Marketing Conveyancing Services For a Reasonable Price

With threats from the Legal Services Act and so called ‘Tesco Law’ the reference to price challenges for conveyancers increases every year. Many solicitors suggest that the only way solicitors will be able to do conveyancing in the future is by providing a low cost, high volume service.
In my opinion, this is absolutely the wrong way to go for most High Street law firms (my background for most of the 14 years that I practised). If the likes of Tesco do decide to offer conveyancing services, how on earth can you be expected to compete with them? They will have volume and a massive database to market to. Competing on price would be completely futile. You should only complete on service. This is probably the one area where you can win, and win hands down.
When you provide an exceptional service, and then, and this is the hard bit for most solicitors, KEEP THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CLIENT ALIVE LONG AFTER THE MATTER FILE IS DEAD, then and only then can you sell your service and charge a reasonable price.
I accept that if all of your new conveyancing enquiries are ring arounds (ie people with the internet in front of them calling one firm after the next) price is the common denominator and the main driving force. However, if you build and maintain a relationship with your client once they have moved in, keeping in touch with useful, helpful and informative legal information, who will be the first and probably only firm that client calls when they next want to move? When your client is only calling you, as long as your price is not alarmingly high, they will choose you because they trust you and have an existing relationship with you.
If this is the case, and I know it is, why do so few solicitors build this relationship? The answer is incredibly simple: it takes time and a little effort. Not a huge amount these days, but it does take effort. The cost is not great as there are so many excellent tools for keeping in touch with clients cost effectively.
There are many examples outside of the legal world that price is rarely the deciding factor in a service. I could buy my food from a premium supermarket or a low cost supermarket. I know what each one will provide me with: the food will largely be the same but the price paid will be significantly different. I am buying the experience as defamation relief much as the food. One will have staff to look after me and answer questions, whilst at the other I might have to track the staff down to put my food through the checkout. Food is the largest commodity so if a food retailer can manage to charge a higher price than other food retailers then why should it be any different for solicitors?
If I want to buy a car I could buy a Smart car or I could buy a top of the range Mercedes. Both cars do exactly the same job of transporting me from A to B, however, one of them does so in far more comfort and probably a lot faster. Should it not be the same with conveyancing? alien legal definition If I decide to buy purely on price you and I know that the conveyancer charging the lowest price will have to take on 5 or 10 times more files each month to make the same profit as a conveyancer charging a reasonable fee and handling half the number of cases.
On the flip side of this, the fee earner charging more will have more time to spend on my file and therefore is less likely to make mistakes. With insurance premiums always on the rise this is a good thing for the practice overall. I have worked with conveyancers that charge a low fee and have rarely been impressed with their client relationship management skills. However, someone who is sufficiently confident to charge a decent fee for their services normally is far more assured and relaxed and more prepared to spend time with their clients. They are able to offer the Mercedes or Waitrose service because they are charging a premium for the privilege. The solicitor and the client both win. Isn’t this better for all concerned?
It is even easier to charge a premium for your service if your are regularly selling your service to returning clients or recommended clients. You are far more likely to have returning and recommended clients if you go out of your way to provide an exceptional service. Of course there will always be the “tyre kickers” who only want to buy on price, but let them go to your competitor. In my experience both in the legal profession and since leaving, those that are prepared to pay a reasonable price for my service are normally the best clients. Those that always try and bargain on price or time turn out to cause the most headaches. I have seen this enough times and spoken to enough solicitors to know that this is a recurring theme. Therefore, if someone is bartering your price and does not appreciate any value to your service let them go to your competitors and let your competitors have the headaches.
Summary.
You can choose whether you want to be a low price conveyancing service provider or a high price conveyancing service provider. I firmly believe the second option is the right choice but also accept that this takes time to achieve. However, if you simply give in and charge the lowest prices you will never have a profitable business in the long term. You simply will not be able to compete with the bulk providers and they will be able to beat you on price and delivery of service. In my opinion, the only option for the smaller firm is to charge a good price, provide an outstanding service and always keep in touch with your clients. You will then have more job satisfaction, more clients and more profits in the bank.

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