Lead with Your Fees

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You’re considering a big ticket purchase, like a car, vacation or piece of jewelry. The salesperson goes on and on about how wonderful the product is, describing in inspiring detail how much enjoyment and value you’ll get out of it, and you find that you agree with everything they are saying. But at the same time you find yourself growing tense waiting to find out how much it’s going to cost. Finally, the moment of truth arrives and sticker shock quickly takes the wind out of your sails. You may still go on to complete the purchase, but the rational part of your brain has pushed your excitement and enthusiasm off to the side.

Is this how you detail your services to your own prospects?

Do you spend your new client consultations demonstrating a tremendous amount of expertise and empathy for their situation, only to conclude the conversation with a BUT moment (BUT it will cost you this much money) of your own?  If you wonder why meetings with enthusiastic prospects often fail to convert them to new clients, perhaps you should try revealing your pricing in a different way.

I tell all of my prospects about my fees before I ever hold a consultation with them. I put the BUT moment right up front to get it out of the way. Price is the number-one objection for most prospects, so I deal with it head on. Rather than demonstrating why I am the perfect planner for their needs only to deflate their enthusiasm by ending the conversation with my fees, I start the conversation with my pricing. This turns the equation completely around.

While many prospects will then begin the conversation a bit defensively (“That’s more than we were looking to spend”) they also know that there is no surprise coming. We can both focus through the entire conversation on the value that I will provide to them, without them worrying about what my service will cost. Their evaluation process has shifted from cost to value, and thus even those whose eyes grow wide upon initially hearing my fees often sign on as clients.

I find the best way to communicate my fees is via the welcome letter that I send to all prospects prior to their initial consultation. This way they’ve had time to digest the pricing and are ready to focus on the issues motivating them to seek out a financial planner when we finally meet. 

Occasionally I receive cancellations from prospects that absolutely can’t afford or fathom my pricing. It’s unfortunate, but certainly not any different than a response I’d receive by holding back pricing information until the end of the consultation. Many of my prospects are already experiencing anxiety about their finances, so letting them know what my services will cost at the start can help relieve a small piece of their uncertainty and actually helps me convert more prospects into paying clients.

Kristin C. Harad, CFP®
Founder and Principal
VitaVie Financial Planning
San Francisco, CA

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