Once you’ve decided to implement a fee increase at your firm and you’ve worked out how you are going to structure your new rates, now all that is left to do is break the news to your clients. This will be one of the toughest emails that you’ll send and you’ll be anxious that you may lose clients as a result, but trust us when we say that a lot of your clients will be more than fine with an appropriate increase to their fees. To help you break the news successfully, this article outlines the 8 specific elements that you must include in your price increase letter to your clients.
1. A professional and positive tone
You’re worried about approaching this topic and your clients aren’t going to want to pay more initially, that’s just fact. We all understand that it is business and that prices increase over time, however, so make sure to communicate in a positive but professional tone throughout your price increase letter. How you make your client feel will impact their decision to stay with you greatly, so if you make them feel like these changes are positive and necessary to continue your great service, then they will be much more likely to accept the fee increase without any issues.
2. Lead with something personal
You want to make your client feel valued so open your price increase letter with something personal. This could be a previous glowing testimonial that they gave you or great results that you previously achieved for them, so lead with something like “thanks to the glowing testimonial that you gave me, I know that you are incredibly happy with the value that I bring to your business.” By opening with something personal, you are immediately reminding them that you have a great working relationship whilst also emphasising the value that you bring them. Just remember to keep this brief.
3. A clear explanation of why you’re increasing your fees
If you just send a letter informing your clients that you’re implementing a fee increase and now they have to pay X amount, they are going to be confused and annoyed. This is not how you want this conversation to go down at all as it will most probably end up in the loss of clients. When writing your price increase letter, explain why you are increasing your fees as clearly and as briefly as possible and always link it to the benefits you’re bringing the client (e.g we are increasing our fees to continue our great client service, to deliver even an even higher-quality of work etc). This will help your client understand the change and they will be much more willing to accept it. Need more help with your price increase letter?
4. Their new rate
Once you’ve informed the client that you’re implementing a fee increase and the reasons why you’re doing so, don’t forget to tell them what their new rate will be. The goal is to give them as much information as possible so that they are much more likely to accept this change. If you have clients that are paying via direct debit, this gives them all the information they need so that they can just let you carry on. The less effort on the client’s part, the better.
5. The date of when the increase will take effect
The client needs time to make adjustments so clearly state the date when the fee increase will be taking effect in your price increase letter. Don’t suddenly spring this change on your client, give them time to digest it and even to exercise at least one more month at the existing price. If you wanted to, you could even give your long-term clients further time to transition to show that you appreciate their business. (Find out how to successfully implement a fee increase)
6. A clear call-to-action
Whatever your call-to-action may be, make sure to state it clearly towards the end of your price increase letter. Perhaps you want to move your clients onto the cloud, you want to get them paying monthly via direct debit, you want them to upgrade their package or you just want them to contact you to discuss the fee increase. If you want certain results from your letter, make sure to ask for what you want as clearly as you can.
7. Your contact details
When you’ve given your client all the information that they need to know about the fee increase, make sure to make an offer to chat if they want to discuss it. Providing the different ways that they can contact you, such as your personal phone number and email, will show them that you value their time to discuss this change as well as them as a client. Talking to you can make a world of difference to their decision to stay or go, so give them to chance to talk to you personally if they need reassurance.
8. Flatter the client
Just like you began your price increase letter, you always want to end it with your client feeling valued and appreciated. Just a simple “it’s been great to work with you and I hope our working relationship continues” can really go a long way. How you make the client feel will stay with them much longer than anything else, so make the right impact in your letter.
Writing a price increase letter to your clients may be scary, but if you include all of these 8 elements in there, you can be sure that it will go down much more smoothly! Just remember to follow up with a phone call after a few days to make sure that your clients understand exactly what is happening and how it impacts them. You’ll be surprised by the number of clients who stay with you!
This blog post was originally published on The Accountants Millionaires' Club
About Heather Townsend
Heather Townsend is Founder and Author of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 5 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).
Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.
Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms.