Thursday, February 2, 2017

Super Bowl 2017 - Selling Legal Services Is Like Playing Football

Every year, virtually every law firm receives RFPs (Requests for Proposals) either formally in writing or informally via an email or phone call. Some of these opportunities represent “Super Bowl” level opportunities for lawyers and law firms, i.e. situations where the firm can win high-profile, significant, important, and profitable new work. But not all lawyers propose and pitch their services in the most effective or efficient manner.
Many lawyers do not realize that both the game of football and the “sales” process for lawyers and law firms have precisely defined playing fields. Although in football, it is easy to see the actual playing field. But in sales, the “playing field” is intangible and cannot be seen. 

In football, there are visual yard markers (100 total). In sales for lawyers and law firms there are steps or stages of the sales process, yet those are often defined in various ways by various lawyers. For example, many lawyers think “selling” means attending conferences or writing an article, when in fact the majority of actual “sales” result from having the right conversations and follow-up with the right people/decision-makers. So, many lawyers are not even spending their time playing on the actual field! 

In the game of football, to win consistently, teams and players must analyze and consider the field conditions and the rules, and enhance their skills. The same is true if you want to be great at selling legal services. Unless you are a lawyer who happens to be a born salesperson (a very, very small percentage of lawyers are), you must put in regular, strategic effort to be successful at selling.  

Just like in football where each touchdown is scored by using a different set of plays, the same is true for selling legal services. In football sometimes (but rarely), one long-bomb Hail Mary pass to the end zone produces a touchdown. But most touchdowns are scored by consistently successful execution of a series of plays based on fundamental skills – blocking, tackling, running and catching. Each “sale” or new client matter/case also comes to the lawyer or firm in a slightly different way, i.e., from a different set of plays so to speak. But the majority of new business comes to a specific lawyer or firm based on basic fundamentals. Too many lawyers assume they have the required fundamentals to sell and get new work. But too often they rely on luck, serendipity and/or hope. 

If you are a lawyer interested in refreshing, upgrading or improving your “sales” skills, approach and strategy, contact the author Julie Savarino and consider commissioning our renowned “Perfect Your Pitch for Lawyers” workshop which features actual buyers of law firm services. 


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