February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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The Powerful Business Development Skill That Every Attorney Must Learn

Have you ever wondered why some attorneys in the same practice area, with similar expertise, working in the same city, produce vastly different results? Have you ever thought about the difference between one law firm that struggles to close consistent business and another firm that thrives and wins large amounts of business?   

The difference comes from one specific high-value skill that law school did not teach you: the business development skill of lead conversion. Lead conversion, also known as sales skills, is the most overlooked skill in many firms and has the potential to be the most lucrative. Nothing will increase closing ratios more than updated lead conversion skills.

The skill of lead conversion is the fastest, easiest way to increase your profits without increasing your expenses.

Sales and lead conversion is the process of leading an engaging, robust, and value-filled consultation or conversation that moves, influences, and inspires someone to hire you, not your competition. Before you can serve clients, you must get them to retain you, and this starts with a fully-functioning lead conversion process. Fix it once, and reap the rewards over and over.

Innovative attorneys who are tired of scratching their heads and watching ideal clients leave their office and hire the competition are clamoring to learn this potent skill. They know that this is the skill that will catapult them to rainmaker status and allow them to soar miles ahead of their competitors.

Top rainmakers know that the legal landscape has changed forever, and they are choosing to change with it. These modern attorneys understand what it takes to convert today’s savvy and smart legal consumer into a happy paying client. They know that what used to work in converting leads into clients is miserably outdated. Their lead conversion skills give them the edge that many attorneys don’t possess, which enables them to win more business and command higher fees.

Many attorneys are nowhere near as confident and comfortable selling their services as they are delivering them. They never thought that they would find their practice dependent on their selling and lead conversion skills. Sales and lead conversion skills are no longer nice-to-have skills; they are must-have skills.

Some attorneys turn their nose up at the thought of having to convert prospects into clients, so they avoid or never develop this income-boosting skill. Some declare one or more of these self-sabotaging mantras: I am an attorney, not a salesperson. I don’t want to change myself or my personality to sell. My work should speak for itself. Selling is not in my DNA.

Your DNA or personality are not the issues. I have worked with hundreds of attorneys who have boosted their results by adjusting their approach and enhancing their skills without altering their personality or changing their genetic makeup.

Every law practice needs to have a continuous stream of qualified prospects that come from marketing, but if attorneys cannot motivate someone to retain their services, who cares?

Many attorneys have an antiquated idea that selling is about pushing people to do something that they don’t want to do or about coercing someone buying something that they don’t need or that they can’t afford. These attorneys believe that selling is about being pushy and aggressive. This concept is outdated. There is no manipulation, arm-twisting, or headlocks involved in lead conversion.

Lead conversion is a mutual win-win activity, where both sides benefit from the transaction.

Attorneys fool themselves into believing that instead of getting better at lead conversion, they can just increase their marketing efforts, and retainer checks and clients will fall into their lap. Never! Marketing gets people’s attention; it does not compel them to hire you.

The powerful skill of lead conversion puts attorneys and law firms in the enviable position of being able to lead the change rather than attempting to catch up. The old way of attempting to convert a potential client into a paying client is in dire need of a makeover. 

Conversion and sales skills have been pushed to the back burner for far too long. Progressive law firms and smart attorneys know that they need to adapt, or they will become obsolete. They know that the cost of remaining the same is enormous. Keeping to the status quo is expensive.

Losing clients and business to the competition is a fixable problem. Take lead conversion off of the back burner, and gain the edge that gives your firm the strongest possible opportunity to be perceived as a client’s first and only choice.​

© Copyright 2023 Rainmaking for AttorneysNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 72

About this Author

Liz Wendling, The Rainmaking Academy, Lead Conversion,  Practice Consultant

Liz Wendling is founder of The Rainmaking Academy for attorneys and a practice development consultant. Liz works nationwide, teaching attorneys innovative and game-changing lead conversion and business development strategies. Liz transforms attorneys into top rainmakers who know how to close more business, seal more deals and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Liz designs highly customized virtual and in-house programs for attorneys...