To get lawyers thinking about sales, the first step is to set up a system that rewards them for sales. Not a revolutionary idea, but one that many firms don’t implement or implement poorly.
You need to entrench sales and marketing in the culture of the firm. Sales is not a dirty word, it’s what lawyers must do to become partners, build a great practice and make the firm financially viable for the long term.
By simply setting up a tracking system for sales, you get lawyers’ attention. And when you use the system to start impacting partners’ compensation, they quickly change their behavior and get down to business. In some firms, there are partners who simply do sales and very little legal work. They can be the most highly paid partners in the firm. They show the way for entrepreneurial young partners, who quickly see the benefits and build their own practices and become great partners.
Some will say that tracking and origination credits systems can be divisive and encourage internal competition. There are certainly management issues in making a sales tracking system work properly, but these can usually be easily handled. The pros dramatically outweigh the cons in most cases. Most firms with sales tracking systems already in place would never go back.
Track origination credits by clients and matters. In this way, you will encourage new client development and generate business from current clients. Studies show that 80% of your business is generated from current clients. And encourage sharing of origination credits between lawyers and within practice groups to promote team sales efforts. This will help institutionalize clients, resulting in longer-term retention of clients’ business and greater stability for your firm.
I’ve seen sales tracking systems in action that produce stellar results, which have helped make their firms extremely profitable. For many firms, this is the key to really unlocking your partners’ business generation potential.
One thought on “How To Get Lawyers To Sell”
Great post, Colin. Tracking sales metrics is an important step to both rewarding efforts of lawyers and measuring marketing and business development results. Your post is a good reminder to all firms, small and large.