Are You Worth the Risk?

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Understanding the Risk a Client Faces When He Hires a LawyerWhen a client comes to you with a problem he is anxious.  He may never have faced this kind of situation before.  He is worried about losing money, time and/or an opportunity.  He knows that hiring the right lawyer is going to be the most important decision he will make toward achieving a favorable result.

In short, he is worried about the risk he is taking in selecting you as his lawyer.

Overcoming the client’s fear of making a mistake in lawyer selection is the single most important factor in law firm marketing.  Most lawyers underestimate the depth of that fear.

There are six different elements of risk that come into play when a client is looking to hire a lawyer and you must overcome all of them.

Below are these elements of risk.  I have also included some thoughts on how you can address this risk head on and make the client’s decision easier.

The risk of poor performance:  The client hires a lawyer and the lawyer is not able to achieve the desired result.

To overcome this risk, show the client your past work.  Help him feel comfortable with your skill level.  Give the client the names and phone numbers of other people you have represented so he can check up on you.

The risk of financial investment: The client invests in you, you do not perform well and he is responsible for damages awarded to his adversary.

To overcome this risk, show the client the value he is receiving by hiring you.  Help him see that NOT hiring you is the true financial risk because you are their best option.

The risk of loss of time: The client helps you become familiar with his situation. This takes time.  If he needs to find another lawyer, he has lost the time he invested in working with you.  In many matters, time is of the essence.  If the client works with you and you cannot act quickly he may not achieve a favorable outcome.

Overcome this risk by demonstrating sensitivity to his time investment.  Show up on time to meetings with him.  Return his calls promptly and be attentive to his needs.  If you are unavailable, make sure a member of your team responds to the needs of the client in timely fashion.

The risk of the loss of an opportunity:  Your depth of knowledge is critical to the client’s success. If you miss an opportunity while working on his matter, you may cost him money or you may even jeopardize the entire engagement.

Start the relationship off by asking in-depth questions about the client’s situation.  Show him that you are thinking about his matter beyond the superficial aspects of it.  Asking good questions demonstrates the desire to completely understand a situation.  This is critical to alleviating the client’s fear of loss of an opportunity.

Psychological risk:  How does the client feel when he works with you?  Does he feel like he is in good hands?  There is a fine line between giving your client peace of mind and promising an outcome.  You need to walk that line effectively and make the client feel good about your work.  When you present your client with options and he makes a decision, reassure him.

Social risk:  Clients talk to other people in their sphere of influence.  Every interaction you have with a client or on behalf of a client either enhances or detracts from your reputation.  Monitor what is being said about you in the community and realize that what you do is also a reflection on your clients.

Many times the client is making the decision to hire a lawyer during a brief conversation you have with him.  You must, through your actions and your words, address each of these elements of risk to his satisfaction in order to be hired.  Lawyers who are good at business development have made this a natural part of their initial client meeting.

If clients come to see you and leave without hiring you, you have a problem addressing these six elements of risk.

This is not unusual and it can be corrected.  Call me today to find out how.

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