Tom, my twin brother Vince and I were walking through the mall the other day with no particular destination on our minds. It was just one of those evenings when you just troll the mall because it’s there. Since we didn’t have a goal or focus I found myself taking in the shops from a different perspective. Normally, I’m what Tom refers to as a F&F shopper – fire and forget. I’m a laser-like focused shopper, entering the mall at a fast pace, making my purchases and coming back out just as fast, paying no attention to the in-between.
To give you a little dish, Tom and Vince can spend more time in a store than I do and still come out empty-handed. I’m always perplexed that they can spend so much time in a store (even a sporting goods store) without buying anything. I need to keep those two apart or leave them at home.
Being with Tom and Vince that evening at the mall (and nope, they didn’t buy a thing) gave me time to think about our legal nurse consulting businesses.
I walked past windows and display after display of the same lines of clothing. Mind-numbing displays of solids, stripes, plaids and every color under the sun – virtually the same from store to store. I realized that no matter where you are in the developed world, the shopping is disturbingly similar. Global brands have limited our choices from what was once a world of many selections to a world of few. Walk through Macy’s, Sak’s, Neiman’s, Nordy’s, Target or even my favorite, Walmart and they are scarily the same.
So I started to wonder what really makes one store more successful than another since it’s not really the product. Tom and Vince were still debating the merits of one brand of athletic supporter over another, so I chose a couple of stores at random and walked in. I learned more than a few things from this, both about myself and what I think Certified Legal Nurse Consultants can apply to their legal nurse consulting businesses. First of all, I noticed the few stores that had inventive window displays designed to catch my eye, did just that. Next, the stores that presented themselves in the best possible light seemed to be the most inviting.
But, the busy stores were the ones that raised my curiosity the most. If a lot of people were looking at their products, then surely I must look too. An empty store, no matter how clean and attractively laid out, tells me it’s empty for a reason. Something is clearly lacking – it might be value, quality, price or service but I’ll never know because I didn’t go in (sorry Valentino). Of the stores I did go in, the one thing that made the difference between the ones that were successful or not, was the service.
I’m not a fan of the hide and seek game that some salespeople play. If I have to hunt all over for a salesperson just to ask if they have a particular blouse in a size 2 (just kidding), I’m going to lose interest fast. Even more disturbing to me is when I do find a salesperson (or two) and they’re either talking on their cell phones or chatting it up with each other and can’t be interrupted to service a customer. That’s a quick way to lose a sale, sister.
Okay, so let’s look at the lessons for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. First of all, present yourself in the best possible manner. Dress neatly and professionally. No one likes sloppy looking salespeople. If you can’t be bothered to dress appropriately for work, how do you think attorneys can trust you to help them? Attorneys and other professionals are drawn to successful-looking people. Although some of the rules from the old “Dress for Success” book don’t apply, the basic one does – dress like you’re part of your market.
Second, how are you displaying your products? Is your line sloppily presented or do your marketing materials practically snap with crispness? Start with your cover letter, is it on good quality bond paper? Do you use a letterhead that matches your other materials? Is your message congruent throughout? I see business cards that look like they’ve been hand-printed and sales brochures that look like they’ve been pasted together from ransom notes. You have seconds to get your attorney-prospect’s attention and catch their eye. Think of the way you sort your own mail and make sure your materials represent the professional you are. Too cute, too poorly done and too cheaply done send the same message. One your attorney-prospect won’t be receptive to.
Third, are you on your feet marketing or are you passively waiting for your market to find you? In the stores that I enjoyed shopping the most, the sales clerks didn’t wait for me to walk up to them, they were all over me from the minute I walked in. Not in a clinging manner, but in a professional “how may I help you find something” manner. There’s a certain salesperson in the shoe department of one of my favorite stores who always makes a point of acknowledging me no matter how busy he is. He checks to see if I need something in particular and lets me in on any upcoming sales – all while juggling other customers and an armful of shoe boxes.
He makes me think of one of the CLNC® Mentors who exhibits at legal conferences. She positions herself in front of her booth and walks up to the attorneys as they come by, offering descriptions of her CLNC® services. She’s got a super high success rate. I can contrast her to another legal nurse consultant (not a CLNC® consultant) who she often sees at many of the same conferences. That woman sits inside her booth (a total no-no) and waits for attorneys to approach her. She has commented that she’s surprised she doesn’t do as well as the CLNC® Mentor at attracting new business.
The salespeople who earn my business are often the ones that offer the business – not the ones that earn their commission simply by ringing me up. If I know something is likely to be available in that product line at another store with better service, guess where I’ll go to buy it. Even if I end up having to order the item, I’d rather do it where I experience good service and have the commission go to someone who’s earned it, than someone who hasn’t. Attorneys are the same way. They’re crazy busy and don’t have time to go looking for you. You need to get out there and, as one Certified Legal Nurse Consultant once said, if they don’t know why they need my CLNC® services, I just explain it to them until they do!
Fourth, the best salespeople are the ones who not only help you find the perfect item, but also help you accessorize it or supplement it. You can always find the perfect jacket, but blouses, earrings or a purse that compliment it and extend its range are great. Make yourself indispensible. You’re not there to sell the attorney-client just one service. Certified Legal Nurse Consultants know how to deliver over thirty different CLNC® services to attorneys. Don’t be the store with just one pair of shoes on the shelf. If they’re not the shoes the attorney-client is looking for (or they don’t fit) they’ll go elsewhere.
Remember, ultimately you may be offering the same services as the next legal nurse consultant so you need to distinguish yourself in the eyes of your market and make sure that you offer them what they want and what they need. The best performing Certified Legal Nurse Consultants deliver quality service when they say they will.
Next time you’re in the mall, zero in on what attracts you to a particular store or salesperson. Ask yourself what makes you loyal to a particular line of products or store. Then apply these insights to your own legal nurse consulting business. I know I bring home something different every time I go to the mall and I don’t mean purchases – I’m talking about new ideas I discover for improving my own business.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your strategies for distinguishing yourself as a CLNC® consultant or just to say hi to Tom and Vince.