Nothing new here: things are slowing down (except bankruptcy and litigation, naturally.) If you’re not asking for discounts, you’re not doing your job.
We went to our top 5 firms (by billings last year), and said, “Hi. We need at least a 15% discount.” No one balked. They had to be expecting it and were only too glad to oblige. Especially when we opened with, “We’ve only got a short time — we’ve got meetings with [insert names of other major firms who work with us].” By the way, we are not a Fortune-anything sized company. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
We also softened them up for more concessions down the road. “Our new ERP system is great at figuring out exactly what we spend on a per-transaction basis, and our executives are insisting on tighter budgets all around.”
Even the firms with commodity practices like labor and employment are willing to give across the board discounts. The competition is heating up, the economy is slowing, and keeping clients is important. If you’re in private practice, what are you doing to keep my business?
Are you at least staying in touch?
I’m a business development consultant who works with law firms. I’d take the advice in this excellent post a step further — the firms who really want your business should be coming to you and offering discounts before you ask them. More on this on my blog: http://peterdarling.typepad.com/business_development/2008/11/do-the-unthinkable-cut-your-rates.html
Agreed. We reward proactive law firms. We take an interest in those who take an interest in us.