Real estate law is an intensely competitive market. There is a constant stream of new practitioners and licensed real estate lawyers offering services at lowest prices ever.
The dilemma is how to compete in such a savage market.
These are 5 options:
• You can add value
• You can rely on your personality and reputation
• You can reduce costs
• You can do the work as efficiently as possible
• You can provide a better service
Adding value is difficult. Over the years, innovators have tried to differentiate themselves by helping arrange removal services, sorting out utility supply changes, arranging cleaning services and the like. Some try to work very closely with Estate Agents to ensure a steady flow of work. But after years of observing this market and discussing the challenges with real estate lawyers, it is quite clear to me that the best way to compete and succeed financially is to provide clients with the best possible service and to do the work as efficiently as possible. The cost of people (yes, that includes you, if you are a sole practitioner) is far more valuable than any other overhead that a business has.
There is no point in penny-pinching around the edges if you don’t do something to help your most valuable and expensive resources. Making people more efficient and productive is key.
The way to do this is by using great software that allows you to do more work with the same number of people. There is no other way. If you operate your firm in an organized and efficient manner, you will find that your client service improves and with it your reputation.
A firm with great service and a great reputation can charge a premium over the going rate because a transaction is as important as buying or selling a house. Most people prefer to work with someone they trust, rather than opting for the cheapest option.
Commercial reality dictates that there is almost always someone cheaper. I would suggest that if you consider your competitors over the years that have offered a really cheap product, you will find that not many of them have survived. In fact, you have to have extraordinarily good systems and efficiencies to survive if you select the cheapest as your competitive advantage.
Why not aim to make your people as productive as possible, provide great service and then decide how much to charge?
The most common objection to buying great software is that you can get mediocre software for free. And yet it is not free. You pay heavily in inefficiencies, delays and poor technology. Developing software is a demanding and costly exercise. It is not possible to create and maintain great software without a reliable revenue stream.
The idea that low margin searching fees can somehow subsidize the costs of software development needs to be debunked – it is not possible in the long term.
All software is not the same. You need to check under the hood and assess the software rather than depending on what the brochure says.
If you’re interested in learning more about LEAP and how it can help your real estate law firm, take a look at all the features of the leading law practice management software.