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The 4 underlying principles when discussing fees
I've mentioned the word a few times already - procrastination.
The first principle is not to avoid the issue. It's easily done and I've seen it with many advisers. They're worried about the outcome so put it off to the end of the meeting and that's wrong.
The surgeon who has bad news for the patient is not going to put off telling you. He won't enjoy the process, but he'll sit you down and explain clearly and slowly, outlying the various options available.
I'm not saying we should compare our service with operating on a human being but the way the surgeon handles this tricky issue is the key.
Just do it, don't linger as there's a price to pay in trust if you don't.
The second principle is clarity. The surgeon speaks clearly and succinctly so should we. Have a simple fee tariff, easy to explain and understand.
Don't confuse the issue with science, be clear and precise. Give headline information and let the client delve deeper if they wish.
Provide a context
The third principle is to provide a context with your fee. Help them to see how the market sets the fee and where your fee fits. It might be higher or lower, that's your choice, but explain clearly why this is so.
When I buy a car, I know what it should cost, Glass's Guide helps me and the internet is fabulous at making costs transparent. This is a commodity, you're not.
Finally, help the client refer to some documentation that outlines your fee clearly as possible. Don't surround this with excess detail. All clients like to reflect after the meeting and having something to refer to afterwards is essential.
With the principles over, how do we do it?
How to go about it?
You need a process to follow, a way of working that suits your environment and style then stick to this process.
Very early on in the meeting you need to introduce yourself, the way you work and most importantly your value proposition. Remember it's your value that justifies the fee.
Then talk about the fee, with confidence and self-assuredness. You're worth it, as the TV ad goes.
Many successful advisers link this into only having a certain
number of clients, so their time can be allocated accordingly thus giving value to the client.
Other advisers have allied this conversation to running their referral only business. Because my business grows by clients referring their friends and associates I ensure each client receives the maximum value possible - I need to earn your referrals first with my value and service.
It's all about words and confidence in what you do and the value you provide. Clients expect to be charged a fee for professional advice and want this to be made very clear upfront by a confident adviser who can articulate clearly the service they provide.
That's really all there is to it.
By Paul Archer
Image by Adam Borkowski
Paul is an international speaker, sales trainer, author and coach based in the UK. His expertise and experience is in selling and sales coaching, his books and articles focus on rapport selling which puts the customer at the heart of the sale. Visit his website http://www.archertraining.co.uk/Sales_tips.htm to sign up for his Weekly Sales and Coaching Tips or visit his blog at http://www.paularcher.com where you'll find his unique style of weekly blog posts for you to enjoy. firstname.lastname@example.org