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We Don’t Pay Fees!

Join ROW for BYOL [Buy Your Own Lunch] at Champps Americana in Brookfield on Wed., March 16 at 11:45 AM… Discussion to include the following:


When we work with new clients/companies, our pricing is many times the focus of our initial discussions and often involves negotiation.

A common response to our offer of recruiting services is: “We don’t want to pay a fee.”

We understand the response. Quite frankly, neither do we. We don’t want to pay for services either.

Acknowledge, “You should not pay a fee that does not bring value to your business or yourself.”

We pay research companies, job boards, our support network – TEN, accountant, attorney, and other “services”. We would not engage these services unless we saw a value brought to our business. Oh, I forgot about my gym membership. Really, you have to pay to do this? UGH! But at the end of my workout I am glad I pay for the service.

When meeting with potential clients, we discuss the “value” that we may be able to bring to them. Notice the qualifying statement “we may be able to bring to them”. We may not bring new value to a company if their processes and recruiting efforts are yielding results efficiently.  We may not be needed at this time. There are other reasons that we may not be able to produce hires for a company. Some of those reasons can be that the client’s expectations are unreasonable in this market, or that the client’s process is flawed, or even other reasons. Therefore, throwing money at a hiring process is not always a solution for our clients. Paying a fee needs to make sense, and measuring the value is a challenge.

This challenge is not unique to our industry. My accountant is a great example. When I meet at year’s end, he pumps my numbers into his software and produces my results. Then I get a bill for thousands and “gulp” – what the H E double toothpicks? When I call my accountant to discuss this, he reminds me of his expertise in the industry, expenses and of his audit guarantees. This calms me, and reminds me of why I like this firm and pay them–I see the value for my company!

The fact is that everyone is paying fees all the time. There is no successful business, that I can think of, that is not paying fees for services. When faced with the challenge of hearing those dreaded words “we don’t pay fees” calm down and acknowledge that most of your clients feel the same way. Don’t ever dismiss the client’s assertion, but do not believe them for a minute that they don’t pay fees – they do!

Find a way to explain what you can provide to them, that will bring their company more value than your fee will cost them. Design it to be company specific so that they know you have taken into account their company’s needs and other contributing factors.  You are not just launching into a sales pitch.  They will be grateful for the time and expertise you have shared with them, whether they use you at that time or not.  Your firm will be remembered for integrity, honesty and value.

Written by Mark Rowbottom, Owner of Rowbottom Partners and President of Recruiters of Wisconsin.

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