Law Firm Business Development: How to Turn Pain Into GainThe primary reason why someone hires an attorney is to alleviate his or her “pain.” They may use words like “goal,” “challenge” “problem” or “issue,” but their pain is whatever they are experiencing that they want you to fix.

When their “pain” becomes too big for them to ignore or too excruciating to handle is the time they call out for help. And if you have been looking for the right signals, you can put yourself in the position to turn their pain into your gain.

First, you need to understand that when someone is in pain, there are some common problems:

They may not be thinking too clearly and may make irrational decisions (like hiring the wrong lawyer).

They don’t use the right terms to describe their pain (they ask for mediation when they really want a divorce lawyer).

They may not see what’s really causing their pain (they may focus on the immediate or surface problem and not see the root cause, in which case their pain may resurface in the future).

They may use things or people to conceal the true source of their pain (they may point to the wrong person or company as the source of their pain).

Once you understand the signs to look for, use these tips to turn a prospect with pain into a paying client:

  • Know how your prospects typically define and describe their “pain.”
  • Talk about the problem using their language.
  • They will feel you listened to them if you ask them a lot of questions about their problem and their pain.
  • Don’t waste time describing the process you will use to resolve their pain. Instead, focus on helping them understand your solution and results.
  • Give them a sense of hope, that things can get better and you know how to help.
  • Project confidence in your ability to help.
  • Listen to them and make them feel understood or they won’t listen to you.

Client acquisition begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.

Attorneys are, as a group, notoriously gregarious, but you need to learn how to listen carefully if you hope to gain and retain clients.  It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.