October 23, 2012

Eliminate Barriers to Switching

Law Practice Magazine

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March 2008 Issue | Volume 34 Number 2| Page 13

Law Firm Strategy

Eliminate Barriers to Switching

NEWS from the Law Practice Management Section.

When you are trying to get prospects to change from their existing law firm to yours, you need to consider a concept called “barriers to switching.” Eliminating the barriers is generally key in getting people to move their legal work to your firm. So for each new prospect, ask yourself: What keeps this person or company from becoming our client tomorrow?

Quite simply, you need to identify some motivating rationale for why this particular prospect should even try your services. And no, I’m sorry, assertions that you can “do it better, faster and cheaper” are rarely perceived as believable. They are possibly even insulting of the prospect’s ability to choose a provider—so don’t go there!

You are refreshingly strategic if you’ve targeted a particular client niche that other competitive firms have not. If you have a service offering that is unique in some way (“We have a specialized team that serves the needs of women entrepreneurs in this region”), then you have a much better chance of getting your target prospects to consider giving you a try.

However, if you’re not differentiated, then it’s difficult to convince a prospect that you offer any real added value. Also, prospects will worry about how costly it will be for you to get up to speed on their matters. Devote some specific, nonbillable time up front to learn about their business or situation—and inform them while you’re courting them that you’re prepared to make that investment.

Think through—or ask—what would constitute value for your target clients. Then demonstrate that you can provide it by inviting them to an educational program, offering them preventive counsel, or helping them meet with influential contacts relevant to their situations.

To dominate in your chosen market, you have to identify the barriers to switching and work diligently to eliminate them.

About the Author

Patrick J. McKenna is a principal with Edge International, consults with law firms on competitive strategy, and can be reached at (780) 428-1052.