Sales gurus advise not talking about price until your prospect makes an emotional decision to buy from you. If that’s wise counsel (and it is), why do so many firms talk about pricing in the first few minutes of conversation?

RJ, the Managing Partner of a boutique law firm, told me the three reasons clients select his firm. By that afternoon, I couldn’t remember the first two, but I still remember number 3: “We charge less than the big firms.” Don’t let the one thing people take away be that you’re “flexible” on price and willing to discount.

According to a CEO survey by Atenga, leaders of highly profitable companies put three times more weight on the strategic value of pricing than their counterparts at unprofitable companies. Maybe this explains why the most profitable companies continue to grow while everyone else struggles year after year.

A Disservice to Yourself and Your Clients

While no one wants to pay too much, the driving concern of prospects is improving their business. Price is almost never the deciding factor in selecting a law or other professional services firm. Study after study after study backs this up. You do a disservice to yourself–and your client–when you let price hijack the conversation.

For other examples of damaging herd behavior masquerading as a marketing best practice, read about these common marketing myths.

Marketing Strategy Keeps You on Track

More than price, your prospect wants to talk about improving their business. Avoiding the pricing trap is key to creating an investment-based discussion rather than a price-based one. Having sharp sales skills never hurts, but are far less critical to success in investment-based discussions.

Your marketing strategy sets the agenda for the conversation you want to have with your best prospects. An attorney can view a sales contract as legal boilerplate. Alternatively, they can be part of the client’s growth strategy, establishing terms which make it easy for customers to do business while ensuring the client gets paid. See yourself in these terms and prospects won’t say, “But the other firm is $50 per hour cheaper.” In fact, you’d be surprised how often they won’t even talk seriously to other firms.

You do a disservice to yourself—and your client—when you let price hijack the conversation. Click To Tweet

Setting an Agenda for Your Growth. . . and Your Clients’

Marketing strategy is the foundation for productive, profitable business development. Getting there requires you to understand how clients see your impact on their business, and why your best clients select your firm. You can’t afford to guess. It’s too important to your firm’s growth.

By far the best way I’ve found to find your broader impact is talking with your best clients. Well-established professionals with long-term client relationships are amazed at the valuable insights I’m able to draw out using targeted, in-depth interviews of their best clients.

Letting the pricing genie drive your conversation with prospects hurts the clients you are trying to help as much as it hurts you. When you’re the best choice and the prospect chooses another firm, your business suffers, and so does theirs.