top of page

First Meeting Mistake 6: Committing The Client To All Three Phases

In the example fee dialogue discussed last week, I recommended outlining all three fees in a short and sweet way.

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.”

I also recommended making it clear to the client that they are only committing to the first fee, the planning fee, at this stage of the process. I believe it is better to leave it up to the client to decide if they wish to go further after they have evaluated your initial advice.

Let me use an analogy to explain why.

You want to try skydiving and you think your partner does to, but s/he is not quite as gung ho as you are. You could say, “We’re just going to do it, now get in the car and let’s go!” However, that approach may generate some resistance and next thing you know you are having an argument.

Alternatively, you might say, “Why don’t we do some investigation online together first and find out what is involved.” The reluctant partner may agree to that.

If that goes well, you might even suggest heading out to a sky diving centre to just watch a few people go up for their first dives. You can make it clear that this day is for research purposes only. If it goes well you might both agree to book yourselves in at a later date. If it doesn’t go so well, (say someone’s parachute doesn’t open and you see them plummet to their death), no problem; so much for sky diving.

By breaking down the process into smaller bite sized steps you can create a safety zone that provides some space to safely take the first step. The same applies to your fees.

If you need clients to commit to the whole shooting match up front, you may be putting too much pressure on them too soon.

The truth is that almost everyone who engages you to do a plan will move through the next two phases with you too, so leave them the space to take things one step at a time.

By Brett Davidson

bottom of page