3 Steps That Will Make Your Transition from Hourly Billing to Fixed Fees a Success

May 10, 2017 Jillean Kearney

Building and implementing a fixed fee pricing model is a long process with many, many moving parts. We previously tackled the topic of preparing clients for a conversation about pricing changes

Now, we’re outlining three steps required to successfully implement fixed fees. A successful transition from hourly billing to fixed fees will require changes in a few areas of your firm. Check out these changes below.
 

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Build out a Process for Managing Client Relationships

In order to successfully build and implement a fixed fee pricing plan, you will need to fully understand what your clients value. This will evolve over time as their businesses change and grow. So, create a process for client relationship management to keep a pulse on evolving needs and, also, your clients’ happiness with your services.

This process should include:

  • A schedule that includes regular, recurring touch points with each client

  • Meeting agendas for each touchpoint 

  • Annual reviews with each client to discuss what has happened over the past 12 months and to plan for the upcoming year

  • Transparency – discuss, honestly, what can be done better to improve your relationship and workflow

  • A process for implementing the learnings and takeaways from each meeting to refine your services and improve client relationships

In all of these interactions, make sure to remind your clients of the value you have and will continue to provide. Reinforce your value at every opportunity.
 

Create a Solid Value Proposition 

Implementing a pricing model that is calculated based on the value you can deliver will require your firm to flex some marketing muscles. How your value gets articulated is very important.

You will need a solid value proposition. This is marketing speak for a statement that makes your firm attractive to current and potential clients. Your value proposition should:

  • Outline the services that you provide for the niches/types of clients you work with

  • Emphasize your experience and expertise with your niche and the services bundled into each fixed cost

  • Describe the quality of your service, and how you can help clients reach their business goals

Your value proposition is the foundation of your marketing. It informs all messaging on your website, social media, etc. It should be front and center on your homepage. It is also something that should be reinforced at every opportunity. Your firm’s staff should be referencing your value proposition in discussions with clients, for example.

Harness the Power of Storytelling to Articulate Your Value

Everyone loves a good story. A great narrative – one with a compelling arc (beginning, middle and end) – is a fantastic mechanism for articulating your value in a way that is easy for clients to understand and digest. A great story > a list of benefits.

Begin by telling the stories of your clients – how they came to be your client, the services you provide and how you helped them reach their goals. Case studies and testimonials are easy ways to show your value, and they are convincing (which is a great attribute to attach to marketing content).
 

Optimize Your Workflow and Tech Stack

A key component of a fixed fee plan’s success is efficiency – for both you and your clients. It’s essential that the work you’ve scoped out for each service bundle can be completed in a timely fashion in order to be profitable. Automate as much as possible.

For your clients, efficiency ensures that the basics are taken care of faster and with less work for them. Plus, it means their advisor has more time to provide the advice that really matters.

To generate efficiencies in your workflow and tech stack:

  • Source the right apps to eliminate time-consuming admin tasks that require human intervention – look at document management, payroll and invoice processing tools

  • Once you have identified the right apps for your workflow, standardize them into one tech stack for your team

  • Help your team members be masters of the tech stack by delivering internal training
     

Wrap up

A successful transition from hourly billing to fixed fees requires optimizations to be implemented across your firm.

Focus your marketing efforts to clearly articulate the value your firm provides. Tighten up your workflow and tech stack. Constantly be on the lookout for new efficiencies that will benefit both you and your clients. Build a client relationship management process so that you can identify and solve each client’s pressing issues.

Optimizing your firm’s operations in these ways will increase your odds for a successful transition to fixed fee pricing.

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