The Business Instructor – how should you answer the question: 'How much do you charge?'

“How much do you charge?” is a question most lawyers and other professionals get asked at some point, and I know many of them struggle with it.

How should you answer this question when a prospective client asks you?

Do you tell them your fees straight away – in which case they might immediately start comparing you on price and probably go to someone cheaper?

Or do you avoid answering it, but then feel uncomfortable for avoiding it, and then lose the client anyway?

It’s critical to understand the real purpose of this question

To answer this question effectively, you first need to realise that the person asking the question is someone who doesn’t know how else to compare you apart from on price.

So it’s your job to help them see the value you are offering. This is an opportunity.

First, resist the temptation to answer the question straight away. I don’t mean not answer it at all…. but don’t make it your first answer.

Instead, tell them you need to know a little bit more about them and explain that you’d like to ask them some questions in order to give them an accurate quote.

5 key questions to ask before you give an answer

Once you have their permission to ask some questions, there are 5 key questions to ask.

I’m going to share with you a 5 step process to work out what these questions should be so that you can identify the value you can offer the client. Plus, these questions will also help the client see the value of your services.

Step 1: find out what is important to them about the process, the deal, or the problem they need your help with.

Step 2: ask why is this important to them? This will help you find out their ‘buying criteria’ (what is their real driver? Is it money, emotion, security, stability, fear, something else?).

Step 3: work out how you can deliver exactly the service they want, bearing in mind what you now know is valuable and important to them.

Step 4: now explain your fee in the context of what they want. Show them how your services will help them achieve what’s valuable or important to them – this will enable them to see why your fee is ‘worth it’.

Step 5: once you’ve done all of the above, invite them to take the next step with you, whether that’s a meeting (free or fixed fee) or another ‘commitment’ step like signing an agreement.

Take Action

Do you think this 5 step process would help you answer “How much do you charge?” If so, I’ve created a worksheet to guide you through the 5 steps, which you can download here.

Follow this 5 step process whenever you’re asked the question “How much do you charge?” and you will find it easier to help clients see the value of your services. That way, instead of comparing you on price, they will be able to compare you on value. Once they see the great value you offer, they will say yes to working with you at the price you want.

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