We're approaching the time of year when lawyers scramble to collect outstanding accounts receivable. You already know that the more the A/R has aged, the harder it is to collect.
While on the macro level lawyers are subject to supply/demand forces, there are ways to surmount such limitations.
The easiest way to improve your DSO (Days Sales Outstanding, a measure of A/R aging) is to have higher-quality receivables in the first place. That means clients who are aware of and appreciate the value of what they purchased. That's a value that must be established on the front end, during the sale.
Speaking categorically, few lawyers know how to elicit the client's perception of the imputed economic value of the legal service in question on the front end. As a result, the client has a concrete definition of cost, but only the fuzziest expression of value. That's a recipe for write-downs and collection problems. After the bill arrives, it's impossible to communicate value because any declaration is inherently self-serving and defensive. It's got to be done up front, and there's a teachable discipline for how to do it.
I agree that consumers and small business operators perceive lawyers as expensive, primarily because most have little or no experience purchasing legal advice. If you offer me a high-protein powder that replaces lots of dangerous animal proteins, for $100, I'll think it's expensive because I have nothing to compare it with, and no way to correlate its impact with economic value. The more experience I have buying supplements, and the more I learn about the negative effects of the modern animal-based food supply, the more context I have for the $100 you propose to charge.
That ignorance is why lawyers absolutely have to learn how to draw out the client's perceptions of the many different forms of value associated with the outcome your expertise likely produces. The only reliable way to do that is to explore the Cost of Doing Nothing, i.e., the imputed economic impact of not solving the problem. (After all, a frequent response to problems is to ignore them, do nothing.)
For less than you probably spend at Starbucks, you can learn the Cost of Doing Nothing process at RainmakerVT via interactive simulation. Manage an avatar through a series of "say/do" decisions. Get video coaching for each decision response, explaining why it is or isn't optimal. Learn by doing, and have a safe place to practice, make mistakes, and master the skill.
You know you have to improve your business development skills to get the business you need. But most of the training you see offered feels more like a degree program with a someday/maybe payoff rather than the specific help you need right now.
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