Thursday, June 6, 2013

Teach Your Partners How to 'Sell' You

One of the under-utilized cross selling marketing tools can be found walking past your office door on a daily basis: Your partners.

Most training programs explain the importance of communicating your specialty to the partners and professionals in your firm. However, simply sitting in on a practice group meeting to tell your partners what type of legal work you do isn’t enough. You need to give them the tools to convincingly explain how you create value for your clients.

There’s a fundamental assumption in most cross referral efforts that inhibits effectiveness. That flaw is the assumption that other attorneys understand what you do and, more importantly, know how to sell what you do. You must first sell your capabilities to your partners before they’ll sell your capabilities to their clients. Simple additions can help others refer your services more effectively. It is as simple as explaining what your partner should tell her clients about you, which clients need your services, how she can identify opportunities to refer you and why her clients should want to meet you.

Consider the difference in these two scenarios. Which one would you rather present to your clients?

1. Attorney A is an IP lawyer who handles trademarks, copyrights, patent infringements and patent prosecutions. He has been a partner in our firm for years and is very well respected. I think he’ll have some great ideas for your company and he’d be a good resource to know. I’d like to introduce him to you.

2. Attorney B is an IP lawyer who recently won a $2.6 million verdict against B.I.G. Company for an infringement on a chemical component of their bug spray. Two other firms were unsuccessful in winning an infringement decision on that same issue. She also recently re-organized OTHER BIG Company’s international trademark monitoring portfolio saving them 35% and speeding the renewal process by six days while insuring there’s no lapse in fillings. She is a former Patent Office regulator and chairs the ABA’s IP section. I think she’ll have some great ideas for your company and she’d be a good resource to know. I’d like to introduce her to you.

The second example demonstrates to clients how the attorney can help the company, shows how others have already benefited from her expertise and sets the attorney up as a valuable resource for the client.

Here is some of the information you will need to effectively broker your partner’s services:

·        The profile of the best clients

·        The recent successful cases or matters

·        The clout and influence the attorney has

·        Their areas of specialization, and

·        The added value services they provide.

And some questions to help identify value:

·        What technologies have you used to improve service delivery or communications?

·        What value added services do you offer?

·        What processes do you have in place to shorten the time to deliver results?

Firms, practice groups and attorneys which are serious about cross selling should focus first on promoting other professionals in their firm. The ability to be a broker of services is critical to each attorney providing the best value to their clients while generating traction in cross selling in the firm. Learning to promote another attorney’s capabilities is an important part of strengthening your own referral and cross promotional network.

If I can help you teach your partners to sell your services, give Eric Dewey a call at 502.693.4731. You'll find that I am an eager resource and that it costs nothing to talk.

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