How do you present fees in a way that emphasizes the value of your services and
takes the spotlight off the price?
One of the most effective ways to disclose fees is on a written schedule of
services and fees. This is a helpful document because you can use it in so
many ways, including (1) as a handout during in-person meetings, (2) as a
handout at seminars, (3) as a document you can e-mail to prospects.
On this written schedule, you list the service you provide and then break down
the service into all its sub-parts. This shows your prospect value. Then you
show in writing what your prospect pays for the service. By not concealing the
price, your prospect sees that you have nothing to hide and that you’re not
bashful about your fees. When you balance all the things you do against the
fee you charge, you present your fee in the most favorable light. And — possibly
for the first time — your prospect has a visual and detailed understanding of the
in-depth services you provide when he hires your services.
Here are three models you can use to create your written schedule of services and fees.
When possible, put a fixed fee next to the documents. If you can’t, then put a
typical fee range next to the documents.
Include everything you can think of because you really do provide all these services
for your clients. It’s important that clients appreciate how hard you work to settle
When you meet with your prospect to discuss her case, use this new sheet to walk
your prospect through the services you offer. As you point to and explain each
service, you help assure that your prospect (1) understands what you do, and (2)
appreciates the skills necessary to provide these services.
On the same page, after your list, feature special aspects of your
services. These are more things you offer that set you apart from other mediators.
Also, these special services may be your competitive advantages.
Here are a few samples:
Free Phone Consultations. Write two or three sentences inviting your prospect or
client to call you any time he has a question or problem. Questions often lead
to work that you can perform on your client’s behalf.
Peace of Mind Meetings. Often, mediators offer to meet with clients without charge
in pre-mediation sessions. Write two or three sentences pointing out how important
Schedule of Fees. If you did not list a fee by each service you offer,
then list them near the bottom of the page, in terms of what you charge by the
service, project or hour.
Costs. List things that might be added to your fees. State costs in a
positive way and make sure you include everything that might come
up. Also, as an added competitive advantage, include things other mediators might
charge for that you have included in the fee at no added charge, such as photocopies, parking,
or other incidentals.
Make sure you write everything in plain English and format it on the page with
relatively large type that is easy to read. Prospects grow suspicious if they
find a document hard to read or understand. Clear writing that’s easy to read
increases your credibility.
If you offer different services for different audiences, you can create a service
and fee schedule for each audience.
When you hand prospects your written schedule of services and fees, they feel
more comfortable because they believe they can rely on what they see. In addition,
they have everything in writing in case their memories fade. And last, you’re
happier because you have reduced the risk of a fee misunderstanding because
everything is right there in black and white.
Plus, this written schedule has a pre-emptive value. Even if competing mediators
offer the same services, prospects and clients often don’t know this unless the
competing mediator publishes a schedule of services and fees. With this document,
you can effectively display what you offer — and raise questions about what other
mediators might offer — simply by handing this document to prospects and clients.
This written schedule of services and fees is a terrific marketing tool. I’ve
used them with mediators for more than 20 years with very positive results. And,
as a general rule, people trust what they see in writing more than what they hear,
so this document increases your credibility.
Bottom Line: In most cases, when prospects see how much they receive from you in
value, they are far less concerned about how much they pay. In this way, you take
the spotlight off price and put it where it belongs, on the value you offer your clients.