find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
How to ... give clients options

How to ... give clients options

Limited services and inflexible pricing options are rife as law firms don't give clients enough variety. John Chisholm and Jessica Hadley explain how to offer clients better options.

Limited services and inflexible pricing options are rife as law firms don't give clients enough variety. John Chisholm and Jessica Hadley at Chisholm Consulting explain how to offer clients better options.

In an increasingly highly competitive environment, why is it that most law firms force current or potential clients to look to their competitors for options instead of offering options themselves?

Many firms take a ‘you can have any colour you like as long as it is black’ approach to both their services and their pricing (however you price) which effectively can force clients to adopt a ‘take it or leave it’ approach-accept what is offered or go to a competitor.

By offering clients a choice you can save them having to find alternatives elsewhere - they think more about how they can work with you rather than whether to work with you.

Of course we are professionally obliged to provide a certain quality of service and sound advice to our clients and offering options does not mean you can skimp on that - you would never intentionally sell a lemon of a car and no one would consciously buy a lemon of a car, at any price. Equally, car buyers don’t always want to buy-or have the budget for- a BMW 7 Series when a 3 Series maybe perfectly acceptable.

Almost every other industry has players that offer options. Airlines are the classic example. There are different classes to choose from all priced differently yet everyone on the flight no matter where they sit arrives at the destination at the same time and has the same expectation that they will arrive safely. The service provided is different however and depending upon where you sit and how much you have paid your service expectations will be different too. Even for the same seat on the flight the price will be different. If for example you want the flexibility to change your flight after you have booked then you can-and you pay a premium for that choice.

Research suggests that when making decisions, we seem to be quite difficult creatures to satisfy. We like choice - sometimes we go out of our way to gather as much information as we possibly can to ensure that we have ‘enough’ choices. On the flip side, when we have too many choices or too much information our decision making becomes too hard and we often delay or avoid making a decision altogether.

Unfortunately, there are no easy or quick ways to preempt what service, value or option a client maybe expecting for a particular matter - the only way to know is to have a conversation with them.

So, how many options should you offer a client? That will vary of course but three seems to be a magic number - we seem to have a natural inclination towards finding two extremes and something in the middle to use as a reference point. For example we often seek out three alternatives- one being cheap, another being expensive and one in the middle. Depending on the purpose and context we then decide what option to go with- and despite common beliefs that we all want to save money we all know from experience we often do not always pick cheapest option.

Ask yourself or your team when next making a proposal to a client ‘What can I add in, take out or vary to possibly give this client options (and still deliver a satisfactory and legally sound outcome)?’. I think you will find potential options are endless. Turnaround time is a classic option (if a client wants it urgently, they should pay a higher price) but so may be things like choice of talent, access, payment terms. By stripping out value you can offer a lower priced option without the need to give discounts. And the reverse is also true, a higher value option should come with a higher price.

Offering options can also benefit your firm by assisting you to shape your client’s expectations. If a client chooses a low value option over other options both you and they have at least some idea of the service expected -at a price the client is prepared to pay.Â

It may not be easy at first, and it takes time and some creativity to develop effective options. However, if you continue to only offer your clients black, you had better hope they never, ever crave colour.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

How to ... give clients options
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...