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a blog by Chris Barrow

What do clients pay our fees for?

I mentioned that yesterday’s meeting was to assist my top client with his marketing plans. In fact, one of our main topics of discussion was the financial budget for his 2006/7 trading year. We began this part of the meeting by creating an Excel spreadsheet which included ALL of the potential ways he could spend money. Over the last 3 months we have been listening to web designers, pay-per-click experts, graphic designers, marketing consultants, advertisers and others in an attempt to create very robust lead generation systems. Adding all of their recommendations together, we totalled over £80,000 of expenditure for his professional services firm which generates sales of £2m – that’s 4% of gross revenues – not an unreasonable figure? All of this expense was focused on external marketing – bringing strangers to their door, curious to discover more. I then reminded my client of Dan Sullivan’s phrase that “all the business that you will ever need is in the pockets of the people that you already know (repeat sales) and the people that they can introduce you to (recommendations). So we re-wrote the marketing budget, with an emphasis on internal, rather than external, marketing. I also suggested that some of the marketing could be sponsored by his main suppliers. We re-ran the figures – total expenditure just over £26,000 for the year. That’s a saving of nearly £50,000 on a marketing plan that I believe will be more focused and effective. I suspect that his external consultants will not thank me – but as I drove away last night I reflected on the reason he pays me (very well) to coach him. Bringing my knowledge, experience and honesty to this meeting made an enormous financial difference. I could also see the sense of relief that he did not have to overwhelm himself with even more “to do’s” that would have arisen if he had implemented the multitude of ideas put forward. “Focus and simplify.”

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