The following is a guest post written by lawyer coach Gary Mitchell.
Are you tired of living your life in 6-minute increments? Are you frustrated every time a client tries to nickel and dime you about a bill? What about those awkward conversations with your clients when a bill goes well beyond what you initially quoted them? Do you feel squeezed by competitors around hourly rates?
You have a choice! Stop selling your time. Start selling your knowledge, experience, and expertise! It’s called Value Billing.
This conversation has been around a long time, at least as long as I have been coaching lawyers and law firms in the business of law, 17 years, and counting.
There are likely many reasons why more lawyers and law firms have not adopted this approach, and many have already been discussed at nausea. This article serves as an argument for why value billing is not only better for your clients, but also better for you.
The Client Side
For years your clients have been chewing their nails waiting for your bill. Sitting by the computer expecting that message to read, oh, by the way, we’ve run into a snag, and this is going to push the cost up. Or a phone call. Same thing.
Then there is budgeting. How can your client’s budget for services that are not clearly defined? And time keeps piling up.
Value- Shouldn’t it be about the value you provide your clients and not your time? If it took one minute to give your client everything they needed, should that diminish the value of what you are doing for them?
I liken it to face-time in the office. Who cares? As long as the work is getting done, on time and to the client’s satisfaction, why should it matter where the work is being done? It’s about results!
I suggest you have a conversation with your best and most loyal clients about billing. Ask them pointed questions about their experience, and their perception around being billed hourly for your services. You might be surprised at their answers. But let’s continue with the argument for Value Billing.
Your fees should be directly related or aligned with the value and impact you have on the given individual, organization, or company.
And at the same time as giving yourself or your firm the opportunity to earn more, you are giving your clients more ease, and more security in knowing what the cost of your service will be from the onset. They can equate the value of your service directly to the impact or results they produce, and not how much time it takes to achieve them.
I think you’ve been looking at the MATH all wrong. Don’t think less, think more! Shouldn’t you be selling your knowledge, experience, and expertise, rather than your time? Value, not time. Impact not time. Results, not time.
If you could press a button right now and give your client everything they needed, would that take away from the value of what you are providing them? NO! They don’t care. They just want it done to their satisfaction. Again, it’s all about results!
For the sake of this argument, say a client requests a task that only takes you 20 minutes, yet, it will have a major impact on that client and or their company. But, because a task only takes you 20 minutes as a result of your 20+ years of experience, should you be penalized? Should the fact that it’s taken you 20+ years of experience so that it now only takes you 20 minutes count for something?
It was said that close to the end of his career, Pavarotti made about half a million dollars an hour. That’s ridiculous you say. Is it? Because in truth he wasn’t making ½ a million $ an hour. He had invested tens of thousands of hours honing his craft to a point where he could make about 1 million for a two-hour concert.
How much time have you put into honing your craft?
Make it all about the results, not about the time-isn’t that what really matters?
About the author:
Gary Mitchell- Entrepreneur Coach & Trainer
With 30 years of communications, political strategy, and entrepreneurial experience, Gary has tailored his coaching practice exclusively to lawyers since 2005. He has accumulated tremendous industry knowledge and insights. He specializes in helping lawyers adopt an entrepreneurial approach and mindset to the Business of Law. Three published books, and hundreds of articles later, Gary continues to educate lawyers on the importance of excelling in the business, not just the practice of law.
Gary can be reached at [email protected]