Anyone can tell a “good” story
I have written a number of times about the importance of good
story telling in marketing legal services (see here and here). The main concept is that telling
a story is a much better way to communicate your expertise than
documenting what you do. Not only will prospective clients and
referral sources find your stories a lot more interesting than a
dry recitation of your areas of legal expertise, but referral
sources are MUCH more likely to understand what you do. More
importantly clients and referral sources are much more likely to
REMEMBER what you do when a referral opportunity comes along.
We all know some great story tellers (i.e. people that can keep
our attention for hours). Most of us do not have that ability and
never will. The good news, however, is that we don't need to be
great story tellers in order to be successful; rather, we just need
to be good at telling a quick anecdote that illustrates what we do
and how we can be of help to an individual or business.
Telling a good story or anecdote that illustrates what you do
requires preparation. In fact, even the greatest storytellers in
the world do a lot of preparation; but they make it look so easy
that you think they are doing it off the cuff. You would never go
into a courtroom trying to wing it for an entire trial; so why do
we feel we can wing it when it comes to telling stories that are
intended to sell our services? Here are some other useful tips in
drafting your own stories:
- Know your audience. You will probably tell different stories to
another lawyer than you would to a business person.
- Keep it short. People have short attention spans.
- Chose stories that illustrate what you want to be known for. If
you achieved a great victory in a divorce case but you have zero
interest in getting more divorce work, then don't use that anecdote
to illustrate what you do.
- Practice your stories out loud and use voice intonation to make
the story more interesting (a dull monotone is sure to put your
prospect to sleep.)
- Try spending most of your time listening. Even if you have a
few good anecdotes, it is much more important in selling to find
out what concerns the other individual has. That is the only way to
find out how you can be of help to them (either directly, or
Finally, do not feel like your stories have to demonstrate that
you work on extremely fascinating and high powered cases or deals.
The chances are, most of the people you talk to, will have no
opportunity to refer that work to you. Instead, give them a good
example of a situation they are likely to encounter. If you do,
then you increase the likelihood that you will be the one to get
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published January 31, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice
Chair Cynthia E.