I have the privilege of speaking to thousands of attorneys of all sizes. Many attorneys that I spoke with years ago were solo practitioners that just started out their practice with a dingy little office and a virtual assistant. Fast forward to present day, these solo practitioners now have a booming law firm with a few paralegals, associate attorneys, and office managers. How did they get there?
“Mor, I started a business and am running a business, I just happen to be an attorney.”
This statement alone changed my perspective on all businesses, especially law firms. Many lawyers know the law, but don’t know that they’re actually running a business. I believe this is the fundamental difference between a successful law firm and one that is trying to look like one.
A popular question that I always ask successful attorneys is, “what do you do to run your law firm like a business?” Their response always was, lead generate. Sales. This is the lifeblood of any business, which brings me to the popular scenario that many lawyers tell me:
You finally generated some activity from your ads and you have a new lead that calls into your office asking about the services your law firm can provide. Excited and eager to onboard a potential client, you build some rapport until you approach the final stage of cost. The potential customer tells you, “I’m impressed and it all looks good, but honestly your fees are too expensive.” What do you say? What options do you have?
- Scan your brain for rebuttals
- Respond back with how you’re different than any other attorney
- Get desperate and offer discounts
I’ve had the opportunity to work in sales for many industries such as insurance, real estate, retail, food, and now technology. Every industry has a customer that has an objection to price. But the truth is, it’s never about price. It’s never too expensive. Then what is it?
“A price objection is a blind spot to seeing the value of a product or service”
Customers are driven by motivation – either low or high motivation. Your potential clients come in for a free consultation or submit their contact info because they are motivated – especially when it comes to legal advice. The level of motivation will determine how you can close and how serious they are. Clients can be motivated by bad experiences, an unimaginable situation or any other reason. Knowing your potential customer’s motivation will allow playing your cards right – and as an attorney, that is your strong suit. I truly believe sales is an art and a science – the science part being psychological facts as well as pure logic that can be summed up in formulas. Here is the formula that you should live by:
High Motivation = Closing based on value
Low motivation = Closing based on price
Highly motivated clients will hire your services and you as their lawyer because they have a real need for it. Their other options don’t stack up to what they need to be solved. These clients are willing to pay a premium for a service that they see value in.
Low motivated clients, AKA, clients that claim they are “shopping around” will come in for a free consultation and hopefully hire you as their attorney based on price. This happens because they don’t have a high motivation or a big enough “WHY?” to pay a premium. This type of client can be closed using discounts. Customers that hire you solely on price are not loyal and will jump ship as soon as they see a better deal. Why do you think OJ Simpson hired the best attorneys despite their cost instead of saving money. He did not cheapen out because coming out innocent was worth a premium cost.
If you’re a new attorney then you should be selling yourself. If you can afford it, build yourself a sales team. Sure, in the beginning, you may need to take on clients that are “low motivated” because you need a track record, but if make sure to think long-term – focus on clients that are highly motivated if you want to retain them for the long run. If you close on price (aka low motivated client) then the customers as loyal as the dollar they save. Remember, if a highly motivated client does not end up closing, it’s not because of price, but because you didn’t do your job in demonstrating the value they will get.