Michael Bernard, Founder of LEXD, entrepreneur and business coach for attorneys and law firms
Contrary to popular belief, selling is not about knowing how to speak. It’s primarily about learning to listen, understand, and take into account your (future) client’s problem. Speaking will come, but first, we need to learn how to read between the lines.
It All Starts With the Client
The first trap I fell into when I started my practice was using my expertise to find my first clients, instead of the other way around. It was like going out with a key and trying to find the right lock. It simply doesn’t work.
I spent months chasing after anyone who would listen (in other words, no one), saying that I had received the best training and was ready to support them with any professional issues they might encounter.
You can imagine the success I had at the time.
Nevertheless, since that wasn’t working, I decided to buy keywords on Google to drive the maximum number of visitors to my website. That way, they wouldn’t have any other choice but to call me.
I had spent hundreds of euros on keywords like “coaching,” “professional coaching”, etc. But I never thought about “excluding” certain words. As a result, I ended up with thousands of people searching for a “weight loss”, “seduction”, or even “home decor” coach.
The key lesson here is: the client is not looking for your expertise, even if they claim otherwise. And generally, it’s not your expertise that will distinguish you from your competitors.
What the client is looking for is a way to get rid of their problem.
Remember: the client doesn’t care so much about your degrees, which university you attended, or even if you’re the greatest cryptocurrency specialist in the metaverse. They are wondering, for example, if you will answer the phone when they call, if they will be able to play in the big leagues thanks to you, or if you will cost them an arm and a leg.
5 Key Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Who is your ideal client?
This should be your obsession: who do you ideally want as a client? Whatever your answer is, it will be the right one. However, you really need to choose because you’ll exhaust yourself going in all directions. Those who embrace too much, fail to grasp anything.
2. What problems are they encountering?
At this stage, you simply need to remind yourself that there is a HUGE difference between trying to fulfill a need and trying to solve a problem. Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. So, ask yourself: what is THE problem you will solve for your client?
3. How do they identify the problems?
What happened in their life that led them to encounter the problem? Making a list of triggers will help you distinguish cases where the client is aware of the problem from those where they have no clue. In the latter case, you’ll need to help them become aware of it before offering any solutions.
4. How do they want to solve the problem?
Sometimes the answer to this question will come naturally to you. Other times, it will require more investigation on your part. In any case, you can’t afford to avoid asking yourself this question. Constantly. And the closer you get to the right answer, the easier it will be to sell your services.
5. Who else can solve this problem?
Who are your competitors? Who will you be compared to? When the client tries to solve the problem themselves, what research will they do? Who will they turn to? Try to put yourself in their shoes, as if you were a novice too. What other solutions are available to them?
Essentially, what you’re trying to do by answering these questions is to create a perfect fit between your Value Proposition and each of your Customer Segments.
However, the perfect fit is a myth. You can only formulate hypotheses.
Simply doing so will prove to be invaluable when presenting your offer to the client.
Keep in mind: your value proposition can only be built based on the problems encountered by your ideal client and not on your area of expertise. You are an expert in the art of handling legal concepts. The value you create for your client helps them solve a problem that has very little to do with law and much more to do with emotions and status.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Bernard is the Founder of LEXD, an entrepreneur and business coach for attorneys and law firms. He obtained his coaching and business strategy training from HEC Paris and his Design Thinking certification from Harvard University. With his expertise in the legal field and over 12 years of experience in business development coaching, Michael assists his clients in implementing the most effective strategies to increase their revenue and generate growth for their law firm.