Five Ways To Get Better Clients
Written by Dave Lorenzo on August 2, 2016 / Mindset
People who appreciate quality are easy to identify. The guy who buys a pair of jeans at Saks does not get his underwear at Big Lots. The guy who stays at the Four Seasons does not have a Motel 6 Rewards Card in his wallet. You will never find the guy who travels on NetJets waiting to board in a cattle call on Southwest.
People who haggle over a fee when engaging a professional service provider do not make quality representation a priority. The person who focuses on price is a difficult client. They require champagne service on a Charles Shaw budget. Accept these clients at your own peril.
Raise your fees and liberate the bargain hunters to pursue others in your industry. There is demand at both the high end and the low end of the fee scale. Those who work at the low end get terrible clients, and plenty of them. Service providers at the high end of the spectrum work with fewer clients and make more money. Work less and make more with good clients or work more and deal with the unwashed masses. You pick.
Here are five strategies ANYONE in ANY industry can use to increase income and attract better quality clients. Implement just one of them today and you will notice a difference in your caseload and your wallet.
Strategy 1: Raise Your Fees
Sometimes it is just as simple as making a decision to require more money for your services. Start by raising your fee 10% each month for the next 3 months. I bet you encounter little resistance. If you feel really bold, raise your fees 30% this month. Again, I bet you encounter little or no resistance.
The only person who has an issue with the amount of money you require is you. Raise your fees now.
Strategy 2: Be Different
Do not charge what everyone else charges just because that is the industry standard. Industry norms are set by what NORMAL (aka: AVERAGE) people charge. You want to be known as an exceptional practitioner. You should charge exceptional fees.
If you clearly differentiate yourself and your service from the service provided by your competitors, you will occupy a category of one. If clients cannot compare you to anyone else they cannot expect you to charge the same fees as everyone else.
Strategy 3: Put Up a Velvet Rope
What kind of reputation do you want? Do you want to be the person who works with everyone or do you want to be exclusive? Here is a hint: The practitioner with the higher client acceptance standards will make more money.
Fire the clients you hate. Make clients fill out an application to work with you. Turn away more clients than you accept. Make sure you get a reputation for being highly selective. The tougher it is to work with you, the more people will pay for the privilege.
Strategy 4: Never Apologize for Your Fee
A divorce lawyer in New York City charges a flat fee of $60,000 to represent a client in the dissolution of a marriage. He handles about 15 cases a year and he turns away triple that number. An immigration attorney in Miami charges $15,000 to fill out the forms for a family-based visa. She has more athletes as clients than most sports agents. A criminal defense attorney in Napa Valley requires a $10,000 fee for any DUI case he handles. Last December he billed over $200,000 in that month alone. A corporate attorney in Iowa only works with people who own dairy farms. He drafts and/or reviews all legal agreements for them and charges each client an annual fee of $50,000 to be their general counsel.
I use lots of examples from the legal profession to demonstrate this point because most people view legal services as a commodity. If lawyers can be successful with this strategy, it can be done in any industry by any practitioner.
There are two absolute truths when it comes to fees: 1). No matter what you charge, someone will always pay it. 2). No matter what you charge, someone will always charge more.
Strategy 5: Position Yourself Properly
When they show up, bill ’em. This is a great philosophy. When you give advice to a client you put your neck on the line. Do not give out free advice. Ever. Not at lunch. Not in your office. Not at a cocktail party and not with the cute blonde you met at the bar. If they want your thoughts, make them pay.
Never meet with an unqualified client. Anyone who comes to see you must have three things: 1). A problem you can solve. 2). Money to pay you. 3). The ability to make a decision. You must find out if the potential client has all three before they see you. If they do not, the meeting should not happen.
These are just five of 43 strategies my clients use to create more value and charge higher fees. How many of these can you implement in your business?
Incidentally, Stanford University conducted a study that compared the happiness and satisfaction of people who paid high prices all the time with the people who always shopped for bargains. The clients who paid more were twice as likely to be happy as the people who haggled.
You do care about the happiness of your clients, don’t you?
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