How Buyers of Legal Services Select a Law Firm, Part 2 of 3
A recent study entitled Professional Services: How Buyers Buy sought to answer two critical questions:
What do buyers of professional services really want?
What are the best ways to expand the relationship and get referrals?
I posted the first four of seven specifics that buyers want earlier this week; here are the next three:
5. They want the actual providers of the services at the initial meeting.
Many larger law firms have developed a bad habit of sending in the "big guns" or the top rainmaker for the initial meeting and then passing the work off to lower level lackeys who don't understand the complexities of the situation. Companies have figured this out and they don't want to be "passed off" to someone down the line, unless they interview and approve this person ahead of time.
6. Buyers want to be shown that the firm truly wants their business.
This is a wide open response, but the way I would apply this is to "fix your follow up." One of the main ways I determine if a professional service provider wants my business is how often they follow up with me and how persistent they are.
Here's a lesson you would do well to follow: appoint someone to be in charge of following up with potential buyers and make sure it's not an attorney! You should have all the people who attended the initial meeting send a thank you email after the event, but appoint a non-attorney to keep the momentum going. In spite of their great intentions, most attorneys do not have good follow up skills. They get busy with billing or meeting with clients or going to court and the ball gets dropped.
7. They wanted assurances that the firm could follow the buyer's processes.
Systems are created with a purpose and very few companies become successful without having dozens of systems, processes and procedures that must be followed. Assure the buyer that your firm "plays well with others" and will follow their procedures.
The contrast is striking -- while most professional service firms use impersonal phone calls, mass emails, and other generic forms of marketing, the buyers want a dialogue around solving their problems, not another sales pitch.
This does not mean that phone calls and emails are bad; but it does suggest that your marketing message must be highly targeted, show that you understand their specific challenges, and concisely lay out that you have solutions to their problems.