Last week we discussed the issue underlying every fee objection: fairness. (If you missed it, take one minute to read this). Okay, but “fairness” is a theoretical concept, like baking. Let’s make some actual cookie recipes. That means scripts.
Your script starts with your prospect, Yuri Yusimi objecting to the consulting fees you’ve proposed. No matter how he couches the objection your initial response never varies:
You: Got it. You have some concerns about the fees. Do you have any other concerns with our proposal?
After you’ve surfaced every concern, you address them one by one, starting with a query like this:
You: Can you tell me a bit more about your fee concerns? It would be helpful if you shared what’s driving them.
Now we get to the meat of the issue. Is this really a fee objection or a clarification of parameters? (The distinction was explained here.)
Assuming you’re dealing with a fee objection, your script follows a four-point pattern
Let’s pick up the conversation where we left off. I’ll cover a few of the more objections to consulting fees and leave one for you to add your suggestions in the comments.
Common Objection: Rationale
Yuri: The fees just seem very high. How did you come up with them?
You:<Agree:> Yes, they are high! At least I hope so. <Shift:> Our consulting firm only likes to take on projects where we can create tremendous value for our clients and earn high fees along the way.
<Support:> We set our fees so that we both come out on top. You receive an outstanding return on your investment, and our firm is paid handsomely for helping you achieve the results we’ve talked about.
<Confirm:> Does that seem unfair?
Yuri: Oh, well, uhm. No. that seems fair.
Common Objection: Expectations
Yuri: It’s just a lot more than I expected.
You: <Agree:> Yes, this is a healthy investment. You’re right. That’s why it’s important that the project be valuable for you. <Shift:> You had mentioned that the total value of increasing croissant throughput is $2m per year. Though our part in that is, of course, smaller.
You: <Support:> The approach we proposed was designed to help you hit those objectives. Does the approach itself seem right?
Yuri: Oh, yes. I have no problem with the approach. It seems good.
You: <Confirm:> Terrific. So, here’s the question: To achieve that $2m per year, does $200k seem unfair?
Yuri: No. Not unfair. Just expensive.
You: <We need to repeat Agree and Confirm:> Yep. It is. Is it too expensive?
Yuri: Oh. Well… no.
Common Objection: Competition
Yuri: You’re more expensive than other consultants. Why would I pay almost twice as much for you as for another consultant.
You: <Agree:> That’s a good question. If we’re all the same and every consultant is just as likely to deliver the result you want, then you shouldn’t. <Shift:> Are you 100% sure that anyone can come in here and increase your throughput—after all, your engineering team hasn’t been able to.
Yuri: No. but everyone I’m considering seems good.
You: <Support:> No doubt. Do you mind if I show you the difference between good and excellent?
Yuri: Please do!
You: <Support, cont.> We agreed that increasing throughput will generate an extra $2m per year. Let’s say a good consultant has a 90% chance of delivering your throughput goal. That would be very good. Now let’s say my team, which is excellent gives you only a 5% better chance of achieving that $2m per year. That 5% is worth $100k. Every year.
Yuri: Okay. Five percent of $2m is $100k. I follow.
You: <Confirm:> So, a small investment in excellence yields a much higher return in terms of final results. Does that seem fair?
Yuri: You’re still expensive, but yes, I understand. That’s fair.
Common Objection: Internal Staff
Yuri: I could hire three people full time for that fee.
What would your response be? Please share in the comments. Other readers and I want to know how you handle the fee objection.
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.