3 Truths About Sales Effectiveness that Will Free you from the Doer-Seller Dilemma

by Deb Baker /

For many lawyers and professional services providers, sales effectiveness is a struggle. Most have a limited view of how to sell and all of them struggle with the unique challenge of balancing two roles: doing the work itself and generating new business.  


At GrowthPlay, we call this the “doer-seller” dilemma. The challenge is real, but so is the opportunity. Mastering the role of sales not only provides the opportunity to maximize earning potential, it creates the freedom. When you control where your business comes from, you get more choices in how you spend your time, the types of clients you want to work with and the type of career you want to build.  



Here are three ways to reframe how you think about sales effectiveness and overcome the doer-seller dilemma: 


#1: Effective sales is just an extension of what you do best 

 At its core, sales is about offering solutions to problems that need to be solved. In other words, the same skills that make you a great lawyer or consultant also make you a great seller. Building relationships, engaging in sophisticated discovery, spotting issues that create opportunities, solving problems and anticipating objectives are all things that both doers and sellers practice to provide excellent service and bring in new business. 


#2: Everyone has innate selling skills 

 What we know from the Chally Assessment™, a 45-year-old talent-profiling tool that has been used on more than 750,000 people to measure skills and motivations attributed to success in high-performing organizations, is that you don’t have to fit the traditional rainmaker profile to showcase sales effectivenessJust as there are different types of lawyers, there are multiple profiles of doer-sellers:  

  • Account Manager whose strength is building trust and loyalty
  • Lead Generator whose strength is uncovering needs and building interest
  • Educator whose strength is in using insight and wisdom
  • Inventor whose strength anticipating change and helping buyers respond
  • Architect whose strength is adapting existing solutions to solve problems in different ways


We also know from research that 98 percent of the attorneys tested for this study were a fit for at least one of the profilesArmed with this insight about the competencies of the practitioners in their firm, firm leaders can match people to the types of sales activities that enable them to work to their strengths. 


#3 Sales requires skills, not just style 

At GrowthPlay we’ve found one of the most powerful aspects of the work we do comes when doer-sellers define the specific skills and activities that go into successful selling. While understanding the sales process is an important starting point, the real opportunity comes when you know the actual skills that are attributed to successful execution at each stage. Once these skills are defined, learning how to practice them becomes more obtainable.  


A great starting point is to create a common language for how you talk about sales and provide training that focuses not just on what to do but how to do it. The great news is, this language already exists. Research-based tools like talent analytics not only create insight into a person’s natural selling strengths, they provide the added advantage of defining what skills and behaviors are attributed to successful selling. 


Understanding what effective selling is and how it works is the best way to break out of old habits and patterns that no longer serve your firm. When you help your practitioners sell to their strengths, they are more likely to enjoy the work of selling, find time to do it and get results that will drive growth.