December is a good month to focus on business relationships. There are many opportunities to attend parties and socialize. During this time of year, there are more chances to meet potential clients and find out their legal needs. And if you are a good listener and ask good questions, you will land your next client, right? Wrong!
Good business development does require good listening skills. Click here for a recent post on the subject. But don’t go to the local Chamber of Commerce holiday party so that you can “listen” to the people you meet and then try to sell them your legal services. Business development requires that you listen for listening sake. A prerequisite to asking for business is to demonstrate that you are a trustworthy individual who is truly interested in the other person.
A contributing editor of Rain Today puts it nicely here:
Really successful salespeople are always establishing and deepening relationships with people. Doing so earns them the right to engage in a different form of conversation, around a buyer’s needs and around selling.
If you think the “purpose” of building a relationship is to lead you along a process of selling the client, then you are likely to ask questions in order to get answers. Your idea of “listening” will be in service to driving the process model forward.
And your prospect will get the same idea: “He’s listening to me in order to find an opening to best present whatever he’s selling. I’ll go along as long as it suits me, but I’m on my guard.”