IQ and EQ for Lawyers Success

Lawyers EQ Logically Connects with Winning New Clients

Engaging a law firm is not a regular occurrence for most people. When the need does arise, they will need guidance, support, empathy, and a strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for their particular matter. 

Generally, prospective clients will approach a few lawyers before making their law firm selection decision. Their decision will be based on their emotional connection and logical understanding of how best to proceed with the favoured lawyer.

In this article, we will explore how to use a consultative approach to ensure that you have every chance of winning the business.

Rapport building

The first aspect to remember is that people buy off people first!  Yes, you may own or work in a reputable law firm (which is, of course, an added advantage), but when it comes to the initial consultation, the client is going to be basing their decision on how trusting, empathetic, knowledgeable, and easy to deal with you are, rapport plays a big part in this. So, ensure that in the initial stages, you are engaged, present and actively listening with the intent to understand, NOT to offer a solution. For, if you fall into that trap, you are indeed “selling” and not consulting. Using their name as often as appropriate, making strong eye contact, being curious about their life and situation, matching and mirroring their body language, and finding organically some common interests/ground will make them feel at ease and comfortable with you. Avoid legal jargon; yes, it can be tempting to demonstrate that you know “your stuff”, but you can run into the danger of your client feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, especially in the preliminary stages of forming the relationship.

Showing understanding and empathy

Sometimes it is easy to forget the “human” element in the situation, especially when you are dealing with matters of this nature every day; it is easy to fall into an apathetic response state. Always put yourself in their shoes and ask lots of questions with the intent to understand, not to respond, will build trust! Open-ended questions (questions which demand a more elaborate answer than a closed question which demands just a yes or no response) work best for the first three questions and start with What, When, Where, Who, Why. How (this is called the 5W1H method).

Types of questions:

Probing – Questions for understanding the situation
Process – Questions for understanding how they are where they are today
Thought Provoking – Questions to get them thinking and feeling
NB, the word impact is great here.  E.g. What impact is this situation having on you personally?
Validation – Close-ended yes or no questions to obtain a commitment.

Demonstration of knowledge and expertise 

You have built rapport, have an exceptionally good understanding of the situation, and you are ready to demonstrate how you can help them. The following steps will give you good structure and the chance of winning their business.

Step 1: Start by thanking them for sharing with you as you understand how difficult this is.
Step 2: Summarise the key areas (the rule of thumb is to stick to the top 3 so as not to overwhelm) and obtain their agreement on this before moving on, as it shows you have actively listened. They may also have something more to enlighten you with, or you may have missed something.
Step 3: Match and link. Start using what you heard in the consultation by bringing it back into the conversation, but this time, you can offer some knowledge, insights, and strategy.
Step 4: Real Stories – Use real examples of similar client situations you have helped. This is enormously powerful as it brings a third external person into the equation.
Step 5: Ask for their business! For if you don’t ask, it’s always a no! By using a consultative approach, you have now earned the right. Be confident in yourself and your business, and remember you are helping them fix a big problem and not selling as such.

If the above resonates with you and you would like to extend your new client acquisition capabilities, then please feel free to contact me for a confidential 30-minute consultation; I’m happy to help.

About the author

Rachel Davies is the Founder of Selling With Purpose and an award-winning sales professional and trainer with over 25 years of proven success, including five years of helping law firms expand their client bases through ethical and professional consultation.

Rachel Davies
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