Lessons for Lawyers from “The Lost Art of Closing”
Over the last couple of years I’ve used LinkedIn a lot to connect with people in the greater insurance and defense litigation business. Sometimes it’s been an effective tool, and other times, it’s been like sending invites and messages out into the great void. I’m going to share with you one of the ineffective methods I was using and what I learned from Anthony Iannarino’s new book The Lost Art of Closing about why my tactic wasn’t working for me.
An Ineffective Tactic
Using a method I developed to ascertain potential clients, I’d send them an invite on LinkedIn. Once they accepted, I would send a message very much like the one below:
Dear [Potential Client]:
I appreciate you adding me as a contact. I would like an opportunity to discuss with you the possibility of my firm earning [company]’s business in Alabama.
My firm’s major areas of practice are [relevant practice areas]. I believe that our practice areas coincide well with the [type of work] that [company] does. It is our priority to handle each case in a manner that meets our client’s objectives and to provide timely reporting and evaluation.
Please feel free to contact me either by phone or email to discuss how we may be able to best meet your needs in Alabama. Additionally, you can check out our website. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jeremy W. Richter
It didn’t take me long to realize this approach wasn’t meeting with much success. So while I knew what wasn’t working, it wasn’t until I read The Lost Art of Closing that I really understood why.
Lessons from The Lost Art of Closing
I am familiar with the idiom, as I’m sure you are, that “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.” But what I needed help with was learning how to get someone from complete stranger to new client. Iannarino writes that this is done by “building lifetime relationships on trust, creating value, collaborating, and delivering exceptional results.” (p. 7). To accomplish this, you have to understand the challenges your would-be client is facing and try to help them solve their problems. (p. 5).
It became clear right away that I was getting the cart before the horse. I was asking my contacts for something before providing any value to them. They didn’t know me and didn’t have any reason to trust me. I was trying to sell them something (maybe even something they were already receiving elsewhere) before creating a “relationship of value.” The Lost Art of Closing describes this type of relationship as one in which “you create value for your clients as someone who provides ideas and advice – and who also ensures that the outcomes they sell are delivered.” (p. 21). You have to be others-minded and engage your empathy.
With this type of advice, I knew Anthony Iannarino had written a book filled with the type of counsel that described the types of relationships I was looking to have with my clients – mutually beneficial, collaborative, and trusting. The Lost Art of Closing stands in stark contrast to another book I read recently, Influence, that I hated because teaches being predatory and tactics of manipulation as a method of obtaining results. Whereas Iannarino shows you how you can improve your salesmanship without feeling like you need to go take a shower afterward.
You can purchase Anthony Iannarino’s new book, The Lost Art of Closing, on Amazon in either paper or electronic formats.
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