Recently I read a post by a legal blogger that warned readers to “never compete on price,” which struck me as quaintly out of touch
with the market for professional services, and egregiously self-serving. You see, this blogger’s business is building blogs — something you can easily do yourself with professional-looking results in an afternoon — for free — using Google’s Blogger service or WordPress .
The post was prompted by a sales discussion wherein a prospective customer questioned why this blog development firm’s initial fee was double that of a competitor’s. In a clunky bit of sophistry, the author asserts that charging lawyers well above market for a commoditized service like blog development and hosting actually helps them because “Focusing on price, as opposed to quality and service, leaves the American lawyer ill-served. It’s not what companies serving lawyers should be all about.”
It’s not what they should be “all about,” but price definitely matters — a lot. Law firms are businesses, and what successful business does not factor price into the equation on EVERY vendor decision? Has anyone successfully gone into a competitive pitch saying, “We’re not going to talk about price because it’s beneath us, and it should be beneath you.”
Price is concrete; “quality” and “service” are the subjective filters through which we view price and form our perception of value. You can’t compete on quality and service without putting a price tag on it.
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