How much are legal services worth? If you’re an attorney, usually more than clients appreciate, right? That’s why pressure to lower fees is everywhere and assumes a variety of forms.
Gaining prominence are auctions for legal services, reports Patrick G. Lee in today’s Wall Street Journal. Also called “reverse auctions or competitive bidding,” Lee explains, the tactic is used primarily by large companies to negotiate fees for large amounts of similar work. Attorneys are becoming concerned that the auction approach is “spreading to more complex projects,” according to Lee.
In our business development work with law firms, attorneys have told us that when clients understand the true value of a firm’s work–not just the price–fees become much less of an issue. It’s not enough to educate clients or prospects about what you do; you also have to persuade them of the value. That’s a skill that can be learned and put to work in calls with prospects as well as clients. We’ve helped many of our clients develop a customized consultative selling process that achieves both goals.
Some attorneys are taking the bull by the horns. They allow clients to have a say in how much the firm’s legal work is worth. One of our business development clients, in fact, offers its clients–with every invoice–a line on which the clients can increase the fee they pay or decrease it. It all depends on how much they appreciate the value of the firm’s work-that is, how well they have been persuaded to understand the value of the firm’s work. And, yes, this firm is very successful.