Over three decades, including working in law firms and selling legal tech to lawyers and legal professionals, I knew instinctively that my time “in the trenches” would serve me well as I went to work helping legal tech companies develop messages and sell technology to lawyers. As a legal tech consultant, I've worked with many clients who are challenged to understand that selling legal tech is not a typical B2B process.
Why is the legal vertical so challenging? Simply put, lawyers think differently.
Having spent three months on a law school campus earning my paralegal certificate, I witnessed first-hand how law students were converted into lawyers. However, I didn’t realize until I entered my new career how many of the same factors that go into legal training influence the way lawyers buy legal products and services. For example:
1. Competition is the Name of the Game – The competitiveness of law school changes the personalities of aspiring lawyers and continues as they matriculate to the firm environment. The better the school, the higher the class ranking, the better the job at graduation. They are constantly analyzing the landscape and often become risk-averse. Few lawyers want to risk trying something new for fear of making a mistake and suffering the scorn of their peers…in short, they’re not early adopters by nature.
2. Law Firms have a Different Business Model – A carry-over from the law school mentality, law firms are a bastion of individuality and competitiveness. Rather than pulling together, law firms are made up of pockets (practice groups) that invariably distrust each other. David Maister’s article Are Law Firms Manageable?, first published in The American Lawyer, addresses the issues of distrust and competitiveness and how they impact firm values. His observations continue to be relevant today.
3. Your Buyers Think Like Lawyers – Law students learn to advocate for and challenge every side of an argument. As consumers, lawyers scrutinize every claim a vendor makes as they seek to limit uncertainty and harmful exposure. Legal tech companies must come prepared to answer their well-researched questions to remove any fears or purchase objections.
Younger, more tech-savvy generations of lawyers are rising to decision-making positions; they bring a greater awareness of, comfort with, and demand for the opportunities new technological solutions offer. As more organizations of all types adopt technology to improve their workflows, it makes sense that law firms follow suit to get ahead of their competition.
To meet this rising demand, sellers of legal products and services need to hone in on the unique factors of the legal persona that impact buyer behavior, crafting messages to address their needs and the drivers that most influence them.
Most buyers today come armed with product and segment intelligence. They ask pointed questions and prefer to make a buying decision rather than be sold to. Your job as a vendor is to understand their motivations - the problems they are solving and the outcomes they are seeking – so that you can help them make that decision through a consultative approach. To do this, you will need to examine your buyer personas, buyer journey, and sales cycle regularly.