What to say when asked “what do you do?”

—-Original Message—–
From: produ******@gmail.com
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 9:28 AM
To: How To Make It Rain
Subject: benefit statement

I had sent this email from another account, and I thought
I’d send from the account that was registered for your coaching program. 🙂

 RJon-

My partner and I have crafted a benefit statement
attached below. Could you please have a
quick look and give me your feedback?

Note, the additional answers are to questions we are
anticipating as follow-ups. Also, we’re
trying to avoid the "stigma" of being a new firm and of being solos,
so even though we’re not fully joined as an LLC yet, we’re trying to anticipate
how to answer those. Again, any advice
is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

-A****

 _________________________________________________

What area of law does practice focus on?

 I solve legal and business problems for small to mid-size
business owners and real estate professionals.

How do you do that? What do you mean?

 

* Business
entity creation

* Lease /
purchase review for business assets and locations

* Employment law
issues and processes

* Collections
accounts receivables

* Business
dissolution

* Partnership
dispute resolution

* Vendor
disputes

* Creditor
negotiations

* Debtor and
Creditor bankruptcy representation

* Protection of
family business assets through and outside probate

* Strategic
Planning Consultation

* Negotiate with
IRS to resolve tax disputes

 Who are you working with?

 I’m with a boutique firm specializing in small to
mid-size businesses.

 What’s the name of the firm?

 We’re in the process of establishing M******* & H******, LLC

————————————————————————————————————————-

REPLY:

Mr. H******,

In my experience, no-one ever lays-up the question quite
that easily/formally. Most of the time they
just ask "What do you do?" or if you’re speaking with another lawyer,
they might ask "What type/area of law do you do?" In other words, the question is usually a lot
more sloppy, which requires a more general answer that captures the
questioner’s attention by painting a vivid imagine in their mind while at the
same time trying demonstrate your confidence/focus and screen-out people you
really don’t want to be working with in the first place.

So, based on what you share with me below, if someone
were to ask "what do you do?" like at your kid’s soccer game or in a
networking setting, perhaps you could offer something like this:

 "My law firm protects mid-sized business owners so
they can focus on making money"

 This response covers all of the services you listed below
and is provocative enough, I think, so that if the person you are speaking with
has even the slightest idea that they might ever need your services, they’re
likely to ask some follow-up questions. If you’ll then try to avoid the temptation to bask in the spotlight and
instead try to focus it back on them, I think you’ll find yourself in a good
position to begin ferreting-out information
about their business that helps you figure out which of your services might be
most appropriate for them and then you can ask questions that head in that
direction.

Notice that I left-out small businesses and also real
estate professionals. It’s important to
understand that you can have alternative answers for different audiences. If you know the person you’re speaking with
is a real estate professional simply use real estate professionals in place of
mid-size business owners. Just adapt the
answer to the audience. It’s not like
anyone is going to say "hey, you just told that other guy your law firm
protects real estate professionals!" Afterall, aren’t real estate professionals owners of
"businesses" too? And small
vs. mid-sized is largely a matter of
opinion but most small business owners, I think will feel comfortable hiring a
law firm that focuses on mid-sized, but not necessarily the other way around.

Many people make the mistake of thinking they have to
give a laundry list of all the services they offer. That’s a mistake because unless someone needs
all of those services, the list will be boring to them. And it’s a mistake because – and this is a
little counter-intuitive – because it doesn’t really give the other person an
easy way to keep the conversation going. So you end up with a kind of awkward silence, they ask for your business
card because they don’t know what else to say and immediately forget the list
of services that didn’t seem relevant to them anyway.

On the other hand, even if there’s no time for follow-up,
they’re going to remember that you have a law firm and that it protects
business owners so they can focus on making money.

I suggest you practice it aloud a few times and
understand how powerful an answer like that will be for the intended audience. Don’t be discouraged if it falls flat with
the wrong audience because what they think doesn’t really matter all that much anyway, does it?

And a word about being a solo or in a small firm. . .
don’t waste time or energy trying to hide from it. You’ll end up wasting a bunch of your time
getting people excited who aren’t going to be happy when they find out you’re
"only" a solo. And you’ll
scare people off who are looking for a small firm where they will be able to
enjoy easy access to their lawyer instead of having to get passed-off to a
bunch of assistants and associates.

Hope this helps & thanks for your participation in the Bronze Attorney Coaching Program!

RJON

www.HowToMakeItRain.com

Helping Lawyers In Small Firms Make Alot More Money

 

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