Top 5 reasons why lawyers don’t like the “S” word?


Let me start by saying not all lawyers hate doing the “S” word. There are quite a few that I know who would prefer to do nothing but sales especially if meant getting away from all that tiresome law stuff and those impossibly demanding client-types.

But, whilst business development is an acceptable alternative phrase for sales (but not real work apparently) actually getting down to doing it is not top of the to-do list for most lawyers, but why?

Based upon my own coffee-house investigations (OK some of them weren’t carried out in coffee houses) these are my top 5: -

  1. It takes too long – I just don’t have the time to fit it in.
  2. It’s not my job – that’s what marketing are employed to do isn’t it?
  3. The law is more interesting – it’s what I was trained for and it’s what I want to do.
  4. I’m not sure what to do – I’ve had no real training or guidance.
  5. It’s just a bit grubby – I’m a professional not a used-car salesman.

I’m not sure how close this to your own beliefs but they did crop up fairly consistently. By way of a response I would say: -

  • It is your job and is going to grow in importance. Accept it and move on.
  • Sales is what makes the world go around – nothing happens until somebody sells something. If it helps consider yourself to be more of a facilitator.
  • Like most things you can do it in a highly professional or decidedly sleazy way. You choose.
  • Once you have been trained it is easy and does not really take a lot of time.
  • It can actually be great fun, satisfying and very financially rewarding.

I’m not a lawyer but I believe in the future the lawyers who get on most won’t necessarily be great at the law but they will be great at sales.

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Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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2 comments on “Top 5 reasons why lawyers don’t like the “S” word?
  1. Nice post. I’d say number 4 was a key reason. The other I’d add is that the hours spent doing it don’t count as much as “chargeable hours” and so there is often not enough recognition & reward associated with it. Maister wrote about this challenge years ago, but still the hourly rate model causes problems!

    • Mike Ames says:

      I think you are absolutely right – they just don’t see it as real work because it’s not chargeable and therefore not top priority. Regrettable but there you have it.

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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