Lawyers Who Are Afraid to Ask for Money get into Trouble
Many lawyers are reluctant to ask their clients for money and talk about their fees.
I’m working with a new client who has a substantial outstanding receivable problem because he doesn’t like to ask his clients for money. His goal for this year is to get his current receivables substantially reduced and not increase the total.
He’s reluctant to talk about his fees and how much money his representation may cost his clients. He’s afraid they might not hire him when they find out how much it’s likely to cost.
The thing is, in order to get paid and improve your cash flow you need to be willing and able to talk about your fees with your client especially if it means they don’t hire you. Better you don’t get paid before you do any work than after you do the work.
In order to achieve his goal my client has agree to face his fears and work on getting comfortable asking his clients for money before work starts and while he is working for them. He appreciates he won’t get comfortable asking for money overnight and is giving himself time to keep improving and having the awkward conversations. We brainstormed different scripts for him to use that are making these conversations easier than he thought.
Six reasons why you should talk about fees with your clients
Here are six good reasons why it’s important for you to overcome any difficulties or fears you have in asking your clients for money:
- You’ll get paid.
- You’ll keep control of your receivables.
- You’ll educate your clients as to the true cost of their legal matter before their in too deep. This will help the client make better decisions concerning the matter.
- You’ll learn a lot about your client. If your clients is reluctant to pay up front, how likely do you think he or she will be to pay you once the work is done?
- Your clients will trust you. When you’re upfront and honest about what you’re going to cost and your invoices mirror that you instill trust.
- You model how you handle negotiations by how you handle these conversations with your client. Being comfortable talking about this subject is proof of your abilities and strength of character.
Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers is a great classic that can help you work through your fears around asking for money. The title really says it all, just do it anyway despite your fear.