How to Charge More Than Other Lawyers
and Attract Better Clients
by Trey Ryder
All of your attorney marketing efforts should be designed to increase
credibility. As your credibility soars, your law firm marketing efforts
allow you to charge more than competing lawyers. Here is how to increase
your fees and attract better clients.
The first rule of attorney marketing is this: Never compete on
low price -- for many reasons:
1. You undermine your credibility because prospects wonder why
you charge less than other lawyers. After all, if you’re good at what
you do, prospects expect you to charge more than competing attorneys.
2. You attract prospects who know the price of everything and
the value of nothing. Prospects who focus mainly on price are always looking
to save a buck. To them, relationships mean little. Whoever offers the
lowest price “wins” them as a client. In the future, if they
discover a lawyer who charges less than you, they move on. Clients who
are loyal to the dollar are never loyal to you!
3. You’ll find it nearly impossible to attract the number of
new clients you want. First, today’s complex marketplace makes it hard
to attract a high volume of clients. And even if you succeed in gaining
the number of clients you want, in most cases, your marketing costs will
exceed the profit you can earn from those clients.
When you charge a high fee, you’re in a stronger marketing position,
-- It’s easier to justify why you charge so much than to explain
why you charge so little.
-- You’re not striving for volume, so you can provide each client
with a high level of personal service.
-- You can afford to invest money in an effective, targeted marketing
One reason prospects often focus on fees is because fees are
a common shortcut people use to evaluate quality. Surely, the lawyer who
charges $300 per hour is more skilled than the lawyer who charges $150
To support a fee higher than other lawyers, explain your value in terms
of the following:
RESULTS: Discuss clients you have represented who have similar
problems. Explain what you did for each client -- and the result you achieved.
Discuss your innovative approach to solving problems and how you often
get better results than lawyers who use traditional methods. Discuss how
your reputation works to your client’s advantage. Emphasize the number
of years you have represented your clients. Point out that your clients
come back time and again because they are pleased with the results.
QUALIFICATIONS: Discuss the number of years you’ve practiced
law and the depth of your experience. Explain your areas of specialization
and your unusual or unique skills. Emphasize that you limit your practice
to specific areas and, as a result, have developed a high level of expertise
from which your clients benefit. Discuss how you keep your knowledge current
through memberships in professional groups and bar sections, as well as
continuing education. Emphasize the many courts in which you’re admitted
to practice. And if you have been on the other side -- such as an insurance
defense attorney who is now a plaintiff’s lawyer -- explain how this has
further enhanced your knowledge and experience.
SERVICES: Discuss how few clients you accept -- and how this
allows you to focus more time and attention on each client as an individual.
Explain how accessible you are and how promptly you respond to clients’
requests. Discuss services you provide that are usually not offered by
other lawyers. Explain your fees and how you bill. Point out that while
many lawyers charge for every photocopy, your fee includes (whatever level
of) office overhead.
CONVENIENCE: Discuss your office’s location in the city, the
parking spaces reserved exclusively for your clients, and your easy access
within the building. Also, discuss how you work with clients by e-mail
and telephone for everyone’s benefit.
THIRD-PARTY CREDIBILITY: Offer client comments in the form of
testimonials and letters of recommendation. (Not all bar associations
allow the use of testimonials, so first check your rules of professional
conduct.) Offer references whom prospects can contact for more information.
Show copies of published articles you’ve written.
The more information you provide, the more your prospect values
your services. Also, the more reasons your prospect has to choose you,
not knowing whether other lawyers can match your results, qualifications
Next, in addition to providing positive reasons to choose you,
emphasize the risk of hiring an inexperienced lawyer.
Emphasize that your prospect needs a lawyer who will do a thorough
job and not cut corners. Emphasize that your prospect needs a highly skilled
lawyer to handle this delicate, technical or complex matter. Emphasize
that your prospect needs a lawyer who has in-depth experience so nothing
is overlooked. Emphasize that your prospect needs a lawyer who has special
training in this area of law. Emphasize that your prospect needs a service-oriented
lawyer who is accessible and responds quickly.
When faced with a question about why another lawyer charges less
1. Emphasize the First Law of Business Economics: The lawyer
who charges less must deliver less -- or he’ll go broke.
2. Emphasize that in today’s marketplace, at best, you get what
you pay for. Sadly, many clients get much less.
3. Emphasize that a low fee is an obvious sign of weakness --
because if the lawyer had even a moderate level of knowledge, skill and
experience, he would charge more.
4. Emphasize that when the stakes are high, in the long run,
the cheapest lawyer often proves to be the most expensive.
5. Emphasize that you don’t know (or can’t be sure) what the
other lawyer offers. And, since he charges less than you, it’s logical
to conclude that he offers less than you. It could be less knowledge,
less experience, less skill, less service. Is it worth the risk to find
6. Then, with a question in your voice, add: “I wonder what
he’s leaving out.” With those six words, you increase doubt and arouse
skepticism. And you do this legitimately because neither you nor your
prospect knows what criteria the other lawyer uses to establish his value.
Prospects want a clear picture of what they get when they hire
you. The more specific you are about your knowledge -- skill -- experience
-- qualifications -- results -- services -- and anything else your prospects
view as important, the more value prospects place on your services and
the higher fees they will pay.
The secret of marketing legal services is to establish the highest
level of credibility as quickly as possible. Credibility is key to attorney
marketing. As your credibility soars, your law firm marketing efforts
allow you to charge more than competing lawyers and attract better clients.
“7 Secrets of Dignified Marketing”
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