Got Fee Pressure? Don't let your clients get you down, in price.

Business owners have been complaining about “Client Fee Pressure” for 40 years (that’s how long I’ve been helping select CPAs, lawyers and business owners make more with less work and effort) and I have no doubt fee pressure was around a lot longer. Allow me to share what I have learned in the last 40 about Fee Pressure.

First, I want you to think about why you are currently charging the fees you're charging. Take a minute to think... Do this... really, it's important.

Ready? OK... Now most likely, all of the reasons you came up with are total B.S. They are lies you either told yourself or lies you believed from someone else. "That's what everyone charges... my clients won't pay more... All prospects care about are fees... I don't think I'm worth more... With a tight economy, we have to quote low... No one's going to pay that much for X..." 


If you want to believe them, fine... But if you're ready to give all that up for the truth, then keep reading.

Fact: The correct description is”Fee Pressure”. The problem is NOT client centric.

The problem is that prospects and clients are generally incapable of discerning the value they get from services?!  That’s right – VALUE!

For the most part, sell services. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder –

What is VALUE to every single business owner, prospect or client? 

Their Quality of Life and the Income to Support it! Are you Conversant in the VALUE a relationship with your firm will deliver? Bet you’re not.

Following are the secrets to eliminate fee pressure.

STEP 1: PUT ON YOUR OWN COSTUME - You know that feeling when you show up to a party and you're wearing the exact same clothes as someone else? Kind of makes you feel dumb. Well, that's how most service providers go out into the world. All of the designers wear the same costume. All the writers wear the same costume, all the CPA firms wear the same costume. All the lawyers pat themselves on the back because they are the firm that "return phone calls". YOU NEED YOUR OWN COSTUME. Its called Differentiation! How is what you do and the way you do it, unique in a way that's valuable to your client? Devise this answer and become conversant in it. 

STEP 2: BREAK FREE BY NO LONGER CHARGING FOR WHAT YOU DO, START CHARGING FOR WHAT THEY GET - This is key. If you think about money the same way every other firm/company does, you will get the same thing every other firm/business gets. Most service providers charge for the service they provide. They pay little to no attention to the value of what their client gets because of the service they provide. Ask yourself, "Just how valuable is the product of my work to my client's business and life?" Clients will pay for value (a result), but there's a limit to what they'll pay for a "service." Don't charge for the service, charge for the result. 

STEP 3: EMBRACE REJECTION - Your goal is not to sell the client. Your goal is to find the client who already wants what you're selling. Few service providers have a "rate" problem. Instead, that's only a symptom of too few leads coming in the door. Getting a NO doesn't mean you lower your rates. Getting a NO means you find better prospects. 

STEP 4: GO IN WITHOUT NEED (aka ALWAYS BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY) - The quickest way to double your fees is to stop "needing" the business to close. This is a feeling you practice and has little to do with your circumstances. You can have this feeling even if your electric is about to get shut off. Clients can "smell" a needy service provider. It's not attractive. Practice generating this feeling on demand in your solar plexus region. This is where fear lives. This is where neediness lives. You are in control of this feeling. Practice it. 

STEP 4.5: JUST DO IT - Raise your rates. This isn't rocket science, it's about believing in yourself enough to ask the world for what you want. PERIOD. 

Want to chat more? Want to share an idea? Just comment, share or reach to me.

Neil Guilmette