December 1, 2015
Sales Skills to Help You Master the Art of Persuasion
By Jeffrey F. Silber and Liza Vasquez
Certified Master Business and Life Coaches
A lawyer once told me that “To master the art of selling your services, you must master the art of persuasion.” If only it were that easy. As a lawyer, the power to persuade and bring people around to your point of view is already well within your current skill set.
As you most likely have seen during attempts to sell your legal services, there are limits to what persuasion can achieve when you are trying to grow your list of clients. For example, it’s extremely difficult to persuade a prospective client to trust you and believe in your integrity. Integrity and trust are intangibles that, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. And trust must be earned because you cannot convince a prospective client to trust you until there is much more behind it.
I know many incredibly successful rainmakers who are not skilled in the art of persuasion when it comes to marketing their services. While I don’t discount the need to persuasively present your value as a lawyer to a prospective client, there are other sales skills that are more important to master first.
Master the skill of being responsive
- If you can create a positive perception with the potential client through your responsiveness, then you will have gone a long way toward “persuading” them that you can be trusted with their legal matters. Responsiveness demonstrates that you have prioritized their needs, which is an important trust-building step.
- Master your knowledge of the prospective client’s business and industry.
If you want to be a master of persuasion, you first need to understand your potential client’s industry, their business, and the challenges they face. In short, when you have a conversation with a potential client, it is essential to understand what they are talking about from their point of view. Your knowledge will persuade them that you are the lawyer for them.
Think about selling legal services as being like a debate. If you want to be an effective debater, it isn’t enough to build an argument solely focused on what you believe to be true. To be persuasive, and to build a compelling argument that will convince people of your position, you have to be able to understand, and argue, both sides of the issue. This means seeing the world from the prospective client’s point of you. Remember, clients do not have legal problems. You may see them as legal issues but for the client they are only business issues – a question of making money or losing as little money as possible. Nothing personal, it is just business.
It’s the same in selling legal services. You can be the most expert presenter of your law firm’s services, but you must also be able to transmit the value to the prospective client of what you are offering and this can only be done in the context of your prospective client’s needs, requirements, desires, and objectives. When you do this, your chances of persuading them to hire you will be maximized.
If you want to build a bullet-proof case to persuade a prospect client to hire you, it is absolutely essential to first master your knowledge of the potential client’s world and that will put you in a position where your persuasion can make a difference.
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