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How To Charge More Than Other Lawyers And Attract Better Clients

by Trey Ryder

All of your attorney marketing efforts should be designed to increase credibility. As your credibility soars, your law firm marketing efforts allow you to charge more than competing lawyers. Here is how to increase your fees and attract better clients.

  1. The first rule of attorney marketing is this: Never compete on low

  2. price -- for many reasons:
  3. You undermine your credibility because prospects wonder why you charge less than other lawyers. After all, if you're good at what you do, prospects expect you to charge more than competing attorneys.

  4. You attract prospects who know the price of everything and the value buck. To them, relationships mean little. Whoever offers the lowest price "wins" them as a client. In the future, if they discover a lawyer who charges less than you, they move on. Clients who are loyal to the dollar are never loyal to you!

  5. You'll find it nearly impossible to attract the number of new clients you want. First, today's complex marketplace makes it hard to attract a high volume of clients. And even if you succeed in gaining the number of clients you want, in most cases, your marketing costs will exceed the profit you can

  6. earn from those clients.

When you charge a high fee, you're in a stronger marketing position, because

  • It's easier to justify why you charge so much than to explain why you charge so little.
  • You're not striving for volume, so you can provide each client with a high level of personal service.
  • You can afford to invest money in an effective, targeted marketing program.

One reason prospects often focus on fees is because fees are a common shortcut people use to evaluate quality. Surely, the lawyer who charges $300 per hour is more skilled than the lawyer who charges $150 per hour.

To support a fee higher than other lawyers, explain your value in terms of the following:

RESULTS: Discuss clients you have represented who have similar problems. Explain what you did for each client -- and the result you achieved. Discuss your innovative approach to solving problems and how you often get better results than lawyers who use traditional methods. Discuss how your reputation works to your client's advantage. Emphasize the number of years you have represented your clients. Point out that your clients come back time and again because they are pleased with the results.

QUALIFICATIONS: Discuss the number of years you've practiced law and the depth of your experience. Explain your areas of specialization and your unusual or unique skills. Emphasize that you limit your practice to specific areas and, as a result, have developed a high level of expertise from which your clients benefit. Discuss how you keep your knowledge current through memberships in professional groups and bar sections, as well as continuing education. Emphasize the many courts in which you're admitted to practice. And if you have been on the other side -- such as an insurance defense attorney who is now a plaintiff's lawyer -- explain how this has further enhanced your knowledge and experience.

SERVICES: Discuss how few clients you accept -- and how this allows you to focus more time and attention on each client as an individual. Explain how accessible you are and how promptly you respond to clients' requests. Discuss services you provide that are usually not offered by other lawyers. Explain your fees and how you bill. Point out that while many lawyers charge for every photocopy, your fee includes (whatever level of) office overhead.

CONVENIENCE: Discuss your office's location in the city, the parking spaces reserved exclusively for your clients, and your easy access within the building. Also, discuss how you work with clients by e-mail and telephone for everyone's benefit.

THIRD-PARTY CREDIBILITY: Offer client comments in the form of testimonials and letters of recommendation. (Not all bar associations allow the use of testimonials, so first check your rules of professional conduct.) Offer references whom prospects can contact for more information. Show copies of published articles you've written.

The more information you provide, the more your prospect values your services. Also, the more reasons your prospect has to choose you, not knowing whether other lawyers can match your results, qualifications and services.

Next, in addition to providing positive reasons to choose you, emphasize the risk of hiring an inexperienced lawyer.

Emphasize that your prospect needs a lawyer who will do a thorough job and not cut corners. Emphasize that your prospect needs a highly skilled lawyer to handle this delicate, technical or complex matter. Emphasize that your prospect needs a lawyer who has in-depth experience so nothing is overlooked. Emphasize that your prospect needs a lawyer who has special training in this area of law. Emphasize that your prospect needs a service-oriented lawyer who is accessible and responds quickly.

When faced with a question about why another lawyer charges less than you:

  1. Emphasize the First Law of Business Economics: The lawyer who charges less must deliver less -- or he'll go broke.

  2. Emphasize that in today's marketplace, at best, you get what you pay for. Sadly, many clients get much less.

  3. Emphasize that a low fee is an obvious sign of weakness -- because if the lawyer had even a moderate level of knowledge, skill and experience, he would charge more.

  4. Emphasize that when the stakes are high, in the long run, the cheapest lawyer often proves to be the most expensive.

  5. Emphasize that you don't know (or can't be sure) what the other lawyer offers. And, since he charges less than you, it's logical to conclude that he offers less than you. It could be less knowledge, less experience, less skill, less service. Is it worth the risk to find out?

  6. Then, with a question in your voice, add: "I wonder what he's leaving out." With those six words, you increase doubt and arouse skepticism. And you do this legitimately because neither you nor your prospect knows what criteria the other lawyer uses to establish his value.

Prospects want a clear picture of what they get when they hire you. The more specific you are about your knowledge -- skill -- experience -- qualifications -- results -- services -- and anything else your prospects view as important, the more value prospects place on your services and the higher fees they will pay.

The secret of marketing legal services is to establish the highest level of credibility as quickly as possible. Credibility is key to attorney marketing. As your credibility soars, your law firm marketing efforts allow you to charge more than competing lawyers and attract better clients.


About The Author

Trey Ryder is a marketing consultant who specializes in Education-Based Marketing for lawyers. Trey Ryder offers educational articles, advice, and seminars at www.LawyerMarketingAdvisor.com. He can be contacted at trey@treyryder.com


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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