They did not teach us anything about engaging clients in law school. Chances are no one ever told you having your own law practice would be so difficult!
I surely had no idea.
After three years of practicing law at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, CA, I decided to hang my own shingle. Naively, I was sure there would be people lined up just waiting to take advantage of my great service.
Little did I know, getting the phone to ring in my law practice was just the beginning of the battle.
I had no idea I’d have to learn how to do sales too. My dad was a salesman, and I went to law school to avoid that fate!
“I’m a professional,” I thought, “not a salesman.” And yet, my practice was floundering.
I would often spend 3-4 exhausting hours with a prospect, only to find out at the end of the meeting that they were shopping around for the best deal or had to think about it. (Truth was… I spent so long with people because I was scared to quote my fee.)
I approached each initial consultation with a knot in my stomach because, if they didn’t say yes, I wouldn’t be able to pay my one part-time staff person, let alone support my family.
I was terrified to quote my fees.
I knew I didn’t have a good way to do it. My fees were really not based on anything rational other than what I thought I should charge and, truth be told, each time I quoted a fee, I was creating a breach of trust in the relationship. My prospects could feel it and they couldn’t say yes to working with me.
It was so bad, I found myself praying to God for help. (Can you relate?)
I was grasping at anything I thought could possibly help. And then it happened…