As we head into the final weeks of the year, you may experience some push back from clients and prospective clients you are meeting with. In particular, they may say that the holiday time is too busy and they’d like to revisit things sometime next year.
The problem with this is that once they leave your office, it’ll be much harder to circle back with them, get them in, get them re-motivated to do the planning, and do business with you. It might be late January or later before you’re able to reach them and get them in. And what will your firm do between now and that time?
Here’s a little sales tip that I’ve used for years that helps close a few more prospects in these final weeks of the year.
Whenever I’ve gotten push back about doing business during the holidays, what I have done (and given my associate attorneys the discretion to do) is say something like this…
“I totally understand. Things can be very busy and you may have a lot of expenses during the holidays. Unlike many of the retail businesses during the holidays, my business tends to slow down a bit but I’ve still got the same expenses and overhead. What I would be willing to do for you is if you decide to move forward with any work, I’m willing to offer you a one-time extended discount of $250. But, this is only available if you move forward before [INSERT DATE BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR, BUT NOT TOO FAR AWAY FROM MEETING DATE].”
I know that some lawyers may cringe at the idea of offering clients a discount off of their fee. They may feel that it cheapens their services somehow, but frankly everyone can and does appreciate some form of savings—especially people who care about their money and how they spend and manage their money!
That being said, you do not to want to offer too steep of a discount either. For one, it may give off an impression that perhaps you were overcharging or gouging them with the original price quote. Additionally, you have to stick to your offer and not extend it beyond the end of the year. It has to be a hard line and they have to move forward before year-end, which is why you’re offering a discount. It doesn’t mean that they have to pay it up in full, you have to complete the work, and they have to come back in and sign the documents before the end of the year. All it means is that you’re reducing the fee slightly to encourage them to proceed forward instead of walking out and not engaging you, promising to come back later, and then losing the potential business altogether.
While the client is in front of you and clearly interested in some kind of discussion about planning, it’s about keeping that momentum, creating some revenue during the holiday month, creating some work to be done during the final weeks for you and your staff, and putting some appointments on the calendar for the first few weeks of the year!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Attorney Philip J. Kavesh is the principal of one of the largest estate planning firms in California – – Kavesh, Minor and Otis – – which has been in business since 1981. He is also the President of The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc., which provides a variety of training, marketing and practice-building products and services for estate planning professionals.
If you would like more information or have a question for him, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-866-754-6477.