Do Not Fluff The Fee Discussion - FP Advance

Do Not Fluff The Fee Discussion

BY brett

Summertime Selling Skills

Here we are at week 5 of my Summertime Selling Skills series, looking at the top 10 mistakes advisers make at the first meeting.

So far we’ve dumped the talk and the fact finder, we’ve reined in our vampiric tendencies and practised our carrot-dangling. Now we’re going to talk fees!

First Meeting Mistake 5:

Fluffing The Fee Discussion

If you have done the questioning, listening and dangling well, it is a simple next step to say…”and to do all of this will cost £xxx for the initial planning work.” It is a logical next step when you’ve done a great first meeting. It won’t come as a shock to the client. It will be expected.

I recommend telling the client what the fee is. Just say it, then and there, at the end of the first meeting. I know some advisers prefer to write to the client after the meeting, and if that is your very strong preference then go for it, but it creates an extra job and adds time to the process for little or no extra value in my view.

I realise on more complex or unusual jobs you might need time to think about your pricing, and in that situation a post meeting letter or email makes sense. For regular jobs though, simply tell the client the initial fee, the implementation fee (if they choose to take that step with you), and the ongoing fee (should they want a longer term relationship). However, ensure that the client understands they are only being asked to engage you for the initial planning work (and fee) for now.

Some advisers have a ready-made fee template they fill in on the spot and hand to the client at the end of the first meeting which confirms in writing their costs. This is a great idea.

If you still believe that writing to the client post-meeting is the right way for you to communicate your fee structure then so be it, but do check in with yourself. Perhaps you have defaulted to this option because you are too scared to tell the client face to face what you charge at the end of the first meeting? It’s possible, and if this is something you do, you are certainly not alone.

The first time you say the fee out loud to a client it can be a little nerve wracking, but after you’ve done it a few times it becomes much easier. 

If you are altering your charging structure, practice pitching your fees to your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, work colleague, dog, cat, or a friend. Make sure that you can explain it clearly and simply (if the dog can understand it you are on the right track). A common issue when explaining fees is to over complicate by trying to cover all the variations that may arise. Keep it simple.

For example:
“We charge in three places for each phase of the work. There is a planning fee of £xxx for doing the initial work we’ve discussed today. If you elect to engage us for the implementation phase there will be an implementation fee of x%. And it you want to move onto our ongoing review service there will be a fee of x% pa.”

If a client does ask you a question about your fees, think of it as a hand to dance rather than a push back against the cost. Often clients are asking simply because they want to work with you and need to be clear on what they will pay, and what they will receive.



I’d love to hear your thoughts on first meetings, and how you talk about your fees. Leave a comment in the comments section on my blog or drop an email to [email protected]


Take Action

If you’d like to work with me directly on addressing your first meeting skills for you or your team drop me a line at [email protected] or give me a call on 0333 939 0027.



My last webinar “Onboarding Clients Effectively” can be heard here. If you have got the go ahead and don’t want to blow the sale or create a whole bunch of hassle you don’t need, this is for you. You’ll find out how the best firms ‘onboard’ their clients using simple strategies that make it fun for all concerned.

My upcoming Webinar ‘An Amazing Client Review Service’ is on Monday 7th October 2013. Research from across the globe tells us that clients really value a great ongoing service from their adviser. However, the same research says that what is delivered by most advisers is pretty bad. Find out how to create a simple yet amazing review service for your clients and watch your profits soar. You can preregister to attend here, and let me know if I’ll see you there.


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by Brett Davidson

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ABOUT BRETT DAVIDSON When you work with FP Advance you work with me, Brett Davidson, directly. My motto is ‘advise better, live better’ and I practice what I preach. I’m straight talking and get to the heart of an issue quickly. There’s no beating about the bush, just a focus on helping things improve. Ask my clients – what I teach works.