I was asked to share tips on how to sell yourself as a lawyer. By this I mean how you sell your legal services to clients and potential clients. I was delighted to be invited onto the JMC Legal Podcast by Jason Connolly.
How to sell yourself and communicate well as a lawyer, how to sell yourself well and communicate well as a lawyer is something I am often asked to help lawyers and other professional services individuals with. There is a lot more pressure on not just knowing the technical side of your profession but also generating income for your firm.
You are now expected to sell the services of your firm to clients.
But you reach a particular level, and you have to not only sell yourself, but be able to sell the services of your firm to clients. In the old days, every town and village and city had a number of law firms and clients were very loyal to a particular firm, they might have gone to school with one of the lawyers or met them socially at the golf club or the rotary, and you stayed with the same lawyer for the entire time.
But life is different now there is not that loyalty in the way it was before. People move around, and have many more reasons why they’re going to need to have the services of a lawyer. In this respect, it is really really important that you are very focused on your soft skills on your communication skills to ensure that you are able to reach out and build a portfolio of clients.
When it comes to being a partner, Of course this is one of the criteria. You need to be able to generate income for the firm, and those people that are making the decisions to get somebody to move up to partner. That is one of the measures that they will be looking for. Whether you already have a portfolio of clients that you’ve already brought in that you are able to maintain your client base or whether they’re moving elsewhere.
I was a guest in the latest podcast with JMC Legal, which focuses on recruiting lawyers. I was interviewed by Jason Connolly On this particular topic. Jason is a fantastic host and he’s great fun. And we talked about how we can make a difference, say, in communicating with clients, but also making sure that within our firm, particularly if it’s a bigger firm that we are able to raise visibility and credibility in order that those decision makers probably the senior partners, feel confident that you will be able to work as a partner and generate income within the firm. Now this can be anything from making sure that you are present in meetings. Now, I have been in meetings when I’ve been in the meeting with lawyers and other professionals and it might be an assistant with a lawyer: with a solicitor partner. They are generally quiet. What I would say is I absolutely appreciate that, as a less senior person you’re wanting to observe, but is there a way that you could be proactive. Could you say to the partner. “Would you like me to ask these questions?”. “Would you like me to observe the client to see what they are doing, how they respond to particular things?” Then you are demonstrating to the partner who could be your sponsor or decision maker, that you are being proactive. You’re not taking the notes, you are not observing you are actually part of the meeting.
Volunteering: as a trustee or even for the local Law Society is good
Other things that you could do is that are that you could actually offer to be a host for a particular event. Now, these of course events that are virtual at the moment. And that is a great visibility thing. Another thing that I often say for people if they’re wanting to raise their visibility is to volunteer. Now make sure that you volunteer for the right things, but it could be that you’re doing some volunteer work, stepping up and being a trustee or on a committee of a particular organisation. If you’re lawyers, you can easily get involved in the local Law Society. And with a volunteer role, you could be assisting on the committee of that local group. You’re not only going to get to know people on the committee, but people from other firms, and there will be some credibility there’ll be some brownie points for your own firm.
How could you keep in touch with your clients as prospects?
There are lots and lots of tips that I suggest with that now thinking about clients. It can be really, really important to keep in touch with people. And often when I’m talking to clients, one of their questions is how can I keep in touch with people without bombarding them. Information newsletters are one thing, and keeping in touch with people that way, is very very useful. If there’s a change in law; ff there are different situations. So for example, as I speak we have the COVID-19 lockdown. And it could be that there are some legal implications, you might want to send a five top tips or a summary of what the situation is from a legal perspective, that could be hugely valuable for your clients.
And believe me, other firms, even if they are not even if your client is not their client will also be sending information of this nature. So in order to keep front of mind. You need to be proactive that way.
It goes without saying that listening to your client in an active, non-judgemental way is very important for building trust and rapport. A client (or prospective client) wishes to feel valued and if you don’t listen or have the time, they will go elsewhere!
Another thing that I think is very useful is to keep a database if there are annual things that you do for a particular client, and six months before he could just check how things are going and, and just have those regular touch points, so that they will know that you aren’t forgetting them. But do listen to the podcast because there are lots of other things that I include in that. Remember, now being a lawyer, you have to sell yourself and communicate well.