I attended a fascinating breakfast seminar recently on up selling into existing customers. In truth I felt a little bit like an imposter being there as the session was exclusively for law firms, however RBS had kindly invited me and it proved a really enlightening morning.
Now here’s the interesting thing: everywhere I have ever worked we have employed salespeople to, you guessed it, sell our services. But in the professions they expect their qualified solicitors and accountants to take personal control of the selling process.
And this appears to be leading to greater extremes: a legal recruitment expert I sat next to explained to me that invariably nowadays law firms no longer seek to employ legal graduates but would rather recruit from another discipline, for example Bio Chemistry, in anticipation of then teaching them law after appointment. This is seen as far more attractive from a future selling perspective.
Apologies if this is controversial guys, but I believe the professions have it wrong on two levels.Firstly, as my principal relationship with lawyers these days is in the role of buyer (after all, if they are salespeople then the recipient is de facto the buyer) what I am looking for is great legal advice. Personable helps, but want I really want to feel is that my solicitor achieved partner due to his / her knowledge of the law as it affects my business not because they are the biggest ‘rainmaker’ (I am sure this 90’s term must now be out of fashion but I do not know the current replacement).
Secondly, I feel this policy both massively undervalues and even misunderstands the benefits that highly trained and accomplished sales professionals deliver. Our salespeople are not, let’s say, translators or printers themselves – never have been, will be nor aspire to be. What they are trained in and work hard at full time is the art of professional selling, which is centred around finding the best solution for a myriad of customers and circumstances. It is a full time commitment, therefore none to the best of my knowledge practice part-time law or accountancy on the side – and if they did I would not want to trust their counsel.
We recognise these levels of advice are best left to the experts. I wonder why this does not apply the other way around?