Consider a principle called commitment, a way of using leverage. This is a persuasion principle you can use to close a sales deal. Dr. Robert Cialdini highlighted persuasion principles in the book, Influence: Science and Practice. I recommend this book to legal nurse consultants who want to grow their businesses.
Commitment is a powerful principle that a lot of people underestimate. I don’t see legal nurse consultants using it enough. It’s very powerful for persuading an attorney to purchase your services.
And to give you an idea of how powerful it is and why you want to learn this, check out the Sherman experiment. There is a sociologist named Dr. Jim Sherman who is a Professor Emeritus with Indiana University in Bloomington. He devised an interesting experiment where he called randomly on local residents. And this is what he did.
He asked these residents to predict what their answer would be if someone asked them to donate three hours of their time to the American Cancer Society. And this is not something that a lot of people would readily agree to.
But when they felt like there was no obligation for them to do this – they just had to predict their answer – very innocently they made a commitment. And a certain amount of people who made that commitment, who said, “Yes, I think I would donate three hours of my time,” said it whimsically or said it because they didn’t think they’d have to follow through on it because it was just a question.
What happened is three days later Dr. Sherman had someone from the American Cancer Society ask them to donate their time, and here’s what he found out. Those people who said yes, that they would donate three hours of their time if somebody asked them, were 700 percent more likely to donate three hours of their time. This occurred regardless of whether they meant it or not. And this is because it’s a commitment principle.
This is very powerful. If you can get people to even harmlessly commit to taking a certain position, and that position is beneficial for you selling something to them in a few days, this is really what you want to use because you’re going to knock this out of the park. You’re going to get some great leverage.
Application to Legal Nurse Consulting
How do you apply the commitment principle to legal nurse consulting? Suppose an attorney calls you about a case and asks, “How long will this take you to do?” You have not seen the records; you don’t know how to estimate the amount of time. I ordinarily recommend you get the records, the signed fee agreement and a retainer. But suppose the attorney balks at that.
There is an alternative. Ask the attorney to send you the records. You’ll glance through them, make a determination of your estimate, and then let the attorney know.
The attorney has made a mental commitment to use your services by sending you the records. You are one step closer to getting the opportunity to assist with the case. Once you have your estimate, you ask for a retainer and signed fee agreement. Provided you have assured the attorney of your ability to help, the attorney is one step closer to retaining you.