Doesn’t every lawyer do that? Well maybe not so much. Sometimes professionals are too busy talking about the solution to a problem they assume the client has, when in fact the client may not even recognize they have a problem. In other words, you can’t solve a problem that the client doesn’t know exists.

So the key, according to marketing guru Seth Godin, is that you must sell the problem before you sell the solution. He’s talking about the fear and benefit thing. First, you need to uncover the problem or concern (i.e., need), before you “jump into (the) features and benefits” (i.e., solution) you are selling. Additionally, Seth points out an “interesting paradox” in all this. That is, a client may not even admit to a problem, unless they see a hint of a solution. In other words, you have to sell the problem AND show them a way out of it before they’ll retain you.

The important thing is to ask the client/prospective client the right questions to uncover whether or not they have a need for the services you provide, and recognize their situation and the light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise, you could have best legal solution the world has ever seen, but the client still won’t buy it.

  • Thanks for a fresh perspective on this point. Those who terrify their prospects by pointing to the “worst case” as the norm have always seemed manipulating and in some cases dishonest to me. I have always moved in the other direction: Instead of scaring the audience (for this most often occurs in speaking engagements)I raise the potential nasties and follow with some comforting words about probabilities and realistic fixes. Now I wonder if I need to find some middle ground.