Ask Dem: Fee discount before being asked?

Hi Dem,

I wish I had clients like this all the time. In the first 4 months of this year we will invoice one of our best clients R600K. We have given them a slight discount in previous years when they asked for a discount. Our fee with them is 17.5%.

My question is, should we be proactive and offer a discount before they ask us for one? Our hope is that this would strengthen our relationship further. We are currently working on two more high level positions for their company.


You wish you had clients like this all the time and I wish I had questions like this all the time, because here is what you need to do. Ready? Write this down step by step because the order and structure of this solution is as important as the execution.



No, I didn't double space by mistake! THAT was the answer. Do Nothing. Do Nothing Now! When you think you've done enough nothing, do a little more. With Feeling This Time. Then take a lunch hour, read Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing", take a nap, wake up, and Do More Nothing about this matter.

You assume a pre emptive discount will curry favour. It will not. Not if the client is savvy and world weary and war torn like me. It will scream "amateur hour!" You give up your price without me asking? Seriously. Now you have me wondering if you are as good as I thought you were.

In fact if it were me, I would call him/her and say you were thinking about calling to tell them you had amassed such a fabulous network of people to recruit for them, and had become so effective, you were going to increase your fees on the jobs you have, but due to your unabashed respect for him/her personally and your desire to cultivate a lasting relationship, you will leave the fee untouched. For now!!

Get out of this mindset that now that you have performed admirably you need to head off being punished for it by your clients.

Umbrage is what you need. Outrage is what you should feel. Both have the root word "rage" in them, as well they should! When someone rages against us, in this case you against your client, there is a deep seated respect for the passion invoked. When someone shows self pity, which is what you do when you offer a discount without being asked, there is a deep seated disrespect. So guard against it. Your strategy is ‘nothing’ here. And nothing can be really something!!


PS: Response from Member


Doing ‘nothing’ as you suggested really made me more aware of how easily you can lose your direction in situations like this. The question I sent came from our R400K/month biller and after we read your response we both said, "What were we thinking?". Dem, thanks for slapping a cold wet cloth of reality back to us.