Sunday 15 June 2014

Enabling the Benefit of Doubt

Several years ago, I was invited to meet with a well-known entrepreneur who had launched a conveyancing venture. The business was having trouble converting online leads into instructions and he wanted frank and open feedback on how to improve the process.

After about an hour's conversation, we shook hands, with both of us "looking forward" to the next chat. It didn't happened and we never did business.

During the chat, he had a particularly adverse reaction when I brought up the value of seeing clients face-to-face and the virtues of offering a highly personalised service.  I asserted that one side-benefit was ‘creating a better tolerance level from the client’ as the meeting takes a relationship onto a stronger foundation.

"Why should you need tolerance?" he countered, implying that my statement smacked of some sort of resignation that conveyancing was an uphill battle of managing client expectations. In the moment, I chalked up an adverse reaction due to his being from outside the industry.

I then replayed the discussion in my head after the meeting, wishing that I could have better justified my statement or found a more-articulate way of making the point. The fact is, conveyancing is an uphill battle, and like it or not, it can often be confrontational as suspicions kick in between the seller and the buyer and the estate agent.

If, as a conveyancer, you have a transaction that is seamless, smooth and according to timeframes, that is more likely to be luck than judgment, more the exception than the rule. There are far too many variables outside the control of the lawyer to give assurances as to how seamless the process can be.

A significant part of making conveyancing more effective is creating the environment where you will be given the benefit of the doubt, building the trust of your client or, dare I repeat the word, enable ‘tolerance’. Often, creating this environment is as important as the work itself.

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