More and more clients believe legal services in general, and estate planning services in particular, are just commodities.
They’re being told that it doesn’t matter where they get their bundle of paper. That whether the documents are from the Smith Firm or the Jones Firm or LegalZoom, the outcome will be the same.
And you really can’t blame them. They have no way of judging who’s good and who’s not so good any more than you or I can judge whether our heart surgeon is any better than his colleague in the next suite over.
But here’s what you and I do know. We know that you’re different from the Smith Firm and the Jones Firm. And we know that you’re vastly different from LegalZoom. If you want to avoid the commodity trap, you need to differentiate yourself and your services.
Develop a process unique to your firm that takes care of clients from the moment they first retain you through the end of your relationship; ideally, the relationship will last a lifetime.
Communicate this multiple-step process in a client-friendly way. For example:
The Six Step Client Legacy Wealth Planning System
- Family Legacy Consultation and Roadmap
- Family Legacy Plan Design
- Family Legacy Plan Development
- Family Legacy Plan Execution and Delivery
- Family Legacy Plan Asset Transfer and Funding
- Family Legacy Lifetime Communication and Updates
This communicates clearly to the client: Wow! That’s a lot of work, and it means that you’re there with them from beginning to end. A prospective client has no way of comparing a generic, bare bones living trust to this six-step process you have to offer them – and quite honestly, that’s because there is no comparison.
This process also launches your relationship with a new client, which puts your firm head and shoulders above those competing on the basis of commodities. There’s no relationship you can establish with a transaction where you hand someone a paper with some ink on it and show them where to sign. Having a process is the way out of the commodity trap – for you and your clients.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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