How many similar headlines have we seen in the Gazette in the last few years. The lead article on 11th March 2010 was the middle headline. It discussed the threats from the Legal Services Act and how Tesco has already launched a joint venture Estate Agency with iSold.com. Correspondence in the Letters section suggests 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 (such as the one I use for my email tips – AWEBER).
So if you want to charge a reasonable fee for your conveyancing services, and want to still be trading when Tesco/Halifax/Co-Op Law is fully up and running, don’t try and compete on cost. Compete on fantastic service and a great client experience from beginning to end of matter and way, way beyond. Then you will still be here in the years to come. For those that try and compete on price with the big boys I am sad to say you cannot and will not win.
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