Law Firms Hiring Sales Pros- Lawyers Not Selling?

The Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) and Hellerman Communications released the results of its annual survey on sales in law firms. The report shows that a large percentage of firms are hiring sales professionals, rather than rely on lawyers to sell.

In its coverage of the LSSO survey, National Law Review writes, “Sales is a relatively new role in the legal professions, with many law firms beginning to staff up in this area over the past decade. Despite being new, this role has a significant impact on law firm financial health, as the LSSO survey reports ‘80% of legal sales professionals are having an impact on revenue through sales.’

The LSSO survey found that the role of law firm sales professional is becoming commonplace. But, why? In an industry chock full of highly-effective persuaders, why do firms need sales professionals at all, and why aren’t lawyers selling?

The answer, according to an article by Andrew Cabasso, a practicing attorney and VP of Web Services at Uptime Legal, is that firms and lawyers often take a defensive approach to selling.

“I understand that no one got into starting and running a law practice because they wanted to ‘sell’ someone on anything”, writes Cabasso, “Sometimes I hear lawyers say, ‘I am not a car salesman.’ But that idea is predicated on a notion that sales is adversarial.”

In a presentation at the 2018 Lawyer Forward conference in Austin, TX. Cabasso spoke on why lawyers (some of the most trained persuaders in the world) should be excellent at sales and why they don’t sell.

Pointing to slow client response time and a lack of responsiveness to potential client’s inquiries, Cabasso suggests that many lawyers flounder when it comes to client intake and retention. He suggests that firms can turn the tide on sales by changing lawyers mindsets to:

  • Recognize “that good sales is about good customer service”.
  • Realize that “sales for law firms is not a zero-sum game; it’s win-win”.
  • Understand that lawyers have “great sales skills” and “just need to better apply those skills to the intake part of your practice”

Cabasso also suggests that firms audit “existing sales and intake processes” to understand where natural sales opportunities are faltering. Then build a better intake workflow to enhance those sales opportunities.

As for the ethics of lawyers and sales, Cabasso writes, “The real ethics issue is about how not following up with potential clients can give rise to ethical issues.”

So, while the hiring of law firm sales pros is on the rise, many firms are underutilizing the sales potential of the talented experts already seated within those hallowed halls.

By V.L. Brunskill

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