The desire of legal firms’ partners to educate its key employees and engage into learning process themselves reminds a flue epidemics. At once, many partners became very keen on skill development, specifically sales skills!
The interest to this particular skill is quite validated on one hand. Although, on the other hand – it is obviously belated. It takes from 9 to 12 months to develop a new skill and practice it.
Well, what’s done is done, so let me share some considerations with you, which may help managing partners to buy the services of external trainers and make an effective choice among the pool of offering.
It is even possible to teach a rabbit to smoke!
Unfortunately, the sales gene is inborn. It is possible to enhance it/to strengthen it/to polish it, but it is impossible to implant it. Thus, before you decide to spend your time and money, openly and honestly look at the mirror and around yourself. From the start, give up the idea to turn everyone, including junior lawyers, into salesmen. Try developing other skills instead.
Even if you gather 9 pregnant women together in one room, it will not speed up the process! For qualitative application of new knowledge there are three things that are needed: persistence, time and mistakes. There will be no qualitative result in one-day training (the same goes for a weekly intensive). In order to see the fruits ripe, there has to be systematic work done during 9 to 12 months.
One size doesn‘t fit all!
Sooner or later you will understand (the sooner the better!), that sales is not a technology, but rather is a psychology. Then you stop buying training programs devoted to sales and start studying the laws of interpersonal relations and interaction.
Listen till it hurts!
The best consultants, trainers and mentors are our clients – learn listening to them. By “listening” I mean “hearing, understanding, and accepting”, and then “making specific conclusions and far going conclusions”, which might not be always very easy. The most important thing if to show the ability to change. The clients appreciate it.
Open or closed programs: what is better?
Our desire to save on costs will obviously push you to choose open programs (the unpredictable mixture of participants in the group) and standard (basic knowledge) programs. If you ask yourself again about the goal, timeframe and desirable outcomes (in your specific personal and organizational context), you will definitely make a choice towards corporate programs.
How it is possible not to buy something that is not needed?
Forget the approach “you have to sell me a training program on sales”. Plan the learning outcome within the partnership prior to the meeting with potential training providers. Be clear about your expectations towards the trainer and ask to develop an odder based on these expectations. Go through the offer together with the trainer asking the same question: “how does specific content item/interactive/game/practical exercise helps me to achieve wanted result?”
What do you really need to buy right now?
I would devote the resources (time and money) of the firm to the development of interpersonal communication and active listening, presentation skills, negotiations skills, differentiated client approach. These skills will build a better bridge into the heart and wallet of a client. The organizational skills like personal effectiveness and project management are also very crucial. I would stress the need in the skill of team development in crisis situations for the firm’s leaders.
I want to repeat myself one more time: patience, persistence, and result oriented focus — is the most important. I am very glad to notice that externally forced circumstances have made a hole in the partner’s protection shield made up by the position — “I am the best (in whatever)”