Monday, March 18, 2013

Spider Sense

Have you ever thought about what you are really selling?

Experience, firm name and presence, practice area knowledge, customer service, risk mitigation, your record…

These are the usual items that end up on a whiteboard when I consult with firms and ask some variation of this question.

Problem is, EVERYONE sells these things. If all of this cancels out with what other attorneys and firms offer, how much of a commodity is your practice? Can clients get what you are selling at a cheaper price, or would you doubling your rate not even cause your clients to blink.  Cost vs. Investment.

I grew up loving Spider Man.  Aside from thinking it was cool to swing between buildings, the most important trait that he had was his Spider-sense.

Spider- Man had “Spider-sense”, attorneys have knowledge and experience.

Wikipedia defines Spider-Man's "Spider-sense" as a "tingling feeling at the base of his skull, alerting him to personal danger in proportion to the severity of that danger." It is the sensation that something bad is about to happen. It is his unique ability to sense peril ahead, sort of his early warning system that he needs to take action to avoid trouble...or meet it at a position of advantage.

Addressing issues before they become problems.  Spend 100k in fees to avoid millions in lawsuits for instance..

Do clients pay you to do legal work or for your spider-sense? The fresh set of eyes on what they see as day-to-day events.  Knowledge and experience that enables you to see around a corner when they can not.  Hearing the ominous music as pending doom is about to occur while they are walking into…(stay tuned for the rest of that story on next weeks episode..)

How do you sell what nobody knows will happen?

Put them in the grave and take them out.  What has your knowledge and experience seen? How has it helped other clients bottom line?  What bad things have happened to other companies in their sector? How has it damaged them and what could have been done to avoid it?

Know the enterprise. Whether they are one person or a Fortune 100 company, learn everything about them.  Every division, every company goal, every stakeholder. Everyone does a Google search, few read a 10-Q. Fewer ask to spend a day meeting with people throughout an organization.  You may not have practice area experience, but someone in your referral network should.  Take a team approach to address every pitfall from HR, operations, marketing, IP, tax, etc  The trusted advisor that they can’t live without and that has touch points deeper than one area. If they don’t find the value in the time that you want to invest in getting to know them as a whole, maybe they are just wanting to hire someone that is a commodity and wont cost them that much. Your value is worth the investment!

Measurement. Establish a baseline.  If they don’t have anything to measure and no reason to change what they are doing, why should they hire you?  What are they paying in labor lawsuits in a year? Fines, compliance, delayed product launches?

Please contact me to discuss your client development goals: Andrew Wilcox,, 850-893-8984