When to qualify prospective clients for money

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Some clients can’t afford you. They need your help, they trust you and want to sign up, they just don’t have the money, or they have it but don’t want to spend it.

When would you like to find that out?

Before they meet with you, or after you’ve spent a lot of time talking to them about their problem and your solution?

If you talk to them and they don’t hire you, is that a complete waste of time?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe they’ll realize they have to do something and they will beg, borrow, or steal the money to pay you. Maybe they’ll hire another lawyer who will mess things up and they’ll come back to you to fix things, at greater cost. Or, maybe they can’t afford your primary service right now but they can afford one of your “entry level” services and get more help later.

Maybe they won’t ever hire you but they will appreciate you for meeting with them and send you referrals.

So, it depends.

Clearly, however, you can’t spend all your time talking to people who don’t have any money. You need to weed them out in advance.

How do you do that?

By promoting your services to target markets and prospective clients who have money and avoiding the ones who don’t.

By educating your referral services about your ideal client and including something about fees and retainers.

By giving prospective clients (on your website, in your ads or other marketing materials), a general idea of what they will need to pay up front.

And, when you meet with prospective clients, qualifying them as to their ability to pay.

How do you the latter? Early on, say something like this:

“I’ll need to get more information, of course, before I can tell you what I can do for you. If I can help you, you need to know that my minimum fee is X [I’ll need a retainer of X]. Would that be a problem for you?”

If they say it won’t be a problem, mazeltov. If they say it might be a problem, or their body language tells you it is, you can explore that subject further or head in a different direction.

How to get referrals from people who don’t hire you

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