I have read many books about selling and sales. One book I read a few years ago is The Contrarian Effect by Michael Port. The essence of the book is that the traditional sales model no longer works.

I  argue that it never worked for lawyers. In the Introduction, Port describes eight major signs pointing to shifts in the market and the manner in which customers (I will use the word clients) want you to interact with them. When you read this list, think about your own clients.

  1. Clients find you and initiate the buying process—not the other way around. This means as a lawyer you must become visible and credible in advance so clients will think of you when they need a lawyer or law firm.
  2. Clients are in control of how—and if—you reach and communicate with them. This means cold calls and bombarding clients with unwanted mass emails from the marketing department does not work.
  3. Clients have unlimited choices and access to unlimited information. There are thousands of lawyers like you and hundreds of law firms like yours. Clients have more choices than ever before.
  4. Clients are looking for you in new ways. After receiving a recommendation, potential clients will look at your website bio and then do an on-line Google search of you and the legal issue for which they are seeking help.
  5. Clients want a relevant and valuable offer tailored just for them. Mass marketing by law firms and client pitches thrown together at the last minute with generic information do not work. Clients want you to understand their industry, their business and them.
  6. Clients decide when it’s time to buy—not you.
  7. Clients demand respect—and carry a big megaphone. You can differentiate yourself and your firm by how well you listen and understand your potential client’s needs.
  8. Clients don’t trust you until you prove that you’re worthy of their trust. Clients are more skeptical about lawyers and law firms than ever before. This means focus on building trust and rapport.

How can you use these points to be more valuable to potential clients when they are searching for a lawyer?