How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

Effective Practice Growth Strategies For Intellectual Property Lawyers, By Eria Odhuba

Can Your Intellectual Property Legal Services Business Really Deal With More Clients?

Almost all Intellectual Property legal services professionals say they want more clients. However, if you are be so busy chasing leads, doing sales pitches and trying to deliver a great service at the same time, are you sure you are capable of dealing with more business if it came your way?

After working so hard to win new clients, it is terrible to then lose them quickly because they feel they are not getting the value they deserve or were promised in the first place.

One of the key problems many IP lawyers face relates to the structural changes needed to their business models that would allow them to absorb new clients effectively.

You may think this sounds obvious, but how you win new clients has a huge impact on their customer lifetime value. A lot of IP lawyers have not thought about building relationships with prospects effectively first to minimise the risk of losing them once they become clients.

So, here are some steps you should take to prepare your business to deal with new clients. The first 3 relate to how you deal with prospects, and the others with specific changes in your business that need to take place:

  1. Get your business model based on the position of authority you develop within a specific niche. This means you first have to find out what your prospects really want first, and allow them to tell you what their desired outcomes for your services are.
  2. Educate your prospects on how they can solve their problems. Give them the confidence to make the decision to choose you to help them achieve their desired outcome.
  3. Communicate effectively with prospects using direct response marketing techniques so that they are clear on the steps they need to make to learn more from you.
  4. Make sure EVERYBODY within your business is aware you are looking to build trust with prospects and not do any hard selling when you first communicate with them. This ultimately leads to better clients and more profits.
  5. Automate certain communications so that your staff focus on other value-add activities that get prospects excited about working with you. If you use autoresponders to move prospects through your sales channel, you and your colleagues don’t have to make many of the follow up calls you probably do now.
  6. Think about the experience prospects have for each contact you make with them. Do you track when each communication to them was made so that everyone knows who has been ignored? Do you have a summary of what was said in each conversation so that you know what is going on in their heads? Do you follow up after each contact to thank prospects for their time and show you have listened to them? Do you answer their questions and provide further information to ease their frustrations?
  7. If you do all the above, do you have the right staff to move you from a simple hard-sell business to one that focuses on building trusted relationships with prospects to understand their specific needs. Are you honest enough to admit that you might not have the right people to give prospects what they want before signing them up as clients.

This last point is very hard, and not many IP lawyers want to turn business away. However, if you don’t have the right staff, you will never attract and retain the kind of clients you want.

So, here are a few pointers to help you think about the ideal people in your business…

  1. Make sure everyone knows how their position in the business affects clients perceptions, and profits.
  2. Have a clear idea on the desired outcome for each person within your business, and make sure you match expertise with desired outcomes.
  3. Train your staff properly, and be specific about how their training affects relationships with prospects and clients.
  4. Outsource many of the functions that are done in-house and which, quite frankly, stop you and your staff from delivering great client experiences.
  5. Incentivise your staff to support the new business model and make sure you have SMART objectives that match the sort of accountability you have for your lead generation campaigns. Measure, measure, measure.. and see where you can make small improvements.
  6. Plan ahead – if you have prospects moving through your sales funnel effectively, you can better anticipate how many are likely to sign up as clients and if you have the right resources in place to help them get what they are asking for.
  7. Make sure you have the appropriate skills to lead your staff through the changes needed to make them all more profit-focused and excited about the potential relationships they will impact in their various roles.

All the practical aspects of dealing with more business have to be planned for when prospects are at the start of your sales funnel. If you spend time building trust and getting into the minds of prospects, you will know what you are not doing right and make the structural changes necessary to keep them as clients after they buy from you.

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