How many law firms offer the ability to road test the legal service that their client is about to purchase? At its most basic this is about getting a taste of the experience, which is fundamentally what using a service is all about. You remember something for its WOW factor or very often its lack of it.
Normally what you are offered is a free half-hour or some such enticement and if you think there is a case or matter worth proceeding with then you accept the client. Yes you might provide advice that resolves the case but that is surely the rare occasion.
Rarely in my experience does the client, after the initial meeting, turn round and say I am just going to shop around. I accept that there may be some clients who don’t like the advice who don’t return but the reality is that you are baiting the line hoping to land the “Big One”. In a way it is a pre-qualification service but of course no firm is going to call it that!
If firms want to move the current debate on about how they will compete with more consumer focused brands then it is not a question of seeking out the novel or wacky for the sake of it (they can’t keep saying we are the best) but rather looking for methodologies that work in other business sectors that might not be available or as attractive to larger concerns. These will be focused on personal attention – think about the very best shop that you go into where they know your name and look after your every need with a big smile and enthusiastic manner.
The Try before you Buy approach will have the compliance ‘folk’ (and possibly the senior partner) going off into a tail-spin on the basis that a firm could be sued even though the client never paid a brass farthing for the advice, but that really is being very negative and overly cautious.
No instead look to see how the client might try out your service or see examples of your work or get an idea of how you live up to your promises. In that way they get to understand just what it feels like to be an XYZ firm client. Show them how much they mean to you.
This approach or something allied to it might just help in assuaging a client’s concern that they will have to pay for every bit of advice even though they can’t even see the meter running.