Consumers are constantly shopping for value. The value proposition is everything to the consumer and unfortunately for the ADR industry it is normally measured in dollars and cents. If you cannot convince the consumer that it is cheaper and more efficient to use your services as opposed to another resource, such as the traditional legal industry, you will find yourself without a client. Furthermore, the mediation community is not only competing with the traditional legal industry, it is also competing with the self-help industry as well. I once read a passage in the best seller “Nuts” The Southwest Airlines Story that illustrates this point. Herb Kehller, South West Airlines CEO stated, “As an airline, we are not just competing with other airlines for business. We are also competing with consumers making the choice to drive to their destination.”
As a mediator, you must convince the consumer that your services make more sense than the do-it-yourself approach. Mediators are middlemen and women. That’s what we do. However, the middle person can easily be cut out of the equation without tangible value.
From my experience, the key to creating inherent value for the consumer is to:
We do very little in our profession to teach practitioners how to create value for consumers. Let’s face it. Consumers check every avenue for the most affordable and feasible means to resolve their legal woes. That being said, mediators must be competitive and constantly improving their value position to the consumer.
An example of a value proposition is to: inform the consumer of how mediation works, why mediation would work better than litigation or self-help, point out how much money the consumer will save, and show them how many consumers you have helped work through the same process. It is also helpful to give the consumer some success stories from your other clients to drive the point home. If that doesn’t work throw in some ginsu-knives and a money-back guarantee.
As a mediator, you are not only serving as a skilled practitioner offering a professional service, you are also serving as a mediation ambassador to an entire community. Every consumer who is successfully served becomes an evangelist for mediation. Hopefully, your good works will spread like wildfire throughout your community and your clients will become a viable source of referrals for yourself and for others.
As the president of www.nationalmediation.com , a mediation provider that serves over 15 million US households, I am convinced that consumers will utilize mediation if it is made available to them and if the value is justified. I am constantly looking for ways to increase value for the consumers in the many programs that our firm offers. I have learned several lessons the hard way. However, there is one resounding truth that I continue to firmly believe. Mediation is the most flexible and responsive legal solution available to consumers today. No matter how you package it, mediation is a valuable process that all consumers should consider as a first step in resolving their legal issues.
I salute all of you, as mediators, who have chosen this noble profession. Always remember that you are making a difference in promoting peacemaking in our society, no matter how successful you become. Every effort is a ripple effect towards a common goal peace. I wish you much success on your journey towards that goal.
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