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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #74: November, 2009

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC

How to raise your fees more than you thought possible:

  1. Offer options with escalating value. Make sure the first one meets all the buyer's objectives, but then create more with increasing value and more dramatic ROI, even at higher fee levels.
  2. Unbundle your products and services. Don't lump everything into a "take it or leave it" offering, with so much thrown in because you feel that's the only way to justify your fee.
  3. Demonstrate to the client why a non-time-oriented fee is to the client's advantage, e.g., no meter running, capped costs, no need to make an investment decision with every phone call or meeting, etc.
  4. Remember that fees are about priorities, not resources. Suggest the ROI is so dramatic that it justified investment funds being taken from other issues. All prospects have money, the question is solely whether they believe you're important enough to receive any of it.
  5. Include the buyer's personal as well as professional objectives, and include qualitative goals (e.g., better repute, seen as "leading edge") as well as quantitative (better margins, larger market share).
  6. Never submit a proposal to someone with no budgetary approval or with very low budgetary approval. Work with them solely to find the path to the true buyer.
  7. Remember to annualize your improvements, corrections, and savings. Seldom does the work you do confine itself to the current year. Usually, it represents progress in ensuring years, and often exponential progress with growth building upon growth.
  8. Don't be bashful about asking about budget (especially in small companies). If you find it to be adequate, include one option that is above budget, because if you don't ask no one will ever respond. If a client can find $145,000, then the client can usually find $185,000.
  9. If you are willing to accept performance or contingency fees-which I advise against-then be sure to get a healthy portion of cash up front, which you can rebate against your eventual performance share. Most people agreeing to performance fees never see a cent.
  10. Practice saying, "The fee is $215,000." If you giggle when you cite fees, you're not like to get them!
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