The parallels between marketing a film and selling professional services ought to be obvious.
First, in either case, the numbers are apparently against you. A recent report in The New York Times, for example, noted that the Sundance Film Festival which begins today in Park City, Utah, vetted over 12,000 submissions for 193 slots. By comparison, I read recently that there are 1,250,000 attorneys in the United States competing for increasingly demanding markets less tolerant of hourly billings and other examples of business as usual.
Second, despite the numbers, there’s hope. If history is a reliable guide, many of the films that didn’t make the cut at Sundance will nevertheless earn critical and commercial success. Same with attorneys and other professional service providers who play it smart.
The Times piece describes the advice John Cooper, the director of the Sundance festival, has for the ways rejected films have skillfully used the Internet and other means to build an audience — Sundance or no Sundance. Responding to a rejected filmmaker’s plans to offer his work via sites like iTunes or Netflix, the Times reported the following:
That’s a resourcefulness that Mr. Cooper would encourage. “Filmmakers need to be creative,” he said. “They should use the cleverness it takes to make a movie to also find an audience.”
This common-sense attitude is precisely what Mike O’Horo and other legal sales thought leaders have been offering their clients for years. They say that lawyers are — by training or nature — relentless question-askers. Lawyers also tend to be painstakingly systematic, analytical, well-prepared and hard-working and have a bunch of other qualities that serve business development and sales of their services and firms.
Makes sense, yes?