The Simple Success Story that Wins Clients
Too many attorneys squander the all-important first encounter with a prospective client because they don’t have a clear, comfortable, and powerful way to illustrate their value. On the other hand, strong business-getters (whether solos or big-law partners) have an arsenal of stories they use regularly to engage prospective clients and referrals sources in a way that differentiates them from their competitors.
Remember: with the exception of pre-sold prospects who come from A-level referrals, people hire you (or at least keep you in the running) based on their perceptions of you and their confidence in your ability to help them meet their objectives.
One of the best ways to boost that confidence is to share an example of a positive result you’ve secured for a similarly situated client. Here’s a simple but highly effective format for crafting these stories (which you can think of as a kind of mini case study).
It’s a three-stage approach called the PAR model: Problem, Action, Result.
- What was the PROBLEM (or opportunity) presented to you – as described by the client?
- What ACTIONS did you and the client take to meet the challenge?
- What was the RESULT the client experienced as a result of those actions? (Not the final legal disposition as a lawyer might describe it, but rather the positive impact experienced by the client.)
Those of you who are litigators know the power of stories to reach jurors. But a good story can also be a powerful tool to reach prospects. A good story lets the listener visualize and feel how the success you describe can be their own. It lets you convey important information about how you work in a real world situation, rather than an abstract framework of legal process.
Regardless of your practice area, you can apply the PAR model to a few of your most successful matters. It might have been when you closed a particularly tricky deal by doing X, or proved liability against the odds by doing Y. Write out two to three sentences for each of the three stages of the model. You don’t have to memorize a script, but you do need to have the PAR outline down cold.
Then, next time you’re with a prospect, share the “success story” at a relevant point in the conversation. For example, when the prospect asks a question about how something works, you can say, “Great question, Eric. Let me see if this example helps” and then share your story. Remember, people want to envision themselves being successful in partnership with you. Stories can help them have that vision.
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