Five Reasons A Sales Professional At Your Law Firm Can Work | LawVision

The CFO called me and asked if we could schedule our first meeting to discuss the project. I was surprised that he called me and not the partner I brought to the field meeting. Then it occurred to me. The CFO thought I was the main engagement partner!

I spent 10 years in sales in the Big 4. After my early years in the legal field, I expected the trend of law firms to hire sales professionals to take off. This was not the case. But several years later, we are finally there. Today, a new era in the industry includes professional business executives driving new business with customers and potential customers.

From my own experience, here are five reasons why hiring sales executives makes sense for your business:

  1. Sales professionals have more time to sell than your lawyers. My partners would invoice between 1,400 and 1,600 hours per year. While they were doing billable work, I was selling. That’s a lot more time spent bringing in business.
  2. Sales Professionals Leverage Partner Time. I had spent countless hours of phone calls, research, and even initial meetings before getting one of my partners to pursue an opportunity. This equates to a significant amount of time partners have not had to invest in the sales process. A good sales manager can find and shortlist opportunities.
  3. Vendors can open doors. When I’ve done big deals, my partners have always been amazed that I’ve been able to get past the “gatekeepers”, get meetings, and eventually get business (because they’ve been trying for years without success). Salespeople know how to sell, period.
  4. Sales executives are tenacious. For years, I’ve heard from my coaching clients that “the guy never called me back.” So that’s it? One try and you give up? A seller would not only try multiple times, but also find another way in. If you are interested in gold, Fort Knox has many gates.
  5. Sellers are agnostic about what they want to sell. Let me explain. Most practicing attorneys are the most interested and comfortable selling their own service. Corporate lawyers will focus on selling corporate work and so on. I don’t blame them. . . that’s what they know best. But a salesperson will first assess the customer’s needs before determining who to present to the prospect.

Building a sales team in your law firm will have many rewards. While lawyers will be intimately involved in the closing of the business, teaming up with sales professionals early in the sale process will save lawyers a lot of time. Ultimately freeing up your lawyers to do what they do best: practice law and serve their clients.

Jim Cranston is a principal founder of LawVision, where he advises clients on revenue growth, business development and management of key clients in the professional services industry.

Denise W. Whigham