In a leafy part of England a merry band of 70 suppliers of services to the legal sector gathered for the LSAS conference. It’s an annual event at which ideas are shared, contacts are made, and the occasional sherry is supped.
A theme emerged from the numerous excellent talks throughout the day…
The need for any sale of services to be a win for both parties.
It seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet when you think about it, often one or other of the parties comes away feeling not quite so happy. Either the client feels they’ve paid too much, or the suppliers feel they’ve been talked down on price. Perhaps the issue is the financial one.
After all, the cost of something is always relative to the worth it represents to the buyer, isn’t it?
So it’s crucial that a supplier takes the time to really understand their prospective customer- the needs of the firm, but also the requirements of the individuals within the firm who will be interacting with the product or service. A panel of senior people from law firms was gently grilled by Chris Bull, Legal Sector Consultant and it was slightly depressing to hear that often suppliers don’t think about who they will be talking to when they make contact. We were told in no uncertain terms that a call from a supplier who hasn’t taken the time to research the firm and the individual contact will receive a much cooler reception.
Crucially, the ‘buyer’ is often not the firm. It’s the individual for whom you will be solving a problem, or fulfilling a need. What do they need from you so that they can be convinced themselves, and what do they need so that they can take information and convince any other influential people within their firm? By treating each sales engagement as a collaborative process, and acting with respect and integrity throughout (essential elements for any relationship to work), the benefits to the individuals and the firm can be drawn out and supported, making the discussion around price a far more involved negotiation as the dialogue is now around a value proposition.
The final shift over the line to a sale is often, we were told, the vital addition to the conversation of stories. Case studies. Testimonials. Existing happy clients or buyers. Real people who have experienced your products and services and will speak glowingly of the benefits. They take the ideas and lists of promises from conceptual to real.
Coming away from a conference like this with more than just a headache is always welcome…on this occasion invaluable ideas were as plentiful as the wine.
Alex Holt, Business Development Director
The Cashroom Ltd