Someone once said that being a salesman is either the easiest and best paid job ever or the hardest and worst paid job in the world. Whichever category you find yourself in depends, in part, on your customer. And if your customer is a lawyer, then you need to be prepared for regular periods of bread and dripping.
Let’s face it, selling anything into the legal profession is not for beginners. It is a task which Sisyphus would have regarded as thankless. Solicitors are programmed to be sceptical and immune to the grand claims of sales people. Every day legal practices are bombarded with emails and telephone calls from people trying to sell them everything from photocopy paper to the latest software innovation.
If you are trying to sell them office stationery, then all you have to do is grab their attention somehow and demonstrate why your paper is better value than the alternative offered by their current supplier. It is a relatively straightforward task (although not necessarily easy) because lawyers currently use paper and therefore understand why they need it to run their business. Introducing innovation, however, is a different ball game all together and is probably only slightly easier to sell than trying to lasso jelly with a length of cotton. It is a bit like trying to sell a motorcar to someone who is only aware of their existence from an overheard conversation in a noisy pub on a drunken night out.
Firstly, in this hypothetical, you will have to explain the concept of personal transportation and the commercial benefits associated with having access to a vehicle. You may choose to do this by comparing cars to their current mode of transport and by emphasising its convenience and the extent to which they will be able to visit more clients over a wider geographical area by having a car of their own. This is the hard part because the default position of many is that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. In the case of business and cars, if your subject has hitherto managed to turn a decent living by visiting their clients on a bicycle and they see no immediate need to alter the status quo, they will be resistant to this type of innovation. But tell them that within the next couple of years most cycle lanes will be closed down and that the firm down the road has just invested a fleet of cars, then they will sit up and take notice.
In introducing Oratto to the legal profession, we have faced resistance from some firms who have assumed that they will continue to enjoy the success of previous years relying on traditional methods of client generation. They regard digital marketing as the preserve of the larger firms. Smaller firms rely on ‘referrals’ and ‘reputation’ to source their work. But what they are failing to grasp is that rapidly increasing numbers of clients of all types are using the web to identify and engage with suitable lawyers.
Platforms such as Oratto are word of mouth, only on a much larger, digital scale. They provide law firms with an opportunity to showcase their expertise to a much wider pool of potential clients. And don’t forget that clients are, in terms of brand loyalty, more promiscuous than at any time in recent memory. There are rapidly increasing instances of companies and individuals who, although retaining the services of well-known law firms, are turning to the web to find a better fit for themselves and their business’s needs.
And, within the next couple of years, many lawyers will look out of their office windows to see that a busy four lane motorway has replaced their beloved cycle path and it will only be then, when everyone else is speeding off into the distance, that they decide to learn to drive.