Practice Management > Compensation and Fees

5 Ways to Discuss Fees on Your Website Without Scaring Prospects

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Financial advisors have always been notoriously wary of mentioning their fees. They are often the last thing discussed during an introductory meeting, and a lot of advisor websites don’t mention them anywhere.

Not talking about them isn’t much of a solution, and two factors have made that an increasingly bad approach: robo-advisors and millennials.

Robo-advisors position themselves as the answer to everything normal people dislike about traditional advisors. They are predictable, fully “customizable,” available 24 hours a day, have no minimum assets under management requirements, and are completely upfront about their fees. WealthFront’s pricing page is pretty much an all-out attack on the fees of traditional advisors, and other robo-advisors aren’t much different.

Millennials demand transparency in everything from governments to company policies to professional fees. If you’re not willing to talk about it, you must be hiding something.

All of this means that if you’re not mentioning your fees on your website, then it’s probably time to start.

With more and more disruptive fee models out there, it’s more important than ever that you structure the fee conversation effectively and speak to people in a way they’ll understand. If you don’t talk about your fees, your visitors might just take WealthFront’s word for it that you charge “up to 3% per year.” That’s enough to scare anyone off.

So what’s the answer?

If you’re going to talk about them, should you just list them out? Won’t they scare people away? How can you provide the context to let prospects know that your value is worth your fee?

There’s no right answer for how to do this, but it’s important to think about because people like to know costs up front. In my days working with software as a service customers, we found the pricing page was one of the most frequented. If people are going to pay for something (especially a service, as opposed to a product), they want to know what it is and how much it costs.

If you’re especially uncomfortable talking about your fees, it might be helpful to sit down with a client you know especially well and ask them how they would explain your fees. Also ask them what they really care about when it comes to what you provide them. This will give you a good idea about what to emphasize when helping prospects understand your fees. Then you can use their answers to restructure your conversation.

There are several approaches to making your website part of the fee conversation, including:

1. Create a Fees Page for Each Persona

If you’ve created personas (if you haven’t, you really should), then you should know their pain points, greatest concerns, and what they value most. These insights should already inform everything you produce, from blogs to ads to printed brochures — and you could also use them to craft individual fee pages for each persona.

Say you have three personas: widows, young families and business owners. You would create three fee pages. I’m not saying your fees should be different based on a client’s persona, just how you present them.

For instance, when you’re providing context for your fees on the widow’s fee page, you would talk about the areas of your services that specifically appeal to them such as partnering with them to help them make better financial decisions. The young family page could focus on the advisor alpha that can be earned over a lifetime, and the business owner page could focus on the business side of your services.

2. Be Creative

Think about how Starbucks does sizes. Small, medium and large (or venti, grande, mucho grande, or whatever it is). If you offer planning or any ad hoc services, you could position those offerings as you can show all of your a la carte offerings, or present them as incremental offerings.

If you don’t have a low-dollar offering, now might be a good time to add one. A low-dollar offer (known as a “tripwire” in the marketing world) is a great way to establish a relationship. Tripwires aren’t meant to be profitable, they’re meant to increase the likelihood of someone buying your more profitable offers.

Be creative, but above all, use it as an opportunity to be transparent. In today’s world, the most attractive content is the most transparent content. There is no right answer for how to address fees other than communicating effectively and openly.

3. Start the Conversation with a Fee Calculator

I especially like the way Doyle Wealth does this. Near the bottom of their individual persona pages, there’s a simple fee calculator. Input an estimate of your assets, and you get immediate feedback on what your fee will be. The numbers on there may not represent everything included in their fee depending on the services a client wants and their actual assets, but this gets the conversation started and gives a sense of transparency to any prospects who visit their website. 

4. Use Video

Video is recognized as the most widely used type of content on the internet these days. While a lot of that has to do with videos of people scaring cats, it has proven to be true for companies as well. Consider creating a video that explains what your fees are and why.

Probably the best route would be to create an animated video, but those can get a little expensive. If you’re concerned about cost, you can always do a mix of PowerPoint slides and live action. Whichever route you go here, the script has to be solid, clear and engaging in order to make sure you get your money’s worth. Don’t talk around your fees.

5. Lock It Down

You could lock down your fee page and only allow access to it if people provide their name and email address. This one would be more of an experiment as I don’t know anyone who does it, but it could have the added benefit of identifying only the most serious leads — if they’re ready to give you their email address to find out what your fees are, they must be pretty serious.

There’s always the concern that people won’t appreciate the value of your fee. They won’t understand why it costs so much to get your services.

That’s why it’s so important to tell the story. Be willing to communicate. Whatever you do, be transparent. It’ll be a breath of fresh air in the financial industry.