Martha Mcintire Newman 2017-12-20 17:46:16
What’s in it for Me? That’s what your prospective clients want to know. When you are courting clients, you are more likely to win their business if you emphasize the benefits they will gain from hiring you and the solutions you will provide for their problems. Why? Because the fundamental desire of every client is to have peace of mind. Reciting your capabilities and the history and size of your firm does not address the prospect’s underlying need to be comforted. If you focus on your skills rather than results, the prospect wonders, How does that help me? An example of focusing on services rather than benefits: We are a commercial litigation firm that represents small businesses in contract disputes and debt collection. Our lawyers have tried numerous cases and know how to represent your rights in court. That type of language speaks only to your services and alleged experience in the courtroom. The prospect has no idea what you will do for him. But if you talk about tangible benefits and potential results you could achieve for him, you are providing the comfort every worried client desires. When you talk in those terms, you are stating your value proposition. Connect services with benefits The services you are touting should correlate to tangible benefits the client can expect to receive. Here is an example: The lawyer says, “We have four trial lawyers who have participated in over 50 jury trials.” The client thinks, Wow, that’s cool, but how does that help me? The lawyer articulates the benefit, “Our trial team has repeatedly won jury awards in cases like yours that far exceeded the other party’s best offer and even the mediator’s recommendation. In one case, the mediator was pressing our client to contribute money to the settlement. We refused and won the case on summary judgment.” How do you bring value? Depending on the type of law you practice, the value you bring to your clients could include: • Keeping them safe from expensive lawsuits. • Getting them the money debtors owe them. • Growing their businesses. • Avoiding devastating damage awards. • Negotiating favorable contracts. • Triumphing over business adversaries. • Winning probation instead of jail time. • Protecting their intellectual property. • Shielding their assets from hungry creditors. • Reducing financial risks. Differentiate Yourself However, articulating your value may not be enough. What differentiates you from the pack of lawyers who are hunting for the same kinds of clients? What can you do for clients that other law firms can’t? Those are hard questions to answer, but ones that prospective clients are asking, if not overtly, in their minds. If your answers are that you are trustworthy, reliable, highly responsive, less expensive, graduated from a top-tier law school, or have long years of experience, you are not differentiating yourself from other lawyers. You are giving the prospective client no convincing reason to choose you over your competitors. What can differentiate you and vault you ahead of your competition is to highlight your firm’s track record of accomplishing favorable results for other clients who have had similar problems. Recounting stories of the successes you have achieved does not have to violate client confidentiality nor characterize you as a boaster. However, it is essential to comply with Part VII of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct—Information About Legal Services. You could say, We had a client in a similar situation. This is what we did to head off problems for them, or, We frequently represent clients who have been sued and face crippling damages. Then tell a success story with compelling facts that will cause the prospect to conclude, If this lawyer can get those kinds of results for other people, he can do it for me. Telling stories of past successes differs from making guarantees of success. The stories perform the same function as referrals from clients. They affirm your experience with similar matters, your capabilities, and your record of successes. No amount of persuasion on your part is as convincing to prospects as factual success stories, free of braggadocio, that attest to the results you have attained for other clients if you handle their cases. Create Your Value Propositions To create your or your firm’s value propositions, consider who your target clients are, what types of needs or business problems they have, what distinguishes the service your firm provides from competitors, and how you can substantiate the claim that your firm can handle the case capably. Sit down with your partners or colleagues and review the kinds of cases you have handled successfully in the past. Make a list of three to five success stories and know them inside out. Be sure your value proposition and your success stories relate to the particular kind of business and type of problem the prospective client has. You can use your value proposition(s) and success stories in a variety of circumstances and venues such as: • networking with potential clients or referral sources; • pitching your business to corporate decision-makers; • being interviewed by individuals who are shopping for attorneys; • writing your bio for the firm website; and • creating your LinkedIn profile. Communicating your value proposition clearly and persuasively can lead to new work from prospective clients, additional work from current clients, and continued recommendations from referral sources. Take the time to figure out the value clients receive from hiring you and examples of similar clients you have helped. That’s what it takes to build a profitable book of business. MARTHA MCINTIRE NEWMAN is a former oil and gas litigator and owner of Top Lawyer Coach. Newman has been awarded the Professional Certified Coach credential by the International Coach Federation in recognition of her coaching excellence. She specializes in lawyer coaching, training, facilitating, and speaking in the areas of business development, emotional intelligence, career advancement, leadership, and law firm management. For more information, go to toplawyercoach.com.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/SoloSmall+Firm/2968020/463027/article.html.