The skill of listening is quite difficult, and lawyers may be some of the worst listeners. We are taught to analyze quickly, advocate (okay, argue) and solve problems. Those are good things. But not in a first meeting before all the facts are known. Especially in a legal marketing situation. Better to spend most of your time listening, probing and learning about the client’s/prospect’s needs.

As promised in my last post I want to address Jim Hassert’s third fact  – “You Must Listen” from his  “Six Facts Every Lawyer Must Know To Develop New Business” series.

What I particularly wanted to share from Fact 3, was the four reasons listening will help you sell (I know that darn “s” word) your legal services which Jim took from Brian Tracy’s book Advanced Selling Strategies:

  • Listening builds trust,
  • Listening lowers resistance,
  • Listening builds self-esteem, and
  • Listening builds character and self-discipline;

and Jim’s five steps to improve your listening:

“1. Establish genuine interest by asking questions that you care about.

“2. Take notes. Writing down what people say shows that what they say is important, and that you are paying attention. Just put the pen down if the talk turns confidential.

“3. Respond to the speaker’s nonverbal cues, and monitor your own, including eye contact, smiling, and frowning.

“4. Keep people talking. Paraphrase, summarize, and restate what you hear. When you agree with people, they will think that you are smart. Especially if you don’t interrupt them or argue.

“5. Come prepared with good questions.”

Certainly you have encountered a good listener at some event you’ve attended, and they just seemed to hang on your every word. What did you think when you parted company? Something like this I’ll bet: “Boy, that was one smart individual.” Why? Because they recognized your brilliance by mostly listening to you, right? (Yeah, I’ve been there, and I am always looking for good listeners so I can be reminded of how smart I am.)  

But if you want to improve your legal marketing, I suggest you try to heed the advice of Jim and others, and that is that you will do better by learning to listen more, better and smarter. I know I’m going to try.

Jim’s post is worth a complete read. It’s definitely worth it.  Are you listening?