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Setting Consultant Fees
Know the Ropes: How to avoid Overselling


Setting consultant fees is a key process that the delivery consultant should lead or at least be actively involved in. Consultant fees should be set to reflect the risks and challenges inherent to the assignment, based on the judgement of the skilled practitioner (i.e You) who will be tasked with delivering the assignment; there is a very real danger in delegating pricing decisions to a sales person.

This page is one of a series that together provide guidance on some key considerations to keep in mind when negotiating with clients, finalising proposals for work and setting consultant fees.

Caution: Overselling can damage your health and your wealth…

There is a real danger in separating Selling from Delivery. I am not a sales professional, indeed I recoil at the whole notion of ‘selling’, but I have been on the receiving end of a Bad Sale on more than one occasion.

If the person selling the work to the client does not also have responsibility for delivering the project then there is a risk that the sales guy will promise the client the earth at a rock bottom price.

Then along comes the delivery team i.e. You, and that’s where the real pain starts… Meanwhile, the sales guy has disappeared off-site, probably busy counting his commission, leaving you holding the baby. Ok, I exaggerate to make the point, but you get the picture.

As a minimum, the person selling the work needs to have had experience at the sharp end in a client delivery role. Ideally that person will also be central to the delivery of the project i.e have some ‘skin in the game’.

This is a key advantage that you will have if you start your own consulting business…You sell it AND You deliver it - therefore the work should never be Oversold.

There is no disconnect between the person selling the work and the person delivering the work.

If you make a mistake in estimating the difficulty of delivering a project, then you will learn from that and factor in the learning when you make your next proposal for an assignment.

The learnings set out on this page apply equally to any intermediary that is operating between you and the End client. These individuals will badge themselves variously as Agents, Business Development directors, Sales professionals, 'Rain Makers', Introducers or Lead Consultants.

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