An LNC asked me, “How do I handle attorneys who want to keep trying to get my already low price lower? Or do you just move on and don’t work with them?”
Here are the characteristics of desirable attorney clients:
- They respect and appreciate you.
- They are loyal and keep returning to you for help.
- They pay their bills on time and don’t quibble about the hours you spent on a case.
- They are able to take the long view and understand how they benefit from keeping you happy.
Here are characteristics of undesirable clients:
- They treat your rates as if they are suggestions, not firm statements. They ask, “Can you do better?” (“Sure, I can, I can charge you even more” you are tempted to answer.)
- They treat you like a commodity and hop from LNC to LNC, searching for the person who will put up with their unreasonable demands.
- They ask you to drop what you are doing to meet their immediate need, and then take months to pay the invoice.
- They want a detailed breakdown of your invoice and then tell you that you should have spent less time on the case.
- They tell you that since they did not settle the case for as much as they hoped they would, that your final bill will not be paid.
Undesirable clients remind me of hot, hot chili peppers – colorful, but not anything I want to eat. Pick desirable attorney clients to work with.
The Invisible LNC Hook
Before you can sell an attorney on your value, you have to believe in it yourself and the worth of what you have to offer. There is a hook inside each nurse that is based on years of programming. We want to be helpful; we want to be needed; we want to serve. We like that aspect of nursing. We love being thanked.
The hook makes you vulnerable to the undesirable attorney who tantalizes you with work but is out to get your services for as low as he or she can.
Legal nurse consulting is a business. You have hours to sell. If you sell them for half of what you could charge, you cannot replace those hours with higher paying work.
When you go through the drive in fast food place, you hand your money to the person in the window before you get your food. You don’t say, “I feel like paying $5.00 for my chicken pecan salad, instead of $8.00. How about we make a deal?”
Many years ago a physical therapist I met in New York told me how he reacts when attorneys try to reduce his fee. He looks them in the eye and says, “My fees are my fees are my fees.” To have one set of fees for one client and a different set for another would be an administrative and bookkeeping nightmare. Fee integrity is another term for the need to have uniform fees.
Here is a brief four letter word you can use when you spot an undesirable attorney client: “Next.” Move on to the next client, keep on marketing, and know that you must establish your worth in your own mind and in your clients’ minds. Once you are solid on that score, you will be able to firmly rebut attempts to lower your fees.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC provides coaching services for LNCs who want to build a solid LNC business. Request a free consultation by clicking on the image of the nurse holding a piggy bank.