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Value-Based Fees: How to Charge - and Get - What You're Worth, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-43767-4
288 pages
November 2008, Pfeiffer
Value-Based Fees: How to Charge - and Get - What You


In this thoroughly revised edition of his classic book, Alan Weiss shows how consulting fees are dependent on only two things: value provided in the perception of the buyer and the intent of the buyer and the consultant to act ethically. Many consultants, however, fail to understand that perceived value is the basis of the fee, or that they must translate the importance of their advice into long-term gains for the client in the client's perception. Still others fail to have the courage and the belief system that support the high value delivered to clients, thereby reducing fees to a level commensurate with the consultant's own low self-esteem. Ultimately, says Weiss, consultants, not clients, are the main cause of low consulting fees.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xv

Preface to the Second Edition xvii

Acknowledgments xix

CHAPTER 1 The Concept of Fees 1

Will People Actually Give Me Their Money for My Advice?

The Ethical Nature of Capitalism 2

The Mercedes-Benz Syndrome 5

The Importance of Buyer Commitment, Not Compliance 9

Critical Steps for Buyer Commitment 11

The Buoyancy of Brands: How Brands Help Fees 12

Creating Shared Success 15

Chapter ROI 18

Interlude: A Case of Bottom-Line Blindness 21

CHAPTER 2 The Lunacy of Time-and-Materials Models 23

Who Wants to Be as Dumb as a Lawyer?

Supply-and-Demand Illogic 25

Ethical Conflicts of Interest and Other Small Matters 28

Limiting Profits, or Why Not Just Forget Domani? 32

Why Lawyers and CPAs Do So Poorly 35

Educating the Buyer Incorrectly 37

Chapter ROI 39

CHAPTER 3 The Basics of Value-Based Fees 41

It’s Better to Be an Artist Than to Be an Engineer

Focusing on Outcomes, Not Inputs 42

The Fallacy and Subversive Nature of “Deliverables” 45

Quantitative and Qualitative Measures and Criteria 49

Measuring the Unmeasurable 52

Serving the Client’s Self-Interest 54

The Subtle Transformation: Consultant Past to Client Future 56

Perpetual Motion, Perpetual Progress 58

Chapter ROI 60

Interlude: The Case of the Annoying Accountants 61

CHAPTER 4 How to Establish Value-Based Fees 63

If You Read Only One Chapter . . .

Conceptual Agreement: The Foundation of Value 64

Establishing Your Unique Value 68

Creating the “Good Deal” Dynamic 72

The Incredibly Powerful “Choice of Yeses” 75

Some Formulas for the Faint of Heart 79

Chapter ROI 82

CHAPTER 5 How to Convert Existing Clients 85

Correcting Your Own Mistakes

Setting Priorities Among Existing Clients 86

Offering New Value 90

Finding New Buyers Within Existing Clients 94

Finding New Circumstances 97

What If Clients Resist Conversion? 99

Abandoning Business 101

Chapter ROI 103

Interlude: The Case of the Loaded Loading Dock 105

CHAPTER 6 The Fine and High Art of Using Retainers 107

It’s Just the Smarts, Stupid

Optimal Conditions for Retainer Arrangements 108

Choosing Time Frames and Creating Realistic Expectations 113

Organizing the Scope and Managing Projects Within the Retainer 116

Capitalizing on Retainer Relationships 119

Aggressively Marketing Retainer Relationships 121

Chapter ROI 124

Ethics and Fees, Fees and Ethics: A Midbook Practicum 127

CHAPTER 7 Seventy Ways to Raise Fees and/or Increase Profits Immediately 141

Act Today and Receive the Bass-o-Matic Free of Charge!

Chapter ROI 159

Interlude: The Case of the Rebounding Retainer 161

CHAPTER 8 How to Prevent and Rebut Fee Objections 163

Since You’ve Heard Them All Before, How Can You Not Know All the Answers?

The Four Fundamental Areas of Resistance 165

Maintaining the Focus on Value 170

Boring In on the Subject 173

Offering Discounts 176

Using “Smack to the Head” Comparisons 177

Ignoring the Competition 179

Chapter ROI 181

Interlude: The Case of the Perverse Purchasing Agent 183

CHAPTER 9 Setting Fees for Nonconsulting Opportunities 185

How to Make Money While You Sleep, Eat, Play, and Make Money Elsewhere

Keynote Speaking: Don’t Charge for Your Spoken Words 186

Highly Leveraged Practices for Working with Bureaus 190

Products 192

Exploring New Lucrative Fields 196

And Now for Some Perspective 202

Chapter ROI 204

CHAPTER 10 Fee Progression Strategies 205

Why You Fall Behind When You Stand Still

Entry-Level Fees 206

Transition to a “Going Concern” 209

Transition to Word-of-Mouth 211

Transition to the Brand Phase 213

Transition to the Ultimate Consultant 217

The Book’s ROI: Alan’s Axioms for the “Good Deal” 219

Interlude: The Case of the Fee Feng Shui 225

CHAPTER 11 Technology and Fees 227

Greater Wealth in the Brave New World

The Service Enhancement 227

The Publishing Prerogative 230

The Remote Consultant 233

Passive Income 236

The Bottom Line 238

Chapter ROI 240

APPENDIX A: Questions for Qualifying the Economic Buyer 241

APPENDIX B: Questions for Establishing Business Objectives 243

APPENDIX C: Questions for Establishing Measures of Success 245

APPENDIX D: Questions for Establishing Value 247

APPENDIX E: Questions for Assessing Personal Value Contribution 249

APPENDIX F: The Difference Between Inputs and Business Outputs 251

Index 253

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Author Information

Alan Weiss—consultant, speaker, and author of the best-selling The Ultimate Consultant—is the founder and CEO of Summit Consulting Group, Inc. His clients have included Merck, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, State Street Corporation, and Times Mirror Group. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker. Success Magazine declared him "A worldwide expert in executive education."
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