The rule is plain and simple—no value equals no business. As a divorce lawyer, you must separate yourself from your competitors by focusing on value.
By Liz Wendling, Business Development Coach
As a divorce attorney, the value you provide is infinitely more important than the fees you charge. To separate yourself from your competitor’s options you must establish an environment in which your prospective client can clearly see the value and expertise that you provide. The rule is plain and simple—no value equals no business. If prospects can’t see the value, they are going to use the one measure that they can see—your prices and fees.
Your success depends entirely on your ability to persuasively demonstrate the value that you have is clearly superior to the other options. Distinguishing your legal services from those of your competitors will result in consistent wins; failure to accomplish this results in an apples-to-apples comparison. The lowest fee wins.
No Value no Business: Beware of the Eye of the Beholder
People choose or refuse to hire you on the basis of a values match or mismatch. Value is in the eye of the beholder. What you think you are worth and what others think you are worth can be vastly different. No matter what you believe about the value of your services, it’s the prospect who ultimately decides. The client is the final judge and jury of value.
Value is the difference between the fees you charge and the benefits the prospect perceives they will obtain. If your prospective clients perceive they will derive a vast benefit for the fees they pay, then their perception of value is very high. Often the lack of perceived value makes clients shop on price. Your price will be the only point of difference clients can easily see and measure.
It is a common fallacy that people make buying decisions based on fees. Some do, but most people buy based on value or their perception of value. Prospective clients are afraid to part with their money. Money equals security, and it doesn’t matter how much money you are asking people to part with. People are happy to spend their money when they see that there’s more value in using your services than in keeping their money.
The Burden of Proof Is on You
When a client informs you that she is going to a competitor who has lower legal fees, she is silently telling you that she does not see enough of a value difference. To her, you are the same as the divorce attorney with lower fees. The things that are of value to her do not substantiate the difference in dollars. Every divorce attorney brings different elements to the value table, so the burden of proof is on you.
So you lost the business because, after weighing both options, the prospect did not see enough difference in value between your services and your competitors to justify spending the additional fees. It has everything to do with your failure to differentiate your value proposition.
Many attorneys attempt to differentiate themselves by using the same language as their competition. These overused and generic statements make your prospective clients roll their eyes, shake their head and think big deal; every other divorce attorney is saying the same thing.
Here are a few examples:
- We have decades of experience you can trust.
- Our staff provides one-on-one attention to our clients.
- We are committed to long-term relationships.
- Our team is dedicated and loyal.
- We treat every client with respect.
- I care about my clients and pay special attention to their needs.
- Our expertise is some of the best in the state.
- We deeply care about your financial future.
- We are committed to your success and can save you money.
- We take the time to listen to their needs and put our clients first.
- You are number one in our eyes.
Generic and boring. Overused and clichéd. There is not even a hint of value, differentiation or uniqueness in these statements. Every one of them is a baseline expectation. These statements are not enough to compel someone to pay more for your services.
No Value Equals No Business
How do you separate yourself from your competition? How do you show a prospective client—clearly and conclusively that your services are not like the other options available to them? How do you deliver value in a meeting or consultation? In your client follow-up? When communicating your expertise? When discussing your fees? Do not do another consultation until you can answer these questions.
If your prospect has the financial ability to hire but chooses not to do so, then money is not the issue that is driving their buying decision. Value is the underlying driver. No value equals no business.
In the absence of value, virtually any product or service may be driven down to one thing: price. Deliver value and you will never have to compete on price. Don’t allow pricing to become a default position. Don’t allow your prices or fees to be the only point of reference available for separating you from the competition.
Don’t believe that you lose clients and opportunities because of your prices and fees. Find out what your clients value and give it to them. But don’t stop there. Give them some of what they didn’t even know they wanted. Wow the heck out of them! You control the knob on value. Turn it up!
Liz Wendling is a nationally recognized practice development coach for attorneys. Using a straightforward and practical approach, Liz designs and customizes programs for divorce attorneys who want to attract more clients, close more business, and differentiate themselves from the competition. www.therainmakingcoach.com
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