Monday, June 25, 2007

Top 5 Reasons Mediators Don't Get Pricing and Marketing

I love mavericks, and not just because I am one. Mavericks see the world in a different way and are brave enough to say to out loud.

So today I salute Chris Marston, a Boston lawyer/change agent who pens a blog called Inside the Firm of the Future. Chris is shaking up the stodgy world of lawyers with the 'crazy' notion of lawyers solving their clients problems in a responsive, practical, cost-efficient way. Gasp!

A recent post of his really caught my eye for its candor. I thought I'd try thesame here.

5 Reasons Why Mediators Don't Get it When It Comes to Pricing and Marketing

  1. Fail to Understand the Market is not Monolithic
    Somehow mediators fell into the trap of defining their practices with elephant-sized brushstrokes. I read directories and see mediators declaring I do family or employment mediation. Yes, and so what? The average consumer isn't looking for a general type of mediator. He or she is searching for the solution to a fairly specific problem like negotiating discipline styles between divorced parents or creating meaningful separation package for a high level executive. It's a Starbucks world folks. Mediators who recognize the value of dominating a narrow niche by solving a short list of specific concerns will be successful.

  2. Reject your 'Inner Businessperson'
    Whether you think your practice is a blessing (like I do) or a calling, it's also a business. It's essential to follow the basics of business operation. Have a business plan. Decide how much you're willing to invest. It's amazing how many mediators have been plugging away year after year to build a practice with no real idea of how much of their money (direct and indirect expenses) they have already committed. Most of all you have to be willing to market.

  3. Insist on a 'One Size Fits All' Approach
    Yes, each mediation is unique. But guess what? Not every person who needs the help of a mediator wants or needs mediation. Yet, that's the primary product most mediators offer to the market. Unbundle your practice into separate services, create knowledge products at a variety of price points and generally look for ways contribute other than with a conventional mediation. The public will thank you and so will your bank account.

  4. Confuse Work for Free with a Marketing Strategy
    What's the definition of insanity? According to Einstein, it's doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Mediators still maintain the fantasy that giving away their time for free or very low cost will lead to paying work. While it might work some of the time, is that the client you want, a bargain hunter? Mediators should use pro bono policies to control how much time and money they donate. Then free service becomes an informed, strategic decision designed to lead to more work rather than wishful thinking.

  5. Fear of Pricing for Value
    Parties will often say how much the mediation process meant to them. They thank us for giving them hope and peace of mind, which are both priceless. So, why don't mediator rates reflect that value? Because we're afraid. Afraid of what others might say or think (greedy, crass, uncaring)...afraid of the messages we send ourselves (I didn't do much except listen; I don't deserve that much). Claim your worth. No one else can do it for you.

    Bonus: Suffer from a Huge Inferiority Complex
    Who knows whether it's the lack of uniform credentialing or the fact that some of us are not lawyers that keeps mediators stuck. Some of us suffer from low self-esteem. Do whatever you need to do to bolster your confidence.

Sure, I know folks will disagree. I'm eager to read your comments and thoughts.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow

PS Tessa Stowe shares her secrets for getting business clients this Monday at 5 p.m.Register now so you don't miss out.


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