Resources  >> How to Take the Awkward Out of Fee Conversations

About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  May 18, 2017

How to Take the Awkward Out of Fee Conversations

sales conversations

There’s a point in every sales conversation when you have to discuss fees. It feels awkward sometimes. (Which is why most of us leave that detail to the end.) What’s really happening: You are competing with an invisible picture in their heads.

Most folks already have an idea of what they are willing to spend. If your quote is bigger than the number in their head, mental stop signs immediately pop up. Once that happens, the “I’ll think about it” excuses begin. This is the #1 cause of the stalled sale.

The problem? Their mental budget is not based on reality. It’s based on what they want to pay—or on the bargain basement price they saw on the internet. They are blissfully ignorant of what it really costs to solve their challenge. Your quote was their wake-up call. That’s why it’s called “sticker shock.”


Listen: Your best response to the “negotiators”


Your best response: Cushion the blow as early as possible. Most incoming inquiries include questions on what you charge. Take the initiative and give a heads-up that your fees can’t be found at the dollar store. For exploratory conversations, describe what you do and give a couple of examples of ROI. Then casually mention general fee ranges when it feels comfortable.

My favorite phrase: “The investment for one-on-one relationships starts at XXX.” It’s too early to quote numbers or ranges, so use terms such as three figures, four figures, five figures, etc. This advanced warning allows prospects to opt out or change their number—all before you’re about to close the deal.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.