When you hire professionals, what are you actually buying? Their time? Their expertise? Those are all tools the professionals use to solve your problem. Your billables may be in hours, but what brings clients in the door isn’t how well you use your time. So what are you really selling on your website?
Week 1: Getting Personal to Create Sustainable Change
Week 2: Be Clear About Expectations, With Your Partners and Yourself
Week 3: When Writing Becomes Part of the Flow
Week 4: Need a Blog Topic? Look at Industry Trends
What Are You Really Selling?
At this week’s Build Institute session, we turned our attention to market research, and marketing more generally. After trying to paint a picture of our target clients, we asked the question: “What are you really selling?”
The challenge is that what you are selling isn’t your product or service. It’s the experience you want your clients to have working with you. For law firms, focusing on this experience can be one way to distinguish yourselves from the ever-increasing competition.
Lawyers Need to Reconnect With Potential Clients’ Emotions
Lawyers are taught to look at each case as a fact pattern. This can sometimes create a cold, analytical perspective that ignores the client’s experience. It may work well to allow attorneys to maintain professional distance, making it easier for them to view each case objectively and maintain an analytical perspective. But it can also make marketing more difficult.
Selling your services requires reconnecting to and understanding the emotions and expectations of your target clients. Most marketing professionals rely on an emotional connection with viewers or readers to make them want to click through. They want to identify a customer’s need (even something as simple as the need for answers) and then give the customer a way to meet that need, by focusing on conveying a certain experience.
What Is Your Ideal Customer Experience?
Most of the time, businesses are ultimately selling an experience, rather than a particular product or service. This could be making potential customers feel:
- Thrifty, like they got a good deal
- Exclusivity, or feeling like part of the in-crowd
- They are part of a particular lifestyle or community
Lawyers can tap into a number of those experiences, or others, depending on their niche market, and their preferred take on marketing. Here are some examples:
Selling Comfort in Estate Planning
Clients looking for estate planning are seeking comfort and certainty in unpredictable circumstances. They want to know that no matter what happens, they and their family members, will be taken are of. As an estate planning attorney, you can sell that experience by writing web content that promises to put clients at ease and answer all their questions. That way they will be comfortable when they sign the estate planning documents at the end of the day.
Selling Confidence in Business Litigation
Business owners facing litigation are often anxious. They don’t know the process, and may be lacking confidence since someone has accused them of doing something wrong. Corporate defense attorneys can use that insecurity to sell confidence on their website, assuring customers that they know what to expect and will help protect the reputation of their business. By exuding confidence, these lawyers can help their customers feel more confident themselves, even when the best solution includes paying some form of settlement.
General Practitioners Sell Convenience and Community to Local Clients
One of the hardest lawyers to market is the general practitioner. Because they handle whatever walks in the door, these lawyers have trouble narrowing down their target client or speaking to their needs. One option is to market to a location. By honing in on their local community, general practitioners can sell the convenience of a hometown lawyer, drawing contrasts to the long drive and insensitivity of “big city” firms.
Why Selling Thriftiness Could Get You Into Trouble
Some lawyers choose to compete on price. They market low-cost options to potential customers who otherwise may not be able to afford a lawyer. This taps into the client’s emotional need to get a good deal, but it can also create additional problems when the matter becomes more complicated. When a lawyer has to ask for more money, a discount customer will take offense. Because they were sold on price, they may feel like they have been the victim of a bait-and-switch when, in fact, unpredictable costs are part of a lawyer’s everyday life.
There are many ways to use emotional connections and experience to sell legal services. But before you can settle on the right one, you need to reconnect with your ideal client. Take the time to understand the feelings that caused them to reach out to you, and the experience you want them to take away when the case is closed.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and websites for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help selling experience to potential customers, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a consultation.