Are You Confusing Legal Marketing with Sales? (Part A)

Put aside that "I'm here to serve the public" mentality for a moment and accept something: you're in business to make money. There's no way you can run a law firm without it, even if you're: working out of your home; have no staff; and do every case pro-bono. You still have to generate income to pay state bar fees and your electric bill.

Many lawyers get the terms "sales" and "marketing" mixed up - they are not the same. Sales is signing up the client, while marketing and advertising is all about getting the client to pay attention in the first place.

I'm a Lawyer, Not a Sales Person!

You are in some part a sales person because you are selling your legal services. This doesn't mean you need to be giving out coupons and hiring a stock boy; selling is a general term for goods AND services. You're not operating retail, you're providing professional services.

There are some lawyers who are born sales people. They know how to "seal the deal" and get their ideal clients to sign the representation contract. Generally, if you are good at sales, you are not so great at marketing and vice versa. There are some attorneys who have mastered both sales and marketing, and that's where the real entrepreneurial success stories are.

The Difference Between Sales and Attorney Marketing

There is a distinct difference between sales and legal marketing, but they do go hand-in-hand. You need to employ good legal marketing and attorney advertising to attract the interest of potential clients. This is where your website, newsletters, and other marketing strategies come into play. Your attorney advertising (and yes, attorney advertising is somewhat different from legal marketing) feeds your legal marketing plan. These methods make potential clients sit up and take notice, and that's when the sales part of your law firm kicks in.

When selling to a client, you've already told them your services and credentials through your attorney advertising and legal marketing messages. Now they're primed, since they've got good information from your legal marketing materials, and are familiar with your face through your attorney advertising. All that's left is to convince them that you're the lawyer they need and to sign the contract. 

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Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.