Could you charge more for your legal services? Here’s how to find out


Could you charge higher fees for your legal services than you charge right now?

What if you could get paid one-third more than you now get without losing any business. Wouldn’t that be cool? Or, maybe you might lose some business but increase your net income because of the higher fees you are paid from everyone else. Also cool.

Most attorneys set their fees by looking at what other attorneys in their market charge. They don’t want to charge a lot more or a lot less so they play it safe. But some attorneys do ask for more and they get it.

True, these higher paid attorneys may have more experience or a higher-profile reputation. They might offer more value to their clients. Perhaps they are better “sales people” or have more chutzpah. Maybe they took a chance when quoting fees and got lucky.

The point is that some attorneys get paid more than other attorneys for doing essentially the same work. What if you could, too?

There is a way to find out if you could charge more. No, not by asking your clients or prospects if they would be willing to pay more. They have a certain, um, bias, don’t you think? No, if you want to find out if people are willing to pay more you have to charge more, and see if they pay it.

But hold on. Don’t raise your fees across the board just yet. That’s too risky. You don’t know if this will be successful. What if you ask for too much and lose too many clients? Not good. Conversely, what if you don’t ask for enough? Your clients may pay ten percent more without flinching, but how do you know they wouldn’t have paid twenty percent more?

The answer is to test higher fees with small groups of clients and/or prospects and measure the results.

Pay-per-click advertising is a great way to do “split testing”. Basically, you quote one fee to the first inquiry and a higher fee to the second. You alternate quotes until you have a meaningful sample of responses and clients. With enough responses, you’ll be able to see which fee is producing (a) the most clients, and (b) the highest income.

Pay-per-click advertising has become extremely expensive and you might not want to use it as an ongoing marketing tool. But for short term testing purposes, wouldn’t it be worth it to find out conclusively that you could safely charge a lot more than you do now?

If your practice isn’t amenable to advertising, there are other ways to test fees with smaller groups of prospects. If you do seminars, for example, you could quote every other attendee a different fee. Or quote different fees at every other seminar.

The results of price testing are often surprising. You would think that charging higher fees would decrease the number of sales (clients) but that is not always the case. Sometimes you sell just as many at the higher price. And sometimes, believe it or not, you sell more at the higher price.

But you’ll never know unless you test.