Forty Methods to Increase and/or Protect Fees

Fees remain a topic of unending interest according to my mail, so here is a compilation of tips and ideas. Any two or three that you can use will probably increase your profits immediately.

  1. Establish value collaboratively with the client.
  2. Base fees on value, not on task.
  3. Never use time as the basis of your value.
  4. Don’t stop with what the client wants. Find out what the client needs.
  5. Think of the fourth sale first. Fees are cumulative, not situational.
  6. Engage the client in the diagnosis. Don’t be prescriptive.
  7. Never voluntarily offer options to reduce fees.
  8. Add a premium if you personally “do it all.”
  9. If you’re forced to consider fee reduction, reduce value first.
  10. Provide options every time: the choice of “yeses.”
  11. Always provide an option that is comprehensive and over-budget.
  12. As early as possible, ask the key scope question: “What are your objectives?”
  13. Broaden objectives as appropriate to increase value.
  14. Ensure that the client is aware of the full range of your services.
  15. If something is not on your playing field, subcontract.
  16. Always ask yourself, “Why me, why now, why in this manner?”
  17. Determine how many options the buyer perceives other than you.
  18. Use proposals as confirmations, not explorations.
  19. When asked prematurely about fees, reply, “I don’t know.”
  20. If you must lower fees, seek a quid pro quo from the buyer.
  21. Do not accept troublesome, unpleasant, or suspicious business.
  22. When collaborating or subcontracting, use objective apportionment.
  23. Any highly-paid employee must bring in new business, not merely deliver.
  24. Seek out new economic buyers laterally during your projects.
  25. It is better to do something pro bono than to do it for a low fee.
  26. Fees have nothing to do with supply and demand, only with value.
  27. If you are unaware of current market fee ranges, you’re undercharging.
  28. Psychologically, higher fees create higher value in the buyer’s mind.
  29. Value can include subjective as well as objective measures.
  30. Introduce new value to existing clients to raise fees in these accounts.
  31. Do not accept referral business on the same basis (e.g., hourly) as the source.
  32. When forced into phases, offer partial rebates to guarantee future business.
  33. At least every two years, consider jettisoning the bottom 15% of business.
  34. Start with payment terms maximally beneficial to you every time.
  35. Offer incentives for one-time, full payments.
  36. Never accept payment subject to conditions to be met upon completion.
  37. Focus on improvement, not problem solving.
  38. Provide proactive ideas, bench marking, best practices from experience.
  39. Practice stating and explaining your fees.
  40. Always be prepared to walk away from business.