Research shows that over 80 percent of B2B decision-makers think that people involved with industrial and commercial sales are not as prepared as they should be. (As claimed by SiriusDecisions research.)
Conversations by Forrester with executives showed the specifics of the frustration B2B decision-makers have with the amount of preparedness in salespeople. According to statistical data from those conversations,
- 78% of those surveyed stated that the representatives lacked important information about case studies,
- 77% of those surveyed stated that the representatives did not understand the company issues and purpose of the product,
- 75% of those surveyed stated that the representatives had little knowledge about their own business,
- 70% of those surveyed stated that the representatives seemed like they were not prepared for the questions the B2B members had prepared,
- and 57% of those who were surveyed stated that the sales representatives lacked important knowledge about the clients’ specific field of work.
The data from this research provides examples for people who have a career in professional sales. This being the case, would it be fair for us to assume that a lawyer would be judged in this same way or worse? Even though lawyers are more amateur sellers who only do sales occasionally?
Most clients share that one of the biggest complaints they have about lawyers is the way lawyers don’t seem to take the time to understand what their clients’ business is really about. Since legal advice is known to be more valuable if it is less abstract, this complaint from clients is akin to someone emotionally stating that their partner, friend, or family member doesn’t pay enough attention to them. This shows that clients can’t really tell the difference between the companies they’re involved with and the companies that are competition.
The Good News In All Of This
This may seem like bad news, but it is actually good news because this would mean that the competitive bar is pretty low and that makes it much easier for companies to differentiate themselves. The associate general counsel and head of Uber’s legal department in Asia-Pacific, Katrina Johnson, offers encouragement to law firms by telling them to learn ways they can capitalize on data and offer clients strategic advice in a more informative way.
Ms. Johnson has also stated that the only thing that allows other law firms to gain more work that other law firms have missed out on is the way those winning law firms are able to show their clients that they are very willing to understand their business and invest in the client-lawyer relationship.
Be the Challenger
There is an approach to client relationships called the Challenger approach which can be found in The Challenger Sale, which is a business bestseller. The Challenger sale is a must-read for anyone interested in this article and it follows half a million salespeople who make use of five main approaches to client relationships.
The Challenger approach is found to be much better than any of the other sales approaches, and the Relationship Builder approach that lawyers seem to favor is less effective than any of the five approaches.
Some key takeaway points from the Challenger approach include
- knowing that the way you sell is much more important that what it is you are selling,
- knowing that sellers must have a thorough understanding of their client’s business
- and make good use of that understanding by helping the client learn to be more effective,
- staying focused on helping the client to get themselves out of their comfort zone for better results,
- making clients feel that they have value,
- and knowing what the client needs even better than the client does so that you can help then learn what they need to know.
Using the Challengers approach helps you offer clients new opportunities, new ideas, new insights, and new perspectives that make everything better and more effective because the best clients like being challenged for all the greatness that challenges can bring.