Thursday, June 22, 2006

Making Money as a Mediator

I'm going to say something controversial. Ready?

Mediators must stop volunteering their services so often.

I'm convinced that we are dooming ourselves as a profession because we insist on giving away our services. Now, I'm not saying all volunteering is bad. Certainly there are many good causes that we should support for the common good. What I'm talking about is working without pay as a way of generating business. I'm frustrated by the faulty thinking that suggests that mediation clients will someday decide to pay for services they previously received for free.

Honestly, I don't get that logic. And, as my mom, Mary Louise, used to say: "Who buys the cow when they can get the milk for free?" Huhhhhh?

Now, I'm a big fan of sampling - offering a portion of your expertise for free in exchange for building a relationship and trust. (see my June 19 post) But that's vastly different, at least to me, than mediating for free. OK, I hear some of you saying it's the same thing.

I agree up to a point. My question to you is: How many dollars are you willing to give away of your services - 5 hours worth, 10 hours, before trying something else? Is that amount reasonable when you consider the potential lifetime value of the client and the reality that most mediations result in multiple sessions?

Mediation is a vital service that adds enormous value to the lives and businesses of people and deserves decent compensation.

Sorry, if I'm testy on this topic but this is really one of my biggest pet peeves. is my way of showing people that mediators, facilitators, Ombuds, all ADR practitioners can create a profitable practice, make a good living and serve others. It's not rocket science. It is work.

If you want to read what others say about making money, visit Steve Marsh's discussion.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


PS ADRPracticebuilder goes LIVE on June 30th. Anyone want a sneak peek? Yes? Drop me a note!


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