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.