Don’t pull out fee agreements prematurely in initial consultations

Pulling out fee agreements prematurely Obtaining new clients is an important part of any law firm. New clients are the life blood of any law firm that ensures the law firm can continue to exist.

At the same time, you do not want to turn into a pushy sales person to get new clients. Nobody likes a pushy sales person.

Have you ever walked into a clothing store and had the pushy sales person approach you? Or have you ever walked onto a car lot and had the salesperson approach you then put all kinds of pressure on you when maybe you were just looking around?

The reality is pushy sales is not good in a law practice. In initial consultations, some lawyers are tempted in that vein to pull out the fee agreement before the potential client has said they want to hire the lawyer or the law firm.

The idea is that by moving things along like this, the lawyer or law firm will end up with more new clients. Truth be told, pulling out a fee agreement prematurely to most potential clients is a put-off. It comes off as pushy and presumptive. It causes many potential clients to run from the initial consultation as fast as they can.

Most potential clients are going to be offended that you have pulled out that fee agreement before you asked if they even wanted to hire you. Even if this were to work for you occasionally, you are likely to have many clients who end up with buyer’s remorse.

Instead of pulling out that fee agreement prematurely, ask lots of questions about their situation. Show them genuine empathy and caring by listening. Give them a basic roadmap of what you would do if they hired you. Explain how fees would work in a general sense. Of course, also answer their questions with IRAC answers.

But before you pull out that fee agreement prematurely, do all of that first and then ask them if they want to hire you. Then, and only if they indicate they do want to hire you  it is time to pull out the fee agreement to see if they would like to read and sign it to begin the representation.

You might even find that by doing such a great job in the initial consultation, many potential clients will simply tell you at some point during the initial consultation that they are ready to hire you all on their own. Of course, if that happens, it is appropriate to pull out the fee agreement at that time.

But lawyers who are pushy do not build trust with potential clients. It also wreaks of desperation and poor social etiquette. Be sure to not jump the gun with the fee agreement in an initial consultation.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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