Should lawyers offer a money back guarantee?

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"Ridiculous!" "Unethical!" "Stupid!"

Or is it?

Marketing is about cutting through the clutter and standing out from the crowd. It’s about making a big promise and then backing it up. It’s about removing the risk from your client and absorbing it yourself. Isn’t that what contingency fees do?

Money back guarantees work. They are a powerful, proven marketing technique, and you should consider them.

Will you get stung? Maybe. Sometimes. What if that happens, say, once every twenty times you offer it but you get five times more business because of it? What if you lose some but you are so darn popular, you can charge twenty percent more than your competition?

What about ethics? Well, that’s something you have to verify with the powers that be in your jurisdiction, but don’t confuse a guarantee of fees with a guarantee of outcome. There was a discussion about this on Jamie Spencer’s blog about a week ago and there is a big difference. The key is not outcome, it’s client satisfaction. "Your money back if you’re not delighted."

Scary, isn’t it? That’s what makes it so powerful.

Marketing studies prove that most people won’t take advantage of you and, of course, there are ways to limit your exposure. C’mon, you’re a lawyer–that’s what you do. But I challenge you to err on the side of trusting your clients. Those same marketing studies prove that the longer and more expansive the money back guarantee, the more profitable the overall results.

If you’re all intrigued by this idea, but (a) you’re not sure if it will work, or (b) you’re afraid it might backfire, "test" it. Find a small market segment that you can reach with a limited marketing communication, a small mailing, a classified ad, offering it at the close of a free seminar, and see what happens. If you like the results, you can test the idea with larger segments.

Is this idea for everyone? No. But some lawyers will make a fortune with it. In fact. . . I guarantee it.

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