Senior attorneys, partners, or managing partners make the decisions about which vendors to work with. As a legal nurse consultant, your goal should be to sell to senior attorneys. You are a vendor who has to demonstrate you understand the language of senior attorneys. Understanding how they think is the first step to communicating with them. People at this level definitely think differently than does an associate. If you know how they think, you can use the right language to sell your services.
Assume that you have identified as your ideal clients the senior partners of a law firm with a mixture of associates and partners. There is a distance between a senior partner and the associates in the firm. They function in a very competitive field and don’t have the luxury of being able to share their thoughts, vulnerabilities and fears with attorneys working under them.
For this reason, they tend to connect better with their peers, through list servs, calls and conferences. And they rely on their peers to make recommendations of vendors, like you. This gives you added incentive to get to know the senior attorneys in your target market, and to be able to communicate in their language. You will be more effective when you sell to senior attorneys.
Senior Attorneys Use Strategic Thinking
As opposed to attorneys lower in the organizational structure, who think tactically, senior attorneys think strategically. They are more focused on long term objectives than on short term goals. For example, they know that they need to spend money on well-qualified experts and that spending $450 an hour on a highly credentialed expert is a better move than spending $350 an hour on a less well prepared expert.
Many senior attorneys will spend the $450 an hour and more if they believe it will help them win the case. Senior attorneys have the power to approve hiring you to help them find those well-qualified experts, and they are frequently less price focused than attorneys lower in the organization.
Sales tip: Stress the value of having a well credentialed expert and your ability to find those people.
How Senior Attorneys Value Time
Senior attorneys are critically aware of the value of time. No matter how much money they have, they cannot get time back. Time is their most valuable asset. Every minute of time has a price tag associated with it. Hence they listen to how your services can save them (or the associates) time.
Sales tip: Explain how your expertise will save the attorney’s time.
Recognize the Professionalism of Senior Attorneys
Senior attorneys typically display a high degree of professionalism in the way they talk, dress, act, and respond. They know the other attorneys in and outside the firm watch their behavior, and that what they say, write and do is important. Although they function in an adversarial field, they understand that they need to treat others with respect. You will be judged if you do not display the same degree of professionalism in the way you behave.
Sales tip: Dress and act professionally at any time you will be in contact with attorneys.
Sell to Senior Attorneys by Gaining Their Trust
You’ve heard that you have to earn trust. As you get to know your clients, you will be entrusted with not only case information but other details about the attorney’s private lives, and office politics. If the senior attorney cannot trust you and all aspects of how you conduct your business, you will lose that relationship. Can you keep information private?
If one attorney complains to you about another attorney, can you keep quiet about what you’ve heard? Are your invoices fair and can you provide back up information about the time you spent, if questioned? Are you trustworthy?
Sales tip: Act in a trustworthy way in all aspects of your interactions with attorneys.
Acting on your knowledge of how senior attorneys think helps you to communicate with them as a legal nurse consultant. Part 2 explores additional ways you can sell to senior attorneys.
Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC has worked with large numbers of senior attorneys.