Easy Path To Higher Fees: Be A Star From Afar
One of the fastest ways to make more money as a lawyer is to raise your fees. This allows you to serve the same number of clients and earn a significantly higher income.
But lawyers have difficulty with this concept because they have no way of differentiating themselves from everyone else who does what they do. Differentiation through legal marketing is the key to premium pricing.
There is an easy-to-implement strategy to differentiate your law firm from all the others. I call it the Star From Afar strategy. Here’s how it works:
Distance and Legal Fees
Most lawyers work in a geographic area that spans a maximum of 100 miles. Typically, if you drew a circle around their office that stretched 100 miles in any direction, you’d find 90% of their clients originate from within those boundaries. This is the lawyer’s comfort zone. All his referral sources lie within this area; he knows the other lawyers in this area; he knows the judges and the court clerks and the process servers etc.
Making substantial changes to a law practice within these geographic boundaries is difficult because the lawyer fears he will harm his reputation or his “brand.” This issue is non-existent when a lawyer suddenly attracts a client from “out of town” or outside that imaginary 100-mile circle. Then the lawyer feels comfortable charging whatever he wants because he has no fear of “pricing himself out of the market.”
Additionally, the lawyer will easily command a higher fee because he is less accessible to the client from out of town. Think about it: If you can ask your lawyer a question when you see him at the PTA meeting or church or your kid’s soccer game, why would you pay him significantly more than any other attorney? Or if you see the attorney at all those places around town and have become friends with him, your friendship may become strained if he charged you a hefty fee for handling your issue (this is perception, not necessarily reality).
The Geographic Solution to Higher Fees
The way to implement the Star From Afar strategy is to market your practice outside that geographic 100-mile circle. Just employ all the marketing initiatives we discuss in a geographic area outside of your typical client circle.
I have worked with Miami lawyers who look for clients in Orlando, Los Angeles lawyers who market in San Diego, New York City lawyers attracting clients from Long Island, and many other lawyers from other jurisdictions. It works like a magnet.
This phenomenon of attractiveness and distance (lack of accessibility) is powerful. I recommend you set up an office in the local jurisdiction for receiving mail and handling client appointments. This is done using an executive suites service or by sharing office space with a lawyer in that jurisdiction.
Absence does indeed make the heart (and the wallet) grow fonder. If you want to raise your fees and you’re afraid doing so will alienate your local clients and referral sources, try the Star From Afar strategy. Charge the high fees in the new city. Your income will increase, and we can then work on the mental block you have about raising fees in your home town.