Why Should I Hire You??? by Lisa Goldstein
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. -Warren Buffett
This spring I attended the Women in the Profession mentoring reception for the Philadelphia Bar Association. The first young woman I met was a law student. I asked her what her plans were following law school. She explained that she is studying corporate law, she speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, and she has spent a significant amount of time in Southeast Asia. Her family has run businesses there and her goal is to become a corporate lawyer in Southeast Asia.
I was significantly impressed by this young woman's response. Can you imagine how happy her clients are going to be with her? If I was an American business person conducting business in China, I would definitely hire her. She will speak the language, understand the culture and utilize her business knowledge to help her clients resolve their legal problems. This young woman clearly knows the value that she will bring to her clients.
I have coached lawyers who have been practicing law for decades who are not able to succinctly express a reason why their clients should hire them. Some less-than-perfect answers I have heard are, "I know the law," "I write great briefs," "I am reasonably priced." These answers offer no value to a potential client. Clients care about how you can help them, not how much you know.
Lawyers who are successful rainmakers are enthusiastic about their work and passionate about their reasons for choosing that work. This enables them to express to clients their "value proposition." Your value proposition is what makes you unique. Finding your value proposition comes from two places: yourself and your clients.
How do you come up with your value proposition if you don't speak Mandarin Chinese, you weren't on Law Review, you really aren't thrilled to come to work every day, or you are not sure why you are different then the 14,000 other lawyers in Philadelphia?
Answer the following questions: Why are you practicing law? Why did you choose your department? What are your outside interests and hobbies? What clients do you enjoy working with?
After you have answered these questions, ask the clients you enjoy working with why they enjoy working with you. You may be surprised to find that your clients provide you with answers that are different than you anticipated. One of my clients told me he liked working with me because I was very calm. People who know me well think I am actually quite the opposite.
Once you have answered the following questions and done some soul-searching, you should get a better idea regarding what makes you unique among lawyers. Next time a potential client asks, "Why should I hire you?" you will be able to say: "My clients hire me because I am the only lawyer who ... ."