Why you need to offer a “deluxe” package of services


I used to sell a course in two versions: “Basic” and “Deluxe”. The Deluxe version had more value at a higher price. Customers got more services and “stuff” and I earned more revenue. 

You should do something similar in your practice. 

Bundle or package your services in ways that are attractive to clients because they get more value and/or the convenience of getting everything they will need from you sooner rather than later, all at an attractive “price”. 

For example, if you have a typical fee package that goes for $5000, consider putting together a higher-priced package that sells for $6500. 

If you don’t offer flat fee billing, consider it, at least for some of your services. Clients like the certainty of paying a flat fee rather than paying by the hour, and you may find more clients signing up (at a higher flat fee) for that reason alone. 

There’s another reason for offering higher-priced packages, however. It often generates more sales of your lower-priced or “regular” package because of a phenomenon known as “price anchoring”. 

It’s about perceived value. 

Your $5000 package appears more “affordable” because the client compares it to the $6500 alternative. If you only offer the $5000 bundle, however, the client has the choice of paying that or paying nothing, e.g., telling you they’ll think about it. 

Even if nobody signs up for your “Deluxe” package, you will often earn more due to the increased sales of your lower-priced package. 

Reason enough to get to work on your Deluxe package. 


How to get new clients to pay you more


Actually, you can do this with existing clients, too. Anyone who is about to hire you or authorize you to do some work. Before you hand them the retainer or ask for the go ahead, ask them one more thing:

“Do you want fries with that?”

That simple question sells more fast food and it can sell more legal services. 

It’s called an upsell, and it’s an effective way to get clients to hire you to do more than they originally contemplated. 

It’s good for them, because they get something else they need but might have postponed. It’s good for you because you get paid more, but also because it’s one less thing to ask them about later. 

It works because the client is in “buying mode”. They’ve already decided to hire you for something and thus are more likely to hire you for something else. 

Instead of asking if they “also” want your additional service or add-on (your fries) you can ask if they want to upgrade their entire “purchase.” If you offer a basic service and a deluxe version, explain why they should consider the upgrade—the additional protection they get, the convenience of not coming back for more later, and, if (if you want), that they will save money by buying the package instead of getting all of your services separately. 

You could instead position the extra services or addons as a free bonus for electing your deluxe package.

Another option for you is to “cross-sell” instead of “upsell”. Bundle your other unrelated services, or the services of another lawyer in your firm, and give the client reasons to get everything at the same time.

Upsells and cross-sells are simple ways to get clients to pay you more (and be happy about it). 


Deal or no deal?


When you have a client or prospective client who wants to negotiate on fees, you know what to do. Firmly and politely tell them no. 

But tell them why. 

Explain that your fees are reasonable, you do good work and deliver great value, your clients are happy, and if you were to give one client a lower fee than everyone else, it would be unfair to your other clients, and to you. 

You might explain that yes, your fees are higher than other lawyers, because you have more experience, so you are worth it. And give them proof—verdicts, testimonials, endorsements, awards—and how this translates to better results for your clients.

You could offer a payment plan, or get set up to accept credit cards. Or ask if they have someone who might lend them the funds or co-sign for them on a bank loan. 

You could suggest that you do part of the work they need or want, at a lower fee, and they can get the rest later. Or you could talk to them about waiting on everything until they’re able to get started. 

Finally, if they just can’t do it, offer to refer them to a colleague you know who charges less.

If these don’t work for them, or for you, thank them for considering you and wish them well. 

This kind of honesty, directness, and posture will often cause the client to figure out a way to say yes. 

Many people have the money but do their best to “get a bargain”. Nothing wrong with that. Smile and tell them no deal. 

You may lose a client or two but you’ll be better offer overall. 

If more than the occasional prospect or client tells you no, however, don’t even think about lowering your fees across the board. You’re not expensive. You just need a different niche or group of clients who can afford what you’re worth.

Getting the Check: Stress-free legal billing and collection


Don’t show your clients how the sausage is made


The law is complicated. Your clients hire you because they believe you can wade through that complexity and do things for them they can’t do for themselves.

Most lawyers are adept at making things more complicated than they need to be. And they make a lot of money doing that. But the lawyers who are adept at simplifying things do even better.

Your clients are busy. They’re scared or confused or have other things on their mind. They want to know that you will take care of them. Get the job done. They don’t want to know everything about how you do what you do.

Just like you don’t want to know how your car works, you just want to know that it does.

So, simplify things for them. Explain only as much as they need to know, and no more (unless they ask).

That goes for your bill, too.

Explain what you did, clearly and thoroughly, but keep it simple. Itemize your bill, but don’t bludgeon them with details.

They’re paying you to deliver a delicious sausage sandwich. Tell them the ingredients, but don’t show them how the sausage is made.

How to write a bill that gets paid


How much should you charge?


How much should you charge for your services? Well, how much are your services worth?

You don’t want to charge less than what you’re worth. That’s not fair to you or your kids.

But you can’t charge more than you’re worth because that’s not fair to your clients (or sustainable).

When it comes to fees, follow The Goldilocks Rule: Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold (but how much is ‘just right’?)

Well, you have to consider:

  • The size and complexity of the problem or goal
  • Clients’ willingness to pay to solve that problem or achieve that goal
  • Clients’ ability to pay
  • Urgency (deadlines, risks, pain, associated problems)
  • Your experience and reputation
  • The clients’ sophistication and experience in working with lawyers
  • How much other lawyers charge
  • The economy
  • And other factors

Yeah, it’s complicated. You can’t figure this out with a spreadsheet. So, let the market give you the answer.

It starts with you. How much do you want? Quote a fee and see what clients are willing to pay.

Willing buyer, willing seller.

If most clients complain or try to negotiate, if they hire you once and never again, you may be asking more than your services are (or appear to be) worth.

If most clients pay without blinking, however, you may be asking less than you could. A common affliction among our kind.

But if most clients pay what you ask, readily hire you again and refer others, your fees are probably about right.

But that doesn’t mean you should set them and forget them.

Over time, your kids (and creditors) want you to increase your fees and continue doing that until the market tells you no more.

But that’s not necessarily the last word on the subject.

If you want to increase your fees but the market says “too much,” you have three options:

  1. Add more value so more clients are willing to pay more
  2. Improve your marketing and salesmanship and increase the perceived value of your services
  3. Target a different market

The market tells you how much you can charge. But you have to ask. And listen.

The lawyers’ guide to stress-free billing and collection


Your fees are too high


Ever heard that? Maybe not. A lot of prospective clients will simply tell you they want to think about it, or some such, and not tell you what they really think.

But what about those who do?

How do you respond when they say you charge too much?

I’d find out if they understand what’s at stake. Talk to them about what it could cost them if they don’t hire an attorney, i.e., do nothing,, wait, or try to fix the problem themselves.

How much would it cost if the other party got a judgement against them or the tax man cometh and taketh away?

And what’s the value of knowing the problem is being properly taken care of and they can stop worrying about it and get on with other things?

More than anything, we sell peace of mind.

There’s a cost to hiring an attorney, but there’s also a cost of not hiring an attorney. So when someone talks about your fees being too high, show them what it might cost if they don’t hire you.

But suppose they mean your fees are too high compared to what other attorneys charge?

How do you respond?

I’d tell them it’s true, you don’t have the lowest fees in town, that you’re actually higher than most.

And then I’d tell them why.

You have more experience; you provide more benefits than other lawyers; you deliver better outcomes; you charge flat fees so they know up front what it’s going to cost (unlike other firms). . .

You charge more and you’re worth it.

I’d prove this by providing a boatload of testimonials and reviews attesting to your wonderfulness.

I’d follow that by offering to refer them to one or two other lawyers who charge less (because they don’t have as much experience or whatever) and might be a better fit for their budget.

They’ll see you aren’t defensive, you don’t try to talk them into anything, and you don’t negotiate.

Refreshing, isn’t it? Damn good posture.

You’ll often find that this is all you need to do to win the hearts and minds and retainers of prospective clients.

Here’s how to write your bill to show them they made the right decision.


A simple way to lose clients

You want to increase your fees. It’s time, you deserve more, but, like many lawyers, you’re nervous about it because you don’t want to lose any clients who can’t or won’t pay more.


There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

The wrong way is to do what a certain app company did not long ago when they wanted to increase their revenue. They alienated a large percentage of their customers by taking away from them a bundle of features those customers were used to getting free and would henceforth have to pay for.

That’s a no.

Don’t take things from customers because when you do, you’re taking away something they already own (even if they got it free).

The company lost a lot of customers, suffered a slew of bad reviews and a loss of good will. Apple told them that they had violated their terms of service and they were forced to reverse course and come up with a different plan.

And that’s the plan I’m going to recommend to you.

Grandfather in existing customers (clients) and charge new customers or clients the higher rate (or make them pay for things your old clients got free.) Who says you have to charge all clients the same rate?

New clients won’t know and old clients won’t care.

You keep your old clients happy, at least until a suitable point in the future when you can justify raising rates for them, too. But whatever you do, don’t take away from any client anything that’s “theirs”.

Get the Check: Stress-Free Legal Billing and Collection



I upped my fees. Up Yours.


Okay, it’s the punchline of an old joke, and a terribly transparent case of click bait. But it’s also offers some good advice.

Especially now.

On any day, most solos and self-employed lawyers charge less than they’re worth. That might not describe you, but I think I’m on safe ground when I say most.

Why? They may not be aware of how much they’re worth, or how much “the market” will bear. And they’re afraid that if they raise their fees, they’ll lose too many clients.

So they look at what other lawyers or firms charge and set “competitive” fees, instead of charging more than their competition and “leveling up” their services to justify higher fees.

But I’ve made this point many times before and I won’t belabor it today.

It’s your decision. But before you decide, I want to point out something you may not have considered.


It’s higher now than it’s been in a very long time and unlikely to come down to earth any time soon.

We’re all paying more for just about everything we buy. Our income doesn’t buy as much, which means we need to earn more just to break even.

Your clients and future clients are in the same boat, and they know it, because they’re also paying more for groceries and gas and everything else.

Which means they probably expect that at some point, they’re also going to pay you more.

You may not want to raise your fees right now. You may not want to “pile on,” especially when many people are having a tough time. You may want to keep your fees at the same level and try to ride out the current wave.

But at some point, you may need to reconsider.

You can’t be benevolent to your clients if you’re hurting. Yes, you may be hurting at a higher level, but that’s beside the point. You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

If (and when) you raise your fees, raise them. Don’t pussyfoot around with a 1 or 2% increase. Not when everyone (including you) is seeing their other expenses going up double digits.

You may lose some clients. But you’ll make up for those loses by the increased revenue derived from the clients who stay and from new clients who don’t know how much you used to charge.

I know, easy to say, not so easy to do. But if you want your reality to be one of abundance, not scarcity, you can’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. And then some, to account for inflation.

How to write an invoice that gets paid


You can change your name, but not your stripes


Jimmy, the protagonist in Better Call Saul, couldn’t do it. Changing his name didn’t change who he was.

That’s true for all of us. How we think, what we do, who we are.

Our beliefs about ourselves and the world are the core of our “operating system”. And while we can change our beliefs, we can’t do it by changing our name.

Our beliefs determine our attitudes towards the choices we make, the things we do and how we do them. Our activities determine the results we get. And our results determine our success and lifestyle.

Look at how this works in the context of marketing and managing a law practice.

(1) Our beliefs determine our attitudes

If you believe that that nothing is achieved in life without hard work, that there are no shortcuts, no such thing as “working smarter,” you will no doubt be skeptical about strategies that suggest otherwise.

You would be reluctant to try these strategies because they are inconsistent with your core beliefs.

If you did try any of these strategies, you might do so with an attitude that says, “Those things never work” and you may seek to prove you’re right.

On the other hand, if you believe that some “working smarter” strategies can work, you’ll be open to learning more and giving some strategies an honest try

(2) Our attitudes affect our activities

If you believe working smarter is possible, that you can increase your income without working more hours (and even by working fewer hours), you’ll be willing and perhaps eager to explore strategies that promise that outcome.

Your attitude will be “let’s see” instead of “no way.” And if you try those strategies, you’ll look for ways to make them work instead of trying to prove they won’t.

You may have always used hourly billing in your practice, for example, but you may be willing to try flat fee billing. If you’ve tried it before, you may be willing to try it again.

You’ll at least be open to getting more information about ways to do it effectively and to see how other lawyers are doing it.

(3) Our activity determines our results

Your activities—what you do, how you do it, how much you do and for how long, determine the results you get.

Do more marketing activities, do them better, and you’ll bring in more clients. Try different billing methods and if you find one that allows you to earn more from the same work, you’ll increase your income without putting in more hours.

Maybe even by working fewer hours.

(4) Our results determine our success and lifestyle

If you are able to increase your income by working smarter instead of working harder, in the case of our example, by successfully implementing flat fee billing, you will earn more without working more.

You’ll be able to do that because you believed it was possible.

Our beliefs guide our attitudes, our attitudes affect our activities, our activities determine our results, and our results are how we measure success.

How does this explain the success of people who lie, cheat, and steal their way through life? Who believe that the way to succeed is to do whatever it takes, even if it’s wrong?

They may get away with it, but only for so long. Eventually, their nature catches up with them.

And changing their name, or the name of their company, won’t stop that.

Get the Check: Stress-Free Legal Billing and Collection


Pro bono as a marketing strategy


If a client asks for a discount on your fees, don’t do it. For a lot of reasons, you’re just asking for trouble.

And if you’re ever tempted to proactively offer a discount, to an individual client or across the board, be very careful. It might be the right thing to do, but too often, it isn’t.

Instead of discounts, consider offering free services.

Whereas discounts can make you look hungry, even desperate, free services can do just the opposite. They can make you look successful, generous, ready to help people who need help but might not be able to afford it.

They can also be an effective marketing tool.

Pro bono work for a non-profit can help you build your network and get you some free publicity. It also looks good on your CV.

(NB: get a letter from the non-profit specifying how much your work was worth to them; you might get a nice tax deduction, too.)

For regular business or consumer clients, giving away an entry-level service (e.g., a basic will or incorporation), offering free consultations, a free second opinion, and “first hour free,” can bring a lot of business to your door that might have knocked on another lawyer’s door.

But again, you need to be careful.

Whenever you’re inclined to offer a free service, consider making it a short-term promotion and tying it to a holiday or other special occasion, e.g., to celebrate the opening of your second office, your firm’s anniversary, or your birthday.

You might also limit the offer to new clients, to returning clients, to members of a certain class or group or organization, or the employees or clients thereof.

Done right, free services can make you look good and bring in a lot of new business.

Start small and test your promotion. If it’s working, you can repeat it or expand it; if it’s not, you can modify it or quietly retire it.

Fee and billing strategies you need to know and use