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An attorney’s fear of asking for money

March 13, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:56 pm

Nothing seems to turn attorneys into quivering lumps of goo faster than asking a prospect for a retainer check.

I don’t care if their area of practice is family law, estate planning, commercial litigation, elder law, etc. If you have a contingency fee practice, then you have likely been confronted by this fear. To look a prospect in the eye and discuss your fees can be terrifying.

If this is true for you, and your goal is to increase your profitability, then this may be the most important business skill you work on this quarter.

Why is it so hard? What about it requires so much work?

While there are multiple tactics we can discuss that can address this fear, in this post let’s focus on “The Ask.”

If you are not crystal clear how you will ask someone for payment, then you are going to bumble through the conversation. While you think it should be obvious to a prospect that you will ask for payment or discuss fees, most of the time this is not obvious to them. When you start talking about hourly rates and retainers, many prospects will display a confused expression.

What do most attorneys do when they see that expression? They immediately start discounting fees and their retainer in their head (which only makes matters worse).

What should you do? It may sound obvious, or perhaps a little silly to some of you, but I think you need to practice “The Ask.”

Think back through all the times that that asking for payment went well, and all the times it went bad, and consider what you did right and wrong. Then, practice asking. Then practice asking again.

If you want to increase your law firm’s profitability, one of the best and simplest strategies is learning how to ask for money. Practice, practice, and practice some more until your ask becomes easy.

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