Talking About Money

By Mo Bunnell

Below is a transcript of this video, modified for your reading pleasure. Have a question that you'd like answered? Drop us a line!

Today we are going to talk about a really controversial subject, one that people tend to shy away from all the time.

It's money.

For whatever reason, many of our clients hesitate to talk about money with their clients. There's a lot of reasons for it, and I hope today we can change your opinion of talking about money with your clients.

Talking about money should be done openly, and honestly, and early on in the conversation, as many times as possible.

In our world, we've found our BIG clients, who are typically experts in very disciplined and professional crafts, are hesitant to talk about money with their clients. These are folks that have sometimes taken decades to become expert enough that they can lead client relationships. This type of professional is the one most hesitant to bring up money with their clients.

We think the reason is because certain types of industries have some degree of variability in the pricing from one client to another. Perhaps you are in the world of big law, or consulting, or architecture, or engineering, or accounting, or some other professional field. There typically is some wiggle room in the price.

Or maybe you are an account manager of a large health care company, or outsourcer, or organization where the pricing changes a little from deal to deal just because they are so darn complicated. In those worlds, where there is a bit of play in the money, for whatever reason, whoever leads the client relationship can hesitate in talking about it, and they can end up messing up their relationship with their clients.

Here's the secret to success.

If you think of the four major buckets of an engagement with a client - there is the goal, the process, the people, and the finances. We are all comfortable talking about the first three things - the goal, the process, and the people. We're ready to third party endorse our team and talk about how great our solution is, and how proud we are that we've crafted it to achieve the goals of the client. All of the sudden, when it comes to money, we want to hesitate.

Instead, we want you to think of financials and the monetary investment that a client makes as just the quantification of the scope and the value in the other three areas.

Talk about financials just as seamlessly as you would the Gantt chart about getting the work done, or the team bios about the people that are going to interface with the client. When we talk about money just as easily and openly as we talk about these other things, good things happen.

Here is one last story for you to consider regarding talking about money. I love backpacking.

I find myself wandering around REI, the camping goods store, all the time. I absolutely love it. If I am walking around the store and thinking about buying a new coat, I can talk to a salesperson, who is an expert at their craft, about backpacking. I can look at two different coats and one might cost double the other one. The salesperson can guide me through a process to get option A or option B. Here, the discussion of money is easy.  The prices are fixed. They are right there on the tag. There is no room for negotiation. I cannot ask them for a lower price. Because the prices are fixed and because there are trade-offs between the options, it makes it easy for the salesperson to talk to me and help me figure out what is best for me.

If you view your pricing as fixed, it's perfectly aligned with the goals, the process, and the people, and the solution.

If you view the pricing as fixed, it gets easy to talk about money. If somebody wants to have a lower price, that's fine, but one of the other three things must move as well.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I hope it changes the way that you think about money. I want you to think about it and talk about it openly and honestly with your clients, just like you would with any other aspect of an engagement. When you do that, magic happens, and it can become a great differentiator for you as you help your clients succeed.

As always, we hope you are enjoying these videos.