Many legal tech companies bemoan the difficulties of selling technology to law firms when law firms are so far behind the times.

In reality, it’s the legal technology companies which make it tough on themselves by using outdated marketing, sales and business development methods.

Last week, lawyer and legal tech entrepreneur, Zach Abramowitz @ZachAbramowitz, penned a piece in Above The Law about the challenges legal tech companies face in selling.

I meet a lot of legal tech companies, and I cannot tell you how many great products I’ve seen way hich I later discover have zero meaningful traction. I’m not the only one.

Abramowitz went on to reference an interview with Mark Harris, founder of Axiom, who said:

Selling tech-only solutions into the legal industry today would be like selling a conveyer belt to a blacksmith in the late 1800s. You cannot sell the instruments of industrialization to artisans! They aren’t ready for them and have no idea what to do with them!

So, before legaltech can have its analogous fintech moment, the legal industry needs to make headway on a services-led, but tech-enabled approach to industrialization. We have to build the factories before we can embrace the tools that make the factory better!

The problem with dissing law firms and their use of technology is that maybe you’ve done nothing to engage law firms, earn their trust and educate them. At least not in an effective fashion.

Legal tech companies have innovative technology, yet they sell the same way companies sold 100 years ago – through traditional marketing, advertising and sales. Virtually none of them leverage the Internet in a way that engages influencers, customers and prospective customers.

So not only do the companies have to keep selling in an an expensive and tiresome way, but they leave the people they ought to be connecting with wondering how innovative and tech savvy the companies really are when they don’t even know how to use the net when it comes to sales, marketing and business development.

Perfect example is LegalTech in New York City, coming up in a few weeks. I just saw a long list of exhibitors who are spending a fortune to do what companies like them did in 1949 – have a booth. They are relying on websites, emails and cheesy social media to try to grab people’s attention and come to their booth.

How many of them have CEO’s and founders strategically and effectively blogging to build a name, develop relationships and grow business? How many of those companies will have their audience seeking them out based on the name they have built and relationships they nurtured online? Almost none.

Sales, marketing and business development is best done, or at least started, online today. Not with websites and email campaigns but through mediums being used by your customers, prospective customers and their influencers. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn used by company leaders as individuals, not by the company.

People learn about products and services socially. They learn to trust a company and it’s advice through online engagement – think blogging and social networks. People seek the input of others on social networks.

I can’t tell you often I have seen someone at a law firm ask on Facebook about a tech company and their product and no one knows much about the company. The reason is that the company’s leaders have refused to get out and mingle with people online.

Don’t get me wrong. Face to face discussions are critical to sales. But accelerating your reputation and relationships leads to meetings and sales.

It’s never been easier to market and sell than today. But you don’t do the old fashioned way.