The discussion of fees with clients seems to be one of the most hit and miss aspects of the Services Professions, and yet it is also undoubtedly the most important part of creating a mutually beneficial and sustainable relationship.
I spend a lot of my time helping firms get their models, their messages, their service and their fees right. As much as I like creating leverage for business growth, no firm or professional should be seeking to grow if they don’t have their foundations in order.
I have said this before – the value that your clients perceive in your relationship is largely determined by the value you perceive they gain from that relationship.
If you are hesitant, they will be hesitant.
If you are unsure of the value, they will be unsure of the value.
If you make the value about transactional issues, then so will they.
If you make the value based on X work at Y cost, then that is what they will measure you on.
If you treat the issue of fees as a question to be addressed, then so will they.
The truth is that it is always your bias and preconceived ideas that lead to imbalances in your client relationships. Even perhaps more difficult to hear is that we all have blind spots, and as the name implies, we are blind to the reality of the issues we have created for ourselves.
So, if you would like my number 1 tip for better negotiation of your client fees it is this… Remember it is almost impossible to be your own coach. I may be great at pointing out the blind spots of my clients, but I rely on my coaches and mentors to help me look out for my bias when it creeps in. Nowhere is this harder to do than in how you look your clients in the eye and have an open and honest conversation about value.
Shine a light on your business; how you charge and express your value is the greatest lever you have. Not only will it determine your profitability, it will also determine your rate of referrals and the satisfaction of your clients. It might even lead to that extra family holiday every year 😉
P.S. Drop me a line or let me know your thoughts in the comments…