What legal clients really want is…

It’s not the drill you want – it’s not even the hole that you bought the drill for – it’s ultimately about freedom and joy.

You may have heard of Theodore Levitt, and you may have heard of Tim Ferris and Seth Godin.

I’ll mention the latter two in a moment, but for now recall Theodore as one of the 20th century’s great economists, marketing observers and Harvard Professor. He is particularly well-known for the great quote in his seminal paper, Marketing Myopia:

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Theodore Levitt

It’s an entirely useful philosophy for anyone wishing to understand their customer and client needs. If you’re a lawyer, it’s worth applying in a number of ways. A client doesn’t ever want legal advice – they want a new house, they want to buy a business, they want a divorce …

You are not looking for these solutions at all

Calico Legal Solutions and the members of Calico have an innovative approach to helping law firms by highlighting a number of different solutions that firms can bring into their world – but I’m guessing that you don’t really want any of their wonderful solutions. Even if those solutions offer such wonderful skills such as typing and transcription services, cloud-based support, mobile telephony, cashiering services and other forms of delightful outcomes.

However – heresy – and I’ll say it again – you are not looking for these solutions at all, nor do you really want them. You are not thinking this second that you want or need an alternative to your typing needs. Nor will you be thinking of how you need to move your physical servers into the cloud. Nor will you at all be thinking of how you protect and manage the data that your lawyers type into mobile phones.

You might possibly be thinking of a different issue all round. I’m sure you will have many. Theodore’s perspective may be helpful, and I’m sure you can ponder on its relevance to you.

A fresh perspective on this philosophy

May I now also offer a fresher perspective on this philosophy. Having enjoyed a great podcast from Tim Ferris (The Tim Ferris Show, the 4-Hour Work Week and www.tim.blog/podcast) speaking with Seth Godin ( the awesome marketer and author of the Purple Cow and This is Marketing).

Tim’s podcasts should be on your own list of regular things to do, and a great revelation on this matter came from listening to Seth talking about his new book, This is Marketing. He reminds us of Theodore Levitt’s insight but then moves the whole thought process forward.

Seth then tells us that we don’t actually even want that quarter-inch hole. We don’t actually even want the rawl plug to put into the hole to help put a screw into. We don’t actually even want the shelf that you would place on top of the screw, that you’ve just put into the rawl plug, that is in the hole in the wall, for which you thought you needed a new drill bit for.

And patience please! – you don’t even need the shelf which you will use to place all of those books on that had previously been cluttering up another corner of your room. No – what you do need is the peace and harmony, and the joy and the love that comes from your spouse, or your internal critic, for creating that sense of tidiness and thoughtfulness – and for having achieved something that in itself was important to you or a loved one.

What your legal client really wants

So armed with these revelations. What the people who might look to Calico and their members for would be matters such as peace of mind and freedom. The comfort that greater profitability from using different service providers gives. Just like your own clients who will be wanting personal satisfaction, greater resources, freedom from an issue, and the ability to do more of what they want to do.

Whilst this new insight and perhaps new philosophy seems really straight forward once you have embraced it, it may not be easy to take the few steps backwards from the end result – but doing so will give great insights into why clients and customers want to use our services.

Understanding the decision process and buying needs

By retracing each of the steps along that journey from providing happiness to your spouse to moving the books from that untidy corner to buying a screw to put in the hole in the wall that the drill bit can produce – you will truly understand the decision process and buying needs. You will be better placed to provide the solution to any issue that you currently have.  Whether it be the opportunity to enhance the latent happiness of your spouse or whether it be an issue in your law firm or an issue that one of your clients has.

Let’s continue the conversation, contact me and see, if through outsourcing, we can help you reach your happy place.

Martyn Best, Document Direct

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