Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Fear Sales

I am the daughter of a salesman. My dad sold Marley Cooling Towers for more than 40-years before his retirement about a decade ago. He was good at it.

Cooling towers are the giant box-shaped structures you see on large buildings. They are used to regulate heating and air conditioning units by cooling hot water so it can be reused as a coolant.

Cooling Towers and legal services fall on two distinct ends of the sales spectrum, but they do share a couple things in common.

Like legal services, cooling towers are not particularly sexy. Just as most folks don’t relish the thought of needing a lawyer, there aren’t many folks out there saying, “Gee I can’t wait to buy my new cooling tower this year.”

They also aren’t something sold in mass quantities. Like law firms, they have a long sale cycle and one major client can have the power to make or break your year.

My dad taught me that selling is part of anything you do in life. It really comes down to four steps — introducing yourself, asking questions, demonstrating what you do or have to offer, and asking for what you want. Translated in official sales jargon, the steps are: 1) Open 2) Needs Assessment 3) Demonstration 4) Close.

My first career was as a newspaper reporter, and every day I was out there selling. I needed information and I sold my own credibility to get it. I got to know people. I asked questions of them. I built rapport, and I asked them what I needed. I knew I had closed when I got my story.

As a marketing and business development consultant, my ability to sell continues to define my success. Being a lawyer is no different. Whether you have the word sales in your title or not, your business is selling. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Posted on November 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

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