How Solicitors Can Compete With Cheap Will Writers And Other New Entrants To Wills And Probate Market

I am sure I do not need to tell you, but if you are a Will writing Solicitor, you have a lot more competition to contend with than perhaps solicitors providing other legal services. You see Will Writers advertising their services for £19 or £39 a time, but you know that this is the door opening price. Where Will Writers are usually much better than solicitors is in selling their higher priced Will writing services. So a £19 or £39 Will actually becomes a £300 or a £1,200 Will with Lasting Power Of Attorney. So how solicitors can compete with cheap will writers is an important issue to solve.

How can you compete with Will Writers and charge a reasonable price for your Will writing services? Well, it is easy in many ways, but easy does not mean that it does not take some consistent effort (which all marketing requires to provide you with a steady stream of new client instructions).

Let’s Tackle The Pricing Problem

I thought it would be worth tackling the elephant in the room to start with. If we fail to do this it could become awfully messy in here. So I am going to drive straight in and tackle it head on. Please remember the purpose of this article is to help you charge more for your professional Will writing services, so I am on your side. However, I have to tackle some issues which you may not initially agree with, but I urge you to stick with me.

Pricing is only an issue if you are selling your Will writing Services to someone who has never heard of your business before. However, even then you can still sell your services for premium prices, but only if you take the time and trouble to do so. Whilst you might not agree that this is the case, I know it to be so. I have worked with Solicitors who charge £70 for a Will, and solicitors who charge £300 for a single Will. Price is rarely an issue in either case.

I worked inside private practice for 14 years. I have been running my legal marketing consultancy since 2003, so I have heard every pricing argument under the sun. I have the most pricing arguments with Will writing solicitors and conveyancing solicitors who always assure me that selling their services is solely down to pricing. I have proved many of them wrong (the ones who were prepared to learn and change), but failed to convince others who then carry on to run unprofitable departments until the firm closes down, closes down that department, or employs someone who is more open minded to pricing.

If everything was solely sold on price, there would be no Rolls Royce cars (everyone would buy a Ford), no luxury Yachts (everyone would swim), no Waitrose (everyone would shop at Lidl) and no Solicitors (everyone would use a Will Writer instead). Price is not the problem, how you promote your Will writing services in a legal practice is the issue. If you are still reading at this point, thank you, I can now reward you by explaining how you can sell your services for a fair and reasonable price.

1. Sell To Your Existing Clients And Email MarketingList

The biggest reason that most people fail to sell their Will services for a reasonable sum is because they fail to generate new instructions from existing clients and their friends and family. The main reason that they fail to do this is because they do not in any way, shape or form, keep in touch with their clients old and new.

If a client uses their service, once they have completed the process (whether it be a Will, a conveyancing transaction, a personal injury claim or a business transaction if the firm offers commercial services), the solicitor never communicates with them again. This is an almost fatal business mistake, and one that when I correct it for a solicitor means that they rarely have quiet months again and that they can charge a fair price for their Will writing and other legal services.

This is what one of my Marketing4Solicitors members said when he finally gave in to my constant advice (nagging) that he should keep in touch with his old clients far more frequently:

“I finally took your advice and sent an email to my client database today before lunch. I came back one hour later and already have 6 new Will instructions!”

Jonathan Tyler, Seth Lovis & Co

If you do not yet have an email marketing database, there is simply no excuse anymore. It is simple to set up, incredibly cheap, and very easy to use. Download my 8 Ways To Win New Clients Free Guide at the foot of this blog post and I show you which software I use.

2. Quoting Professionally

In the first example I showed you how fantastic a tool email marketing can be for your practice. In this second stage, I tell you why using email can be fatal to your chances of obtaining a good price for your services (quite the contrarian, aren’t I?).

This is how most solicitors deal with enquiries for their Will writing services (based on speaking with over 100 Will writing solicitors):

  • Telephone enquiry for their legal services
  • Explanation of their services and charges
  • An email quotation (if lucky)
  • NOTHING ELSE

For fear of making this blog the length of a published book, I can’t go into the detail of all of the other steps that absolutely must be taken to provide a professional quotation, but I can assure you that this is a million miles away from an acceptable standard if you really want to obtain a reasonable price for your services.

You can buy my Client Conversion ToolKit for a nominal sum if you want to fix this problem, but please do not miss the point here.

Emails are incredibly easy to ignore. If I am choosing a professional service provider and being asked to pay £100-350 for a basic Will, do you think it is really enough to sell that service with one phone call and one email?

I often find that it is worth looking outside of the legal profession to learn some sales skills (sorry, I know solicitors hate to use the ‘sales’ word, but that is what we are talking about here), so how about selling double glazing. A nice comparison I think you will agree, but please do not miss the point. I asked for some quotations from a local business I know quite well because the owner used to live opposite me. They came out and measured, provided an email quotation the next day, but then more importantly a written quotation with a nicely bound brochure including examples of their work, happy customer testimonials and all sorts of information confirming their expertise in fitting the best double glazing in and around Bristol. All of that for double glazing, and most solicitors only send one email to quote for their professional services. Is there anything you can learn from that?

3. Requesting Referrals

The next thing that you absolutely must do if you are looking to obtain reasonable rates for your Will writing services is to request referrals from your clients. If you receive referrals from already satisfied clients, price is definitely not an issue. If a client is recommended to you by a close friend or family member, they will not be carrying out the usual ‘ring around’ that usually happens. They will ONLY be calling you, so if you present well to them, and follow the steps in point 2 above, price will rarely stop the transaction from proceeding.

So if referrals are so good at generating instructions at a fair price, why do so few Will solicitors obtain them? Well, usually it is for two main reasons:

  • Failing to ask for them
  • Failing to have a system that ensures they regularly request them

If you want more Will instructions, you need to ask for referrals, and you need to have a system in place to make sure that all of your staff request referrals in the same way and at the same times. I hope you notice that I said times, not time. If you ask for a referral once, you have a chance. If you ask for a referral several times, you have more chances. Most people need to hear something three to seven times before it sticks. You need to come up with a method that ensures you request referrals regularly and relentlessly. It is one area I have covered several times for my Marketing4Solicitors members, including providing them with the exact question to ask and when to ensure that they obtain as many referrals as possible.

Summary

It is absolutely possible to charge fair and reasonable prices for your Will writing services, even when you are competing against Will Writers quoting a front leading price of £19-39 for a Will. The reason that they consistently sell Wills for more than the quoted price, and often in excess of £1,000, is because they have a system in place and are not afraid to sell. You do need to adapt some of their methods and have your own system in place and accept that you too have to do some selling.

It is your duty to ensure that people who need a Will choose a solicitor over a Will Writer, as you no doubt believe it is only then that they will receive the best service possible. If you accept this to be true, you must also accept that to fail to sell your services to clients in need of a Will is tantamount to negligence on your part, is it not?

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