If you’ve been practicing for any length of time, you’ve gotten that call. “I just need a will and I’d like to know what you charge for that.”
Heaven knows, if you actually said the number out loud at that moment, the response would be, “Thanks. I’ll call you back if I need you.” Click.
With the advent of online document generators like LegalZoom and prepaid legal companies that purport to provide legal services at a fraction of the price, plenty of consumers are price shopping.
Which is a wise thing to do, particularly when dollars are tight. But, price shopping in the legal arena is darned near impossible unless someone’s only going to select the loss leader regardless of the quality and thoroughness of the product they buy.
How do you work with this consumer? Sometimes, you don’t. Some consumers simply cannot be persuaded to look at anything but price. Those are the folks to get off the phone as quickly and as gently as possible. You can’t help them and if you try, you may well regret it. They’ll be the most demanding of your time and expertise, and pay you the least. Sometimes, these will even be slow pay clients.
But it’s worth seeing if that’s the kind of person you’re talking to. Some of my best clients have been price shoppers who were willing to explore the full range of factors they need to know for good decision-making.
And that’s the answer to how to handle that call. Invite them into a deeper conversation by changing the subject from price to what they want for their family. When you get this call, resist the temptation to be snarky or dismissive. The caller really wants to know what you have to offer and why it’s different from low-priced options.
It takes a warm and calming presence to encourage their deeper desire to understand their legal landscape. Be honest about the fact that you don’t know if all they need is a will until you know more about their family and their resources.
Honor that they want to make sure they get a good deal for their money. There’s nothing wrong with that and nothing insulting to you. Your job is to show them that you are a good deal. But you can’t do that if you’re peeved at the question.
How you handle the “How Much Do You Charge” call is deeply rooted to how confident you are in the value of your services.
As you grow in the certainty that your work helps people avoid very serious problems at incapacity or death, that you keep people out of court and in charge of their lives, that it takes a trained mind like yours to do this work well, you will find that the question begins to lose its edge. And that you’re more able to spot the true price shoppers from the folks who want to be convinced that you’re the best person for them.
To learn more about how Law Business Mentors can help you develop your personal script for handling this and all calls so that you have the best opportunity to welcome people who need you into your practice read about the Client Engagement System here.
© 2013 Martha Hartney