Initial prospect consultations are lost hours if the prospect doesn’t become a client. Guest Theophan McKenzie is a professional sales consultant who helps attorneys and law firms across the country learn a better way to stop wasting time and stop letting prospects walk out the door.
McKenzie’s innovative, nontraditional sales techniques teach attorneys to turn off their “lawyer brain” and build immediate, lasting connections with prospects. Learn how to stop selling yourself and start listening to the prospective client.
Special thanks to our sponsors Law Clerk, Alert Communications, LawYaw, and Scorpion.
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging, marketing, time management, attracting clients and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that are not billable. Welcome to this edition of the Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome to the Un-Billable Hour. I am your host, Christopher Anderson and today’s episode is about Client Acquisition. In the main triangle of what it is that a law firm business must do to remind you, every law firm business has to acquire new clients as acquisition, has to produce the results that we promised to those new clients, that’s production, and we have to achieve the business of professional results for the owners, for the employees, for all the stakeholders.
Those are the three points of the triangle. But let’s face it, client acquisition is the lifeblood of your law firm, every law firm and that, of course, begins with marketing, which helps prospects become aware of your business and form an opinion that you might be the firm that could help them reach their goals and then there is sales. And sales is the process of educating those prospects efficiently so they could decide whether they want to work with you, and so the title of today’s show is “Your Information, Their Decision.” And my guest is Theophan Mckenzie he’s the founder and director of Smart Systematic Selling, also known as S3. But before we get started talking to him, it’s time to do a little business. I want to say thank you to the sponsors that make this show possible.
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Christopher T. Anderson: Today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour is “Your Information, Their Decision”, and I am pleased to introduce my guest today is Theophan McKenzie. He’s the founder and director of Smart Systematic Selling or S3. Theophan has worked as a sales professional for more than 20 years. In 2006, he went into private practice as an executive sales coach, and he’s helped small business owners, executives and others level up their businesses and their lives. In 2015, he launched a nontraditional sales training program called Smart Systematic Selling or S3 for short and we’re going to be talking about what non-traditional selling is. So first of all, Theophan, welcome to the show.
Theophan McKenzie: Thanks, Chris. Thank you so much for having me.
Christopher T. Anderson: It’s really, really my pleasure and I’m notorious for terrible introductions and so I have not failed to disappoint once again. So, what I’d love to do to start out the show is that how did you come to be helping law firms with their sales issues? Like what brought you in? Give a little bit more of your background that I missed, so people understand where you’re coming from.
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah, great question and great introduction. That was a wonderful introduction. But to answer your question, when I went into private practice as a professional coach back in 2006, I found myself working with an attorney every once in a while, maybe every one two years, I would start working with a law office or an attorney specifically to do one-on-one coaching. And at some point, probably it was about a year and a half, two years ago, I had an attorney that I was working with ask, “Hey, what is this sales training you’re doing?” And then I shared with them a little bit about the sales training and next thing I know, I was working with a law office and teaching them how to sell. Never in my life did I think I’d be teaching sales training to law offices but that happened about a year and a half ago. I started working with the first law firm, helping them with sales.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, cool and I think it’s funny that never in your life would you have thought of that because, as you know, we’ve talked about this before. I worked with hundreds of law firms across the country as well and as I encounter new lawyers, most of them never in their life would they have considered taking sales training or being trained in the art of sales or in the process of sales, however, we want to call it, and I think that disconnect is really important to go into as we go through the show today.
But in the introduction, I described S3 as a non-traditional selling system. First of all, just like go there. What does that mean? What do these words mean? Like, does that mean that we don’t wear traditional sales clothes? What’s the difference between non-traditional and traditional selling system?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah, I’ve got a simple way of explaining the difference. Traditional selling is anytime that you are sharing the features and benefits of your product or service, that’s traditional selling. Anytime that you try to overcame a stall or an objection like the money objection, the decision maker objection, the time objection, that’s traditional selling, and then traditional selling teaches that you’re always trying to close. Every opportunity that you have, you’re trying to swing and hit a home run.
So traditional selling is features and benefits. Traditional selling is overcoming stalls and objections, and it’s also always be closing A-B-C, you’ve heard, hey, put that coffee down. You haven’t closed anything this week, right? You should be closing. So, non-traditional is just the opposite of that. Non-traditional selling is about focusing on the prospect or in the legal world, we call them PNCs. Focus the conversation on the PNC. It’s not about the law firm. It’s not about you. It’s not about what you do or how you do it. It really is about learning. What does the prospect need? Can we help them? Can we be a good fit for them? It’s not, “Hey, so let me see what I can do to help you with this case. No problem. We’re going to get you out of this.” That’s traditional selling. We’re asking curious questions, practicing active listening to figure out what it is that we can do to help them. And if we can’t help them, we will tell them no. Traditional sales people don’t understand the word no. So that’s what’s interesting in traditional and non-traditional selling.
Christopher T. Anderson: I get it. So, I think you’ve summed it up. It’s not always be closing. It’s always be learning, if you will. Maybe is the way you described that. The next thing I want to do. We’ve talked about traditional selling versus non-traditional selling. But let’s just talk about that word because like I said, I really — I mean I’m not kidding. I said it sort of flippantly but when I talk to lawyers across the country and I say that they would never have imagined them themselves being in a sales training or subjecting any of their people to a sales training, I mean it. I mean it’s really true because there is a negative association with the word. You’ll hear lawyers say, this is a profession, not a business. This is a noble calling, which it is and so we don’t sell. So first of all, since you’ve been working with law firms, why do you think lawyers do react negatively to that word and let’s deal with that word to talk about what it really means.
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah, well, attorneys, doctors, doctors don’t ever want to be perceived as selling. They don’t want to be salespeople. Attorneys, a noble calling, absolutely. They’re right up there with doctors. The challenge is when we think of the word salesperson, what do we think of? We think of the used car sales guy that all of us have probably had an experience with at one point in our life and then after we spent six hours at the dealership, went home and took a shower because we felt dirty. And so, when an attorney graduates with their JD and goes into practicing law, they never would think that they would have to sell, but a sales conversation has to happen. The PNC has to have a consultation with the attorney to determine whether or not a firm can help them. That is a sales meeting, and they don’t teach you how to sell in law school and we’ve worked with more than 30 law firms in the last year and time and time again, I hear from attorneys, I don’t want to sell. I don’t like selling, but I realize I have to, and I sucked at it.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right? And they suck at — I mean at the end of the day, I think you see, I see that what they suck at is the part that we don’t want them to be doing anyway, right?
Theophan McKenzie: Right.
Christopher T. Anderson: That maybe traditional sales, like lawyers who are good at their craft are actually naturally good at the right way of selling, I think. And it’s a harnessing of that skill and understanding of it so you can bring it in the right order, in the right steps that makes the most sense. If you had to define sales the right way, what would your definition of sales be?
Theophan McKenzie: In a nutshell, it’s not about you as the sales person, the attorney. When the attorney is sitting across from a PNC, the right way to sell is to not focus the conversation on you. It’s to focus the conversation on the PNC. Nobody cares about you, attorney. Nobody, well, we do. You know what I mean. But when you’re in a consultation with a PNC, nobody cares about the attorney. The person that’s sitting across from them has a significant challenge or problem in their life and they need someone to listen. And more often than not, when we, me, you; when we go and talk to a friend or family member about a challenge that we’re having in our life, our friend or our family member automatically want to provide a solution. “Oh, gosh, do this, do that, you should, this is what I recommend”. Right? We do that just naturally. And so what happens when an attorney who has been trained in the law is sitting across from a PNC and they start to hear the PNC share their situation, their story. All of a sudden, lawyer brain clicks in and they start thinking about the solutions, “Oh, statute this”. And they start thinking about, like, strategy about how to approach the case. And they start to share that with the PNC and they think what they’re doing is good, like,” Hey, let me show you, hey, let me show you exactly how I can help you with this case”. That’s’ not how they’re saying it, but that’s’ how the PNC is hearing it. And all of a sudden, they’re just hearing one more person tell them what they think they should do.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Theophan McKenzie: But if we focus the conversation on the PNC and we realize it’s not about me, it’s really about them. That’s the way to have a proper sales conversation. Nobody cares about you.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. But now I’m going to channel the listeners because I know that one of the things that some listeners right now are thinking is, yeah, but doesn’t the PNC or the PC, which however the firm describes the potential? Don’t they need to know about how great I am? And I say that a little facetiously but, like, seriously, don’t they need to know my qualifications? Don’t they need to know that I’ve done this before? Don’t’ they need to know that I’m the guy to help them? Don’t they need to know that I went to such and such law school that I graduated with this GPA that I got these awards that I’ve been top lawyers or I’m blanking on, like, some of the awards that I’m AB rated or that I’m AVO 10.02. Don’t they want to know all that?
Theophan McKenzie: Don’t they want well —
Christopher T. Anderson: About me?
Theophan McKenzie: Yes. Yes. And if they are an intelligent consumer, like most of us are today, they’ve already done research before they sit down with the attorney for the consultation, I’ll bet money that they’ve already looked you up. They may have already talked to somebody who has worked with you. They’ve looked at your website. They’ve looked at your Google reviews. They may have already looked you up on AVO or they found you on AVO. By the time they sit down to meet with you, they know more about you than you probably realize. You don’t need to impress them in the consultation. They already know enough about you to sit down with you. They think you could probably —
Christopher T. Anderson: They’re already there.
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah. They think you could probably help them. So they’re already there. You don’t have to impress them.
Christopher T. Anderson: To go back to the movie you reference, they didn’t come in to get out of the rain.
Theophan McKenzie: That’s right
Christopher T. Anderson: All right. We’re going to take a break here and listen to our sponsors for a second. But when we come back, I’m going Theophan to talk about where law firms and lawyers really stumble when it comes to sales, and we’ll take the conversation from there. But first, from the sponsors.
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Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome back. We’re talking with the Theophan McKenzie. We’ve been talking about sales and the negative implications and non-traditional selling. And so now that we’re coming back, I want to talk a little bit more like we’re going to get into the law firm a little bit more. The first thing I want to do is you said you’ve been working — you worked with — did you say 30 to 40 law firms in the past year?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah. More than 30.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. So what are the challenges you’re seeing like, how are they stuck? What are the problems that you’re seeing in law firms that some of the listeners might be able to relate to?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah. When they’re coming to me, the biggest challenge that I’m hearing, there’s a couple of them. Part of it comes down to systems and processes. Again, they didn’t’ learn how to sell in law school. They realize they need to, and they don’t know how. They’ve just been winging it for however long, six months, ten years, whatever. And they’ve realized they need a formal system and a process in place, not just for themselves, but for the other attorneys at the law firm. And if it’s a law firm that’s using a non-attorney salesperson, they want to have a system in place.
So that when they bring somebody else on later, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They don’t have to try to train them on something that they don’t even know how to do in the first place. So the first thing is systems and processes. The other challenge for attorney specifically is that lawyer brain that I was mentioning earlier. They can’t get out of their own way. They really, really want to start strategizing and providing a solution in the consultation. And that’s a big challenge. And once they start to learn a different way and they understand, it’s not about me, it’s not about how smart I am, it’s not about providing a strategy in the consultation, they’re able to get out of their own way. And then that starts to make a difference for them in those consultations because people start to realize, “Oh, so you’re not just trying to collect a retainer and make money off of me, you actually care about me.” So the biggest challenge is I would say a lot of them don’t have a system or process in place for sales to begin with. And then the other thing that they learn and it’s funny because it’s like an “AHA”. When we’re about halfway through the sales training, I hear an AHA from the majority of attorneys. They go, “Oh, so I’m not actually providing any strategy information in the consultation?” No, I told them “unplug the lawyer brain.”
Christopher T. Anderson: And I promise you like, we got some listeners out going yet? No, of course we are and that’s what we’re selling, we’re selling them how smart we are. And so I just ask the listeners now to like, withhold your prejudice on this point because it’s real. And the fact that it takes – Theophan when you say halfway through, you’re not talking about halfway through an hour, right? You’re talking about three, four hours into a process. That’s when that AHA comes.
Theophan McKenzie: That’s right.
Christopher T. Anderson: And I think it’s important to realize that it takes a little while to understand. You said that one of the obstacles is systems and process and like you said, a lot of lawyers, I was a lawyer for 15 years before I ever encountered a sales process. And I thought I was pretty good at sales but I was like water, like every client that came, every prospect that came, I would fit the container. And so a process to me seemed to them, it seemed like the absolute wrong thing to do. There’s to have a process because I wanted to meet them where they were. Why is process better?
Theophan McKenzie: Well, because the process does exactly that. It does allow you to meet them where they are, but you’re also able to take control of the consultation. How many times, for attorneys that are listening, rhetorical question obviously, you can’t respond. How many times have you gone into a consultation and you start out and all of a sudden your PNC starts talking, talking, talking, talking. They’re sharing their story, they can’t, they won’t stop. And you’re just like, “Oh, my gosh. When are they got to take a breath, so I can interrupt and move this forward?” If you have a systematized process for your sales conversation, you’re able to take control of that meeting. And as far as attorney saying, “Well, no, I need to impress them, I need to tell them what I do and how I do it and show them that I got the degree, I got the credentials, I got the experience”. I did a sales training with a law firm last week, Tuesday and Wednesday, it was back to back two full days. And they have a non-attorney salesperson. Now, I know a lot of law firms don’t do that, some do. But, so that was Tuesday, Wednesday. On Thursday, the attorney reached out to me to let me know that his non-attorney salesperson closed one, two, $5000 retainers on Thursday, using this sales conversation. That’s a non-attorney salesperson that is not trained in the law. There is no JD after their name. They can’t impress the PNC with their credentials and their experience and their knowledge because they fortunately have none.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right. That does make — it removes the temptation, right? It makes it a little bit easier to not sell because you don’t, you can’t.
Theophan McKenzie: They can’t.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. So, like I don’t want you to give away all your secrets, and I don’t want to, like we don’t have three hours. But every system has phases or steps. Can you just give a kind of rapid fire like, what does the system look like? What’s the beginning? What’s the end of a sales system for the way you think it should be?
Theophan McKenzie: So I’m happy to give away a little bit.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Theophan McKenzie: So a 30,000-foot view, and we talk about systematizing the process. So first of all, we learned a lot. It’s a twelve-hour training, and we learn a lot in the training. But the first thing we learned is to build and maintain report with just about anybody. So we’re able to have that connection. We learn how to mirror them, carry ourselves physically in a similar fashion if we’re seeing them, they’re right across from us. We learn how to modulate our voice in a similar fashion. So there’s a lot of pieces that go into building a connection with the PNC right out of the gate.
Christopher T. Anderson: Sure.
Theophan McKenzie: And we have to maintain that through the sales conversation, through the consultation.
And then there are actually five steps to the consultation. So number one, we have an agenda step. Number two, we have a needs assessment step. Number three, we have the money step. Number four, we have the decision maker step. And then last but not least, number five, we have the presentation step. And briefly, what the agenda does is it allows us to verbally explain to the PNC exactly what we’re there to do in the amount of time that we’ve scheduled for the consultation. So, we know at the end of our meeting, we’re going to have a nowhere a yes, but not a maybe or no and I think about it. So, we don’t have to chase.
So, we’re setting a verbal agenda. This is what we’re here to do and this is our desired outcome. And then when we go into the needs assessment step, that’s where we’re really focusing on what they need. We’re not presenting. We’re not telling them what we do and how we do it. We’re genuinely curious. We’re asking curious questions. We’re practicing active listening. We want to learn as much as we can and get them to share and open up and let themselves be vulnerable. We’re not providing a solution. We’re genuinely curious about their situation and if we find out enough from them, that’s going to let us know whether we can actually help them or not.
So it’s agenda needs assessment and then the third step is the money step. Now, after we’ve gone through the needs assessment and gotten them to open up, they’ve probably started to get emotional. So, the next thing we want to do is talk about money, what it’s going to cost for them to retain the firm and work with the firm. That’s the ideal place to talk about money. We don’t wait until the very end. We wait until they’ve opened up, allowed themselves to be vulnerable and they’ve shared what’s going on with themselves. Then we talk about money. We get clear on what it’s going to cost to work with the firm.
Then we want to make sure we’re in front of all the decision makers. That’s the fourth step, because why would we present to somebody about what we do and how we do it as a law firm if we’re not in front of all the decision makers. And then last but not least, the presentation step. It’s at the end because now we know we have a fully qualified buyer. We have a PNC that has needs. We have a PNC that has money and we are in fact in front of the decision makers. So, in the presentation step, we’ll lay out for them what it’s going to look like when they come on board and work with the firm, how we’re going to help them and all the things. We get their first meeting on the calendar and all that stuff.
And it’s just that systematized process of having a consultation with a PNC is beautiful. It flows very conversationally and at the end, they feel like, “Wow, you actually want to help me. You’re not just trying to collect a retainer for just another case.” It’s really powerful.
Christopher T. Anderson: I would just say, I mean, like when you encounter people who are, I wouldn’t even call it traditional selling because I’m not sure that lawyers do traditional selling. They just do ad hoc selling. They do whatever that has worked for them or what they saw the previous partner do before they did. Do you find that presentation step comes earlier than the way you teach it, the way most lawyers do it?
Theophan McKenzie: Yes.
Christopher T. Anderson: I mean for me, it does. I mean or did, right?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: You want to present? You want to give that presentation about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to solve et cetera.
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: What strikes me about what you just went through is there’s no real room in there to talk about me, to talk about the firm, to talk about how that seems counter intuitive but you’re saying that that’s what is getting results.
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. And you’ve seen Seinfeld?
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. In fact, interestingly, we just started watching it from season one with the kids. There’s so much they don’t get but they still laugh.
Theophan McKenzie: Great show. Great show. But there’s one episode where George Costanza decides to do the opposite of what he’s thinking. And all of a sudden, his life goes so well because it’s George Costanza, right?
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Theophan McKenzie: Same thing in a consultation with the PNC. The way that we train you to do it, it actually flies against what you think you should do. So, we don’t provide that solution. We don’t share with them what it looks like if they’re going to work with us until the very end. See, that goes back to like, we want to jump ahead, just like our friends and our family members want to start providing a solution. When they hear that we’re having a challenge in our lives, we do that quite naturally and that equals traditional selling. So, when you’re in a meeting with a PNC and you’re hearing their challenge and you want to jump in and start providing a solution, no. Now you’re putting yourself into the conversation. Now, it’s not about the PNC at all. It’s about, “Hey, let me tell you how I can solve this for you.” That’s not how you sound but that’s what they hear.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. And then they’ve stopped telling you about their problem?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. We are talking with Theopan McKenzie. We’re going to take a break here, Theophan, to hear one more time from our sponsors. And when we come back, what I want to do, you’ve mentioned a couple of things that I heard even though we’re recording this and people aren’t listening live, I still heard brains exploding. One of those was talking about non attorney salespeople so I want to dive into that a little bit. I also want to talk about sales as something that it’s not a perfection.
It’s something that needs work all the time and what your thoughts are on that. But first, we’ll hear from our sponsors and then we’ll come back and tackle those issues.
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Christopher T. Anderson: And we’re back with Theophan McKenzie. We’re talking about sales. So, the one thing I wanted to kind of get into you with is I’m going to actually reverse it, is let’s just tackle this non attorney salesperson thing. Because, I guess I think I heard some brains exploding. You know and I know that law firms are doing this. You even mentioned that there’s some advantage but so, how can a non-attorney have a meeting with a potential client when they can’t answer the questions about what legally needs to be done?
Theophan McKenzie: Great question. And that actually speaks to the episode title.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah.
Theophan McKenzie: Which is Your Information, Their Decision. So, law firm’s information, prospects decision when in fact it should be the prospect’s information. Their information, their decision. Because if you’re doing a consultation properly, you’re actually getting more information from them than you’re giving them because you need to learn about what it is that they need and how you can help them. And the only way to do that is by asking them curious questions and practicing active listening so you’re actually getting more information from them hopefully than you’re giving them.
So, when a law firm is using a non-attorney salesperson, that non-attorney salesperson should not be giving out legal advice or legal information. That’s what the strategy session is for, right? When a PNC calls in, they talk to Intake. Intake prequalifies them, make sure it’s the right type of law, the right jurisdiction, et cetera. Intake schedules a consultation with an attorney or in this case, with a non-attorney salesperson. The non-attorney salesperson takes them through the consultation to determine whether the firm can really help them. They’re doing that deep dive. They’re asking those questions, getting the PNC to open up.
The non-attorney salesperson does not need to have a law degree because it’s not about the law firm, it’s about the PNC. And then what does the non-attorney salesperson do at the end? They win the client and schedule a what? A strategy session with the attorney. And that’s where the legal speak can happen.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Theophan McKenzie: But it doesn’t happen and it shouldn’t happen in the consult.
Christopher T. Anderson: Anyway, your experience with law firms is because of the people going, “Yeah, that won’t work” but it’s working.
Theophan McKenzie: Well, it’s working, yeah. Yeah. I mean, go to my LinkedIn and you can see the recommendations from a lot of the firms we’ve worked with. Yeah.
Christopher T. Anderson: Is there any particular practice area that you’ve seen that it seems to work better or worse with?
Theophan McKenzie: No. I mean, we’ve worked with family law. We’ve worked with elder law, we’ve worked with criminal defense firms, we’ve worked with immigration firms. We’ve worked with a lot of different firms. And Chris, honestly, this sales conversation that I’m training the law firms on is very similar to what I’ve been doing for 20 plus years. And I can apply it to Widgets and fire engines and now apparently, as of about a year and a half-ish ago, law firms, you name it. We can apply this sales training to pretty much any product or service.
Christopher T. Anderson: When you’re talking with law firms, do you recommend non-attorney salespersons to all law firms or are there criteria that you suggest that they think about when deciding whether or not to go with non-attorneys versus attorneys in the sales process?
Theophan McKenzie: It is completely up to the law firm and I don’t try to push them one way or the other. I know there are law firms that are — they’re thinking no way. I could never have somebody else have that conversation. One of our attorneys needs to do it, totally fine. Totally fine. If a law firm decides to take the leap and use a non-attorney salesperson, they’ll find that’s going to make a big shift to their practice. Years ago when I was younger, I used to work for a bar as a bar back and my job was to go from bar to bar to bar. There was three of them in this big building and I would go from bar to bar to bar and I would fill the fruit and make sure the kegs were full and the glasses were clean because the bar wanted the bartender doing the most profit generating activity which was pouring drinks.
If the bartender ever got distracted from pouring drinks, the bar is losing money. What should attorneys at law firms be doing? What’s the greatest revenue-generating activity? Billable hours. So the attorney should be practicing law. Let a non-attorney salesperson do your consults for you.
We had one law firm, I can remember specifically immigration law, she was doing all of her consults. She came in, did the sales training, she picked, she had like four intake people. She picked one of them to be her non-attorney salesperson and they started doing the consults for her and three weeks later, she reported. She goes, “This is fantastic. I was at the courthouse this morning and consults were still happening.” And she was like, “This is so nice.” Now, she can practice law. She’s got somebody to do her consults for her.
Christopher T. Anderson: I’m going to take that as a segue now because you used the word practice, because this is the other thing that I think that when I think about what you’ve presented here and I think about the possibilities, the non-attorney salesperson can do that the attorney could also do but is going to have less time and feel less compelled to do because of the demands of practicing law and making money, which is practicing this, practicing sales, practicing educating clients, practicing, I think you used the word active listening, practicing all the skills, all those steps that we just breezed over.
To me, it’s such opportunity to have someone really become a professional at helping clients make this decision. It’s not something you can pick up in a book but talk to me about that. Is sales training a training one and done? You talk 12 hours so you go through this 12 hours. Now, you’re — I bet you’re a non-traditional salesperson using this different method or is there something more?
Theophan McKenzie: Yeah. There is. There should always be something more, especially when it comes to something like this. You said, it’s not like there’s a book, you read it and you’re done. There is a lot of that out there. You could read a book, you could go to a seminar, you can go to a workshop but we all know a lot of times when we go to one of these things, we read a book, go to a workshop, go to a seminar, we’re going and doing, we’re doing these activities because we know that we’re missing something and we want to get better at it.
And so, we go to a workshop, let’s say and we learn this new thing and then we roll it out and we start doing it and then usually after three or four weeks, we’re getting stuck. We are like, “Ah, I don’t have time to go back and look at this and it’s just not working.” And we default, we go back to doing what we always used to do which doesn’t make any sense because we looked at a workshop to change what wasn’t working.
It’s kind of like you can’t teach a kid how to drive a car by having them read a driver’s manual. My youngest daughter just got her driver’s license and in Oregon, you read the driver’s manual but then you have to have a hundred hours of driving with a parent or guardian.
Same thing with sales training, you can’t teach somebody how to sell by giving them a manual or a book or going through a 12-hour sales training, that’s not enough. You’ve got to have somebody get behind the wheel and drive with you. So we have actually ongoing practice in with other students. There’s law firms or small business owners. But to answer your question, it’s absolutely not one and done. I guarantee you will not be able to execute on what you learn in the initial training without ongoing practice. It’s mastering that conversation and it’s so different with every different person that you’ve got to learn how to do it very well and that doesn’t happen overnight.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, and also, I mean, as you say that, actually another thought occurred to me which is like I said, some brains are exploding and one of the exploding things is, how can I trust this non-attorney salesperson? How can I try to lose on live client prospects? First of all, live client prospects cost law firms anywhere from about $150 on the low-end to $3,000 on the high end. When the prospect doesn’t close, that money is thrown away. And so, they’re going to be reluctant to turn this over to this untested person. So you’re saying that there’s actually an opportunity to practice on non-live ammunition and get sort of a certification saying they’re worth trying now.
Theophan McKenzie: Yes, and that’s speaking specifically to our training because I know there’s a lot of sales training programs that don’t have ongoing practice and role playing and stuff. But one of the things that we do offer is the bootcamp, the initial sales training and then we have the ongoing practice. We call that the S3 dojo. But then we also do 90-minute role-playing sessions. If a law firm is like, “Hey, I want you to continue working with my non-attorney salesperson, I want them to get this down,” they can schedule 90-minute role-playing sessions and something else that we’ve also done is 90-minute call reviews.
So me and myself or one of my trainers will spend 90 minutes with the firm. Usually, it’s the attorney and the non-attorney salesperson and we will review recorded consults and give them critique and feedback based on those calls as we’re listening to them. It’s really powerful. It’s not just 12 hours of sales training. It’s not just then you go into the dojo and keep practicing what you’ve learned, but we do all these other things to help those non-attorney salespeople and even the attorneys that come to the training to grow their skill and work towards mastery.
Christopher T. Anderson: That is excellent. We’re coming right up at the end here. If our listeners need one key takeaway from what we’ve been talking about, what would you give to them?
Theophan McKenzie: Whether you go through sales training or not, unplug lawyer brain when you sit down for a consultation with a PNC. All that stuff that you learned in law school, you’ve got to unplug that. I promise, it’s not about you. Really focus the conversation on the PNC. When they can see that you genuinely care about them and you’re not just trying to provide a solution and collect their retainer, but when they can see that you genuinely care about them, just that alone, you’ll watch your conversion rate go up. Just remember, it’s not about you. They already know that you know your stuff, otherwise they wouldn’t be sitting in front of you in the first place.
Christopher T. Anderson: That’s fantastic. Thank you, Theophan. Unfortunately, that does wrap up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour. Thank you all for listening. Our guest today has been Theophan McKenzie who’s the founder and director of Smart Systematic Selling or S3. Theophan, if folks wanted to learn more or had some more questions for you or for your business, how could they get in touch with you?
Theophan McKenzie: So www.s3.training is our website or you could email [email protected] or look me up on LinkedIn, Theophan McKenzie.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Thank you, Theophan, and of course, this is Christopher T. Anderson, and I won’t spell it for you, but I do look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you. Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thank you for joining us and we will speak again soon.
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Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com