sales coach. In fact, over the past twenty years, many lawyers and other professionals have hired various outside sales coaches, with varying degrees of success.

The main complaints lawyers and other professionals have about the outside sales coaches they’ve used in the past are listed below.

The outside sales coach I hired:

  • Did not understand my practice, what I do, how and why clients hire me, etc.
  • Did not know or understand my clients and target markets.
  • Did not understand the various demands on my time.
  • Simply talked to me about what I should do; nothing tangible was delivered.
  • Did not understand the internal politics of my firm.
  • Did not have any practical experience doing what I do.
  • Was arrogant.
  • Was not proactive or responsive.
To ensure you find and hire the best sales coach for you, here are a few things to consider during your selection process:
  1. Once you have identified a "short list" of possible outside coaches, vet their credentials, qualifications, and experience.
  2. Contact them to request an initial assessment interview, preferably face-to-face, via videoconference, or by phone.
  3. Assess the coach's approach, process and personal style, then ask yourself, "Will I like working with this person?"
  4. Before hiring the external sales coach, as part of the vetting process - ask for specific examples of success and request a list of references and contact them.
  5. Define your objectives – i.e., determine exactly what you want to attain from working with the outside sales coach – or ask the sales coach if this is provided as part of their initial phase of service.
  6. Ask how success/results will be measured and reported at the end of the sales coaching service process.
  7. Request a definition in writing - of the services to be delivered, what is required from you and/or others in your firm, the proposed timing, draft work schedule, and deliverables.
There are many available external sales coaches in the market, but as is true in all professions, some are better than others – let the buyer beware.

*This service is often referred to as a Business Development Coach, Client Development Coach, and/or Sales Coach.

Written By: Julie Savarino, an attorney who has over 28 years’ experience providing group, individual and personal coaching services to a variety of professionals and professional service firms. To "meet" her, click here to see her video bio.

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