It’s Better to Be Hired for Your Reputation Than Your Price

In my work coaching lawyers about marketing and business development, I am often asked about discounts on pricing. Lawyers are often very uncomfortable when it comes to putting a price on their work, and it can create a lot of stress. No one likes to talk about money, especially when it comes to buying a person’s time and expertise. But, I find time and time again that lawyers, particularly solo practitioners and small firms, undervalue their services by offering discounts too easily.

It may be a hard conversation, but lawyers need to help their clients understand what they bring to the table and what it takes to do so. After all… would you hire a landscaper to perform surgery on your hand?  NO! You want to hire a reputable hand surgeon to do that job. Why? Because that surgeon has a particular set of skills, training and knowledge about how to fix someone’s hand. And you likely wouldn’t want that same surgeon pruning your lilac bushes, as it takes a different skill to prune a tree so that it blooms each year. By discounting your prices, you are undermining your value from the very beginning. It becomes a very slippery slope that you should approach carefully, if ever.

So, how does a lawyer deal with pricing discussions?  Here are a few tips:

  • Understand the product you are offering, the nuances that makes your product attractive, and the level of knowledge you have acquired to make this product effective.
  • Confirm you are offering an appropriate price for the service you are delivering based on the market you are selling it in.
  • Determine who your target audience is and why they would be willing to pay the price at which you are offering your service.
  • Understand why you are different than others providing the same service and become comfortable in telling your prospect this story in a clear and compelling way.
  • Practice your pitch until it feels natural to deliver.

This simplified approach may shift depending on the particular circumstances you are facing, but one thing is for sure: it is critical to think about your pricing model by determining the market for your services, understanding your value and sharing opportunities to work together that feels fair to both the lawyer and their client.

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