"Come up with a good idea that we're overlooking. Tell us about it, and explain how you could intelligently and efficiently help us implement your idea." - Mark Herrmann, "Why Big Firms Can't Break In (Or, Developing Business at Big Law)", in Abovethelaw.com, November 10, 2014. Here is that article.
In professional services there has been a shift from a seller's to a buyer's market. When it was a seller's one, the marketing focus was on branding. So intense was the pursuit of enhancing the brand that a whole new niche developed about ways to measure brand equity. That was then.
Now, as Herrmann, inhouse counsel at Aon, hammers, law firms have to create tangible forms of added value. Also, unlike the old days, stick around long enough to implement the strategy or tactic.
In short, Herrmann is warning BigLaw that they have to return again to the art of selling. That means they have to provide what the competition isn't, what's useful for prospect, and what is doable.
In much of professional services, not just law, the players never learned to sell. They had entered the space when a premium brand cast spells. One of my former clients is a public relations firm which thrived during that era. When it entered the room, the perception of itself as the brand to have closed the deal.
Now, it has to compete in "beauty contests." And to even be invited to present itself it has to create a proposal that showed fresh thinking. Should it get the contract, the odds are it won't be renewed unless it performed back flips in generating results. Currently, that firm is financially distressed.
Its one shot at salvation would be to send the principals to sales training. When I became aware of this shift, I invested in a Dale Carnegie sales training seminar. Instructor Michael Francoeur didn't talk brand. He talked unique sales proposition.
For law firms, after partners get down the fundamentals of how to sell, they should road test that by working weekends in retail.