In the last several weeks, I have been called, emailed or otherwise pitched to by a variety of solutions providers. I have to tell you despite having a great memory, I can't remember a single company name nor what any of the companies who wanted my firm's money do. The reason I can't recall any of those fine details is because I was too put off by the approach, lack of planning and general disrespect for my time that within two minutes of each call, I zoned out. I have also had a series of great sales pitches in the past while, where halfway through the call I wanted to purchase the service or product regardless of the price, because the person pitching to me understood my need, met a challenge or was generally on the ball. I get that sales can be a tough a grind and I generally applaud the tenacity and bravery of sales people. But to the sales people who fall in the first group, I offer this:Do your research
There is no excuse today to not research targets. Ten minutes on LinkedIn, Facebook, even the good ol'Google should provide insight into me as an individual, my role with the firm and how your product or service might be work for me. Failing that, ask me what I do in the realm of whatever you are trying to tell me and then listen to my answer. Use my answer to probe further or offer up a synergy of some kind. I recently had a sales person fail at this exercise when, after hearing my answer to her question, responded with (and I am loosely paraphrasing) "oh, well this product is not for you then, we have better success with firms who want to be innovative". I hope she wasn't suggesting that I am the poster child for stagnant approaches to laws firms. A quick read of my LinkedIn profile suggests otherwise, I think. I shouldn't have to say it, but don't insult your prospective clients either.
Study the Site
As it happens, laws firms, like any businesses today, have websites. The websites, like the firms, vary in their sophistication but at the very least the sites will tell you something about a firm. Visit that site before you pick up the phone. Don't, for example, try to sell a litigation boutique access to your corporate database or a Canadian firm exclusively US content without making the case for why I should listen beyond the initial pitch. If a firm very obviously can't benefit from your product or service don't pick up the phone or draft the email.
I work in Marketing we invented catch phrases and slogans. Please use your own language when you call me to tell me about your product or service. I don't deal well with jargon or salesy chatter that describes specifically nothing. Don't tell me what "law firms" all over are doing or are interested in, as it assumes that I don't know my business and that I am relying on people like you to tell me what I need. I don't. I do my own research, but if you were to call me and tell me how another firm in a similar geographic area or with similar practices is benefitting from your product or service, I am all ears.
I love learning about new products and services in the market, I thrive on hearing how other firms are using products to their competitive advantage, or to increase efficiency. Don't stop contacting me - ever. All I ask, is that before you do call or email me, please spend a bit of time doing your homework if you want me to listen.