In a recent post over at My Shingle (one of my favorite blogs) Carolyn Elefant  writes about a franchise called Dinner My Way where you pay to cook your own meals to take home and freeze for meals throughout the next few weeks.  As she explains, “Dinner My Way pre-cuts all of the ingredients, provides recipes and utensils, but you still do the work.”   Carolyn says, “The apparent appeal of this set up is that you retain control over the food, you prepare all your meals at once.”

Carolyn’s take on Dinner My Way is that it’s insane for someone to actually pay to do their own work.  I disagree one two points:

  1. The appeal is NOT that you get control over your food.  What you pay for is the experience of cooking without the hassles.  And the experience of being around other like-minded people in this busy, busy world.
  2. It’s not insane to pay to do work.  You and your clients pay to do work all the time.  Think about the last time you paid a gym membership, or paid to participate in any kind of sport.

As Carolyn correctly recognizes, it’s all in the packaging. A great book that anyone who is serious about growing a law firm should consider to be mandatory reading is “The Experience Economy”.  Basically, the gist is that over the past 30 years our present Service Economy displaced the previous economy based on goods.

In other words, it became less important to have a better mousetrap, than to be able to just catch the mice for your customers, who began to think of themselves as clients.

And what we’re beginning to see are signs of our Service Economy being replaced by one where a person’s Experience with a product or service is of tantamount importance.  In other words, it’s no longer good enough to catch the mouse faster & cheaper & more reliably.  Now you have to give the customer/client an interesting Experience, not just the expected result.

We’re already seeing this happen throughout the legal industry where so many legal services are percieved to be commodities.  The authors of The Experience Economy write,  “Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To
avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience.”

I know it’s scary to think that when you went to law school, all you were told you had to do was learn how to be a great lawyer and everything else would take care of itself.  Then, reality hit you in the face and you begrudgingly accepted that not only did you have to be a great lawyer, but you had to give great service – fast, valuable and predictable service – which law school never taught you anything about.

And now here I am telling you even THAT is not enough!  Not if you want to grow your practice and prevent clients from being poached by all your competitors.

So, the question you are faced with, if you want to make more money and have a better life, is how can you package your services to deliver an EXPERIENCE clients will pay for?