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Mastering the Ask: How Lawyers Can Ask for Business without Feeling Salesy or Pushy

Submitted by 20/20 Leadership Group.

Imagine you were in a magical store where they sold all the ingredients for a successful legal career. Shelves full of legal knowledge; a whole section for good judgment and zealous advocacy; an aisle of hard work.

But behind the counter is the one item you’ve been looking for: a big book of business. You stare at it longingly, knowing how much it would add to your practice and your success. You know it’s the one thing that you will give you more freedom and independence. It’s sitting right there, but you have to ask the store owner behind the counter for it. Instead of asking for it, though, you just continue to stare at it, not wanting to bother the owner who is there to help you. Maybe you’re hoping that the book will fall off the shelf right into your hands.

That is how so many lawyers approach business development.

They want and need to bring in new business yet are afraid or reluctant to ask for it. They hope that new clients and matters will just fall into their hands.

It is a losing strategy.

Why do most lawyers feel uncomfortable when asking for business or speaking with potential clients about their services?

And more importantly – what can they do about it?

“But I Am a Lawyer, Not a Car Salesperson!”

Many of our clients tell us that they feel uncomfortable asking for business because it makes them feel salesy and pushy. We are lawyers, after all;members of a “learned profession.” We’re not selling cars.

So most lawyers shy away from discussing how they might be able to help a prospect. They feel that if the client really needs the service, then they will find their way to the lawyer’s door.

It’s Not About You

The reality is that for many, if not most practice areas, potential clients may not even have a clear understanding of what you do and how you can help them.

The key to robust business development is realizing that it’s about them, not about you. Too many lawyers approach business development as being about themselves focusing on – how I need to bring in dollars, my efforts to make partner, or my career trajectory.

That mindset is what can make asking for business feel like you’re selling something, being pushy or aggressive.

It’s All In Your Mind!

Shift your mindset from focusing on you to focusing on your prospective client, from “I am uncomfortable asking for business” to “How can I help/serve this prospect?

Realize that your primary objective is to help your prospective client solve the problem they come to you with so if you allow your prospect to leave without retaining you (assuming that you have the necessary expertise to resolve their problem), then the prospect is the one who suffers the most.

Lawyers are typically service oriented. Consider this – it is a disservice not to offer to help those who you can help with your services.

When you realize that asking for business is an exercise in helping other people, it is no longer “selling.” It’s asking the prospect for the privilege of using your knowledge and expertise to add value for them, to help make their life better, to help their business thrive, or to bring them peace of mind. The fact that you are getting paid to do all of that makes it a truly “win/win” situation.

While 20/20 Leadership Group is not a “magical store”, we can help you achieve the business development success you want. All you have to do is ask.

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