Sunday, September 1, 2013

Overcoming the money objection

Valuable Real World Advice for Lawyers in Real Law Practice  - 

You’re sitting with a new client. At least you think he’s a new client because he needs your help and wants to hire you. But when it comes to the subject of fees, he balks. Too often, he walks.

Overcoming the money objection in it’s various forms–I can’t afford it, I don’t have it, it costs too much, other lawyers will do it for less–is critical. The best way to handle this objection, or any objection, is to eliminate it before it comes up. Here are four ways to do that:

1. PRACTICE AREA AND TARGET MARKET

If you handle contingency fee cases, the money objection usually doesn’t come up. Lawyers who do work for big business and government usually don’t have clients who can’t pay their fees. Targeting well to do consumers for your services will also eliminate or severely curtail the no money objection.

In addition, if you handle legal work where clients must have an attorney or face dire consequences, rather than discretionary legal work, clients who might otherwise be limited in their ability to pay will often find a way to get the money. Someone who is in jail, being sued, or facing foreclosure, for example, has different motivation than someone who needs to update their will.

2. INFORMATION

The second way to deal with the money objection is to provide ample information to prospective clients before they call for an appointment. This means posting information on your website that explains fees, costs, retainers, and payment options. It means mailing or emailing prospective clients this kind of information (“a pre-appointment information package”) prior to the actual appointment.

You don’t necessarily quote fees in advance but you do provide a general idea of what the client can expect if they hire you. Give them a range of fees so they know it might be as much as $10,000 and they don’t come in expecting to pay $1,000. Show them different packages of services you have available, so they can see that while they might not be able to afford package A, they can probably handle package B. Explain the payment options that are available to them, so they can see that they don’t have to have all of the money up front.

This is also how you deal with the issue of other attorneys with lower fees. This is where you build the value of what you offer and make the case for why clients should choose you. This is where you explain how some attorneys don’t tell the whole story regarding fees and costs, until someone is sitting in their office. This is where you show prospective clients the wisdom of hiring someone with your experience and how, in the long run, it will probably save them money.

3. ON THE PHONE

When a prospective client calls for an appointment, or calls to ask questions, make sure they understand how much they will be expected to pay (or the minimum) if they decide to hire you.

Some will tell you it’s better to get them into the office first, that once they have taken the time to meet with you and become impressed with you, they will be more likely to find a way to hire you and less likely to go shopping for a less expensive alternative. That may be literally true, but if they don’t have the money they don’t have the money and you and the client are both better off dealing with this reality before spending any more time.

There are exceptions, but a policy of giving prospective clients a general idea of how much will be expected of them if they hire you, in advance of the actual appointment, and confirming that they can handle that amount, will go a long way towards overcoming the money objection once they are sitting in front of you.

4. IN YOUR PRESENTATION

The fourth way to deal with the money objection is to anticipate the objection and dispose of it in your presentation, before the client can raise it.

For example, explain how some clients sometimes tell you the fee is on the high side. Then tell them that once the client sees everything they get, they realize that in the end, they are actually saving money.

Bring up the subject of other attorneys who charge less than you do. Then explain why it makes sense to choose you instead.

Explain what it might cost the client if he chooses to delay. A client who might otherwise want to wait will now know why he should not.

Whatever objections you have heard in the past, deal with them before the client raises them.

Some clients will slip through the cracks. You will still occasionally hear the money objection. But by taking the above steps to deal with the objection in advance, you should find this to be the exception, not the rule.

No comments: