5 Strategies to Keep Your Fee Conversation Stress-Free

Leave a comment

How confident do you feel about your fees? Do you dread the “fee discussion” when you meet someone new? Deciding what to charge or how to increase your fees can be stressful, and the pressure to discount fees can be overwhelming.

You may devalue yourself to sign the client more often than you’d like or do a ton of work free in anticipation of a portfolio to manage that never comes to fruition. Offering discounts can cause mental stress, internal arguments and create resentment, all of which hinders your development of a fulfilling practice.

When it comes to setting your fees, there is no pricing panacea. You have to look at your audience, your service, your value, and what kind of work you want to do to set your fees. If you find there is a market segment you keep attracting where you have to discount or justify the pricing constantly, then take a closer look at why. Is your fee reasonable for the value a client receives? Are you failing to get in front of the right people? It may be time to make some adjustments.

Here are five strategies to keep your pricing consistent and stress-free:

1. Offer Package Deals

Bundle up your services into packages. You may find it mutually beneficial to offer an inexpensive package with your baseline services in addition to a high-end, all-inclusive alternative. Prospects can self-select what fits for them. They choose, not you. (Note: your higher-priced package should come across as a better value).

2. Provide a DIY Option

Do-It-Yourself is a fantastic way to leverage your time and knowledge to serve the segment of your niche that is unwilling to pay your one-on-one fee. Free content or an inexpensive information product allows people to benefit from your expertise but does not tie up your time. You may be surprised how many people try out your content first and then upgrade to personalized service. Deliver this through a customized landing page from www.leadpages.net or ask your webmaster to set up the sign-up.

3. Utilize Promotional Periods

Offer a promotional price for a limited time. For example, email your list in March and offer an incentive (credit toward a plan, a free analysis, or bundled in tax return, for example) if they commit by April 15.

4. Partner Up

Do not try to force fit every prospect’s needs into your service. Yes, you could figure out a way to help almost anyone, but do you want to? Focus on your target. Find other planners in your area who offer models different than your own. These partnerships allow you to provide a solution to a particular group of individuals who don’t fit for you, they help other advisers find qualified leads, and you can keep your eye on the ball.

5. Know Your Model Framework

A trickier situation for pricing occurs when you are confident that an individual prospect could bring a large portfolio for you to manage (where you would receive your fee). You want to provide a complimentary plan or reduced planning fee upfront to show your approach and woo the client. How can you keep from losing your shirt by offering too many free sessions? Create a logical system of what criteria you’re looking for in a client. Know in advance what profile fits the mold and how you will price. Measure against your framework as you talk to either eliminate the upfront fee entirely or determine to what degree you are willing to offer a discount. This puts you in a position of empowerment and not of reacting to whatever is happening at the meeting.

Remember, you offer immense value to the clients you serve. Be sure to give yourself a break and strategically decide pricing in advance of consultations. This way you can relax, be yourself and probably welcome many more clients because you focused on them and not your imminent fee negotiation.

Kristin Harad 2014Kristin Harad, CFP®
Marketing trainer for advisers
San Francisco

Leave a Reply