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Lips are movin'

by Joe Kaczrowski | Aug 14, 2015

Hips may not lie, but lips are another story. Among the many lawyer jokes out there is "How do you know a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving." Another common challenge facing lawyers is the perception that their services are expensive. While that may appear to be true when compared to other alternatives, the real issue is that the conversation is focused on price rather than value to the client.

There was an article shared on Twitter awhile back that included the comment that "No one goes to Home Depot to buy a shovel; they go because they need a hole in the ground." In a similar vein, Solo Practice University had a post last month discussing the fact that if lawyers can't effectively communicate the value of their services to the client then then client will default to comparing options based solely on price, a comparison that often is not favorable to the lawyer.

How do you respond when a potential client asks "Why should I hire you?" Do you say, "I sell shovels and ladders at a reasonable price," or do you say that you are there to help the potential client dig their hole or clean their gutters? Lawyers may be able to compete with the LegalZooms of the world through document assembly and other emerging technologies, but perhaps the better approach is to change the conversation.

Potential clients now have a number of low cost and do-it-yourself options for estate planning or will drafting. You can get an estate plan at Sam's Club or use a number of online options like Willing.com. There also is no shortage of "legal" advice available through a Google search. Why should someone hire a lawyer with all of these other options available?

Perhaps you can offer an estate plan for the same price as Sam's Club. And perhaps that's enough to convince some people to retain your services. But rather than trying to match (or beat) the prices offered by non-lawyer services, wouldn't a better approach be to show there really is no comparison? Comparing these services with what a lawyer offers is like comparing apples to oranges, or maybe even apples to a four-course steak dinner. Don't sell shovels and ladders; make your pitch client-centric and offer solutions to their problems.