22 Feb, 2023 - Webinar replay
Everything you need to know about building a fees page for your website
Phil Bray 0:04
It’s 10 o’clock and it’s time for me start! So, today’s webinar: Everything you need to know about building a fees page on your website. Welcome everybody who’s joined us. Who have we got in? Andrew, welcome, hope Leeds is good, Hi Ben, hi Bee, Chris, up in the Lake District. Who else is coming in? Gale in the Northeast, Guy, hope you’re enjoying the cricket, it’s going really well at the moment. Welcome to everybody who’s joined us for today. We’ve never spoken about this on a webinar before, so I’m really excited to bring this topic to you. Because I think it’s a topic that is getting more traction and more and more advice and planning firms are interested in. The eagle eyed amongst you will know that Dan isn’t here today. Dan is doing his civic duty and he’s away on jury service. So hopefully we’ll get our Dan back later on this week, because we’re missing him. So Abi is going to do the housekeeping today. Abi, if you could perhaps just explain to everybody how we do things around here while I have a bit of tea.
Abi Robinson 1:13
Of course, yes. Morning everyone. Yes, Dan will be sadly missed so I’m stepping into the fray today. But yeah, hope everybody enjoyed Pancake Day and voted on our poll yesterday about your favourite toppings. Today we’re going to be talking about fees pages. Anybody who’s been here before will know that these sessions work best with lots of engagement, feedback, challenges, we don’t pretend to know everything. If you’ve got anything you want to say, chuck it in the chat, chuck it in the Q&A and I’ll either pick it up or we’ll get Phil to answer it live. And anything that we can’t answer today and we need to go away and do more research into, happy to do that. So please, anything on your mind, now’s the time to raise it. If there’s any problems with sound, if you can’t hear us, if you can’t see us, again, just give me a shout and I’ll do what I can to firefight. As well as this being the first time we’ve talked about fees pages on here, we’re doing things a little bit differently to start and we’re going to ask if you can vote in our poll. So when you join the session, it would have popped up with a question box. If you answered it then and answered the poll, then that’s absolutely fine. If you thought “what’s this rubbish?” and closed it down, then now’s the opportunity to answer. So if you haven’t yet done it, if you can look along the bottom navigation bar, where it says chat and Q&A there should be one that says “polls”. And it’s just “which of these best describes you”, a single choice question, just finding out whether you currently disclose fees on your website, whether you mentioned them but don’t disclose, or you don’t mention them at all. And that will just help Phil to personalise the session a little bit depending on where people are at. So, if you could vote in that now, that would be much appreciated.
Phil Bray 2:51
Thank you, Abi. Right. So, what are we going to talk about today? Well, fees on your website. But more specifically, we’re going to look at the current state of play. We’re going to look at what proportion of advised planning firms disclose fees on their website. And it’ll be interesting to compare our results with what people have said in the poll. We’re then going to talk about the three choices that you have for online fee disclosure, you’ve got three choices when it comes to disclosing fees online. Talk about the pros and cons of disclosing fees online because I don’t think this is binary. I don’t think this is black and white, I think there’s shades of grey here that we need to think about. If you are going to do it, we’re going to talk about the five things you must include on your fees page. We’re then going to talk about the six mistakes that we’ve seen advisers and planners make when they’re trying to build the fees page. And then it wouldn’t be a Yardstick webinar without us giving you something for free, so, we’ve got a free scorecard at the end of today, which you can go away and complete. In the last webinar, we did that online, but today, we’re just going to give you the link because not everybody on this webinar has a fees page. But it allows you to go away, probably about three minutes, answer some questions, and if you’ve got a fees page on your website, it’ll show you how effective it is.
Phil Bray 4:11
So today, all about fees on websites. And I thought the starting point, the central starting point, would just be to explain our position and explain our view of whether advisers and planners should disclose fees online. And our view is a really simple one. We think there are pros and cons to online fee disclosure. Some of those we’re going to talk about in a bit. And we are very pro, the freedom to choose. And that’s of course, the freedom of advisers and planners to choose whether you should put fees on your website, whether it’s right for your business, right for your clients, right for your prospects. And therefore, we don’t believe that mandatory fee disclosure should happen, we don’t believe the FCA should be coming along and saying all advisers and planners must disclose fees online, we don’t believe in that. We believe in choice, choice for advisers, choice for planners, and of course, choice for consumers. Because consumers can decide whether they want to work with an advice planning firm that discloses their fees online. So we can see the advantages and disadvantages. We’re pro-choice when it comes to disclosing your fees online and we’re against mandatory disclosure, we’re against the FCA coming in and saying all firms must disclose their fees online. I hope that just gives you a bit of context for some of the stuff that we’re going to say today. So, the current state of play. What’s the landscape right now? Everybody on this call has got essentially three choices when it comes to online fee disclosure. The first and the easiest is not to do it, just be really silent on your website about fees, not talk about them at all. The second option is to explain your fee philosophy, but not your specific fees. So, an example of where that works particularly well, when you charge in a different way to most other firms. Let’s say you charged fixed fees at each stage of the process, So: production of the financial plan, implementation of the plan, and for ongoing advice. You charge fixed fees each of those three stages. You do separate yourself from the majority of firms who charge a percentage based. Again, I’m not passing comment on which is right or wrong. I’m just saying that if you charge fixed fees, especially for ongoing, you are probably in the minority of firms. And therefore, you could talk about your fee philosophy on pages, rather than displaying the specific fees. That fee philosophy works well if you charge subscriptions, for example, some of those popular are dealing with younger accumulators, and your fee philosophy also might be to charge at different points, or you might know that you charge a lower amount. Anyway, if you charge differently, then your second option is to explain your fee philosophy, but not disclose fees. And your third option, of course, the third option is to disclose your fees. And disclose your fees for each stage of the process: the plan, the implementation, and the ongoing, in monetary terms or percentage-based terms. So those are the three options that you’ve got. What we’ll do, is we’ll show you our research to show the state of play, and then we’ll compare that to the results. Abi, I’ll come to you for the results in a second if that’s okay. And this is the results of our research. So, we conducted our research during January and February 2023. And we looked at 500 adviser / planner websites selected at random, using the Money Help website to help us find those websites. I think Emily is on the call today. Emily did this research at Yardstick, so hats off to Emily for concentrating for days on end to do this because it was a big piece of work. And our findings are as follows: 23.5% mentioned fees on their website. So they have some mention of fees, that might be a fees page, it might be mentioned elsewhere. That’s an increase from 17.33% five years ago. And 11.6%, so just over 1 in 10 firms, disclose the actual fees a client will pay on their website. So a client could visit those pages and see how much they will pay before they pick the phone up and arrange a first meeting. And that’s an increase from 5%, five years ago, when we last did this research. So it’s pretty clear that the proportion of advice planning firms who were talking about fees online, and who are disclosing their fees, is increasing. So Abi, how do those figures compare to the poll?
Abi Robinson 9:42
Well, you’ve put me right on the spot there because who knew you couldn’t find poll results through the actual webinar! Now we know. So, I’ve just logged in online and 77 people answered. So the top answer is 53%, which is no mention of fees on the website. A second is 26% of people, which is disclosing fees in pounds or percentage. And then the last one, 21% is mentioning fees, but not disclosing the figures.
Phil Bray 10:12
Thanks Abi. It’s clear that a larger proportion of people on this call are actually disclosing fees on their websites in pounds or percentages, 1 in 4, compared to 1 in 10. So that’s really interesting. So, for those of you who have disclosed fees, and the 26%, and have disclosed their fees on the website, the scorecard is going to be really useful for you that will give you the end of this webinar, and to show you whether you’re doing it effectively or not. But really interesting that there’s more people on this webinar, who are disclosing their fees online than in the wider adviser community. And of course, one of the reasons that people do it and we’ll look at in a bit, is that it differentiates you from other firms, you stand out. And it would be interesting for those 20, who said that disclose the fees online. If you can put a little note in the chat to just say why you do it, that would be really useful. What’s your main motivation? What’s the main reason why you disclose your fees online? And if you don’t mention fees on the website, if you’re one of the 53% of people who don’t mention fees on your website, again, just put something in the chat for this, if you would, to explain your reason for not doing it. Is it just because you got not got around to it yet? Have you got a concern or a worry that we can deal with today? What’s the reason for not doing it? So if you do, what’s the reason you’ve done it? and if you don’t do it, what’s the reason you don’t do it? That will be great. Right, So, that’s the current state of play. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of online fee disclosure. So, the pros, the reasons to do it. And it’d be interesting to compare these reasons, with the reasons that people put in the chat. So for pros, as we see it, first: it proves transparency, and builds trust. A lot of advice planning websites, will talk about the fact that their business is transparent, we’re open, we’re honest, we’re transparent, we’re clear in all our dealings with clients. That’s brilliant. But as we’ve often said, showing beads telling. And one of the ways, not the only way, but one of the ways of proving and demonstrating transparency, is to disclose your fees online. From the feedback I get, that’s one of the key reasons why firms do it. And of course, it does build trust, as well. If someone is prepared, if a prospect sees it, and sees it is an adviser or financial planner that is prepared to disclose their fees, that’s going to help to build trust. The feedback I get from advisers that I talked to that disclose fees online, is that it makes the first meetings easier. prospects have often looked at the fees page. And therefore, they’re coming into that first meeting with their eyes wide open as to what they’ll pay. Clearly, there’s no guarantee that every prospect will have looked at that page. But the feedback I get from advisers is that it does make those first meetings easier. Third reason, enquiry selection. And the feeling from advisers who do this, is that having a fees page on your website, disclosing the pounds, shillings, and pence, filters out those prospects who are particularly focused on cost, rather than value. There’s a feeling that it helps to filter out some of those enquiries. And then, it helps you stand out from the crowd. If you are the 1 in 10, who discloses your fees online, and the prospect is looking at your website and maybe a couple of other adviser/planner websites. And remember, competition happens online, and happens before you meet the client. It’s very rare that competition happens around a meeting room table or a zoom call as it is these days is, as I’m told, it’s rare that advisers/planners are in beauty parades. But, competition does happen and it happens online, and it happens before you’ve met the prospect. And that’s because the prospect is looking at more than one advice planning firm. They’re considering different options before deciding who to reach out to. If you therefore put your fees on your website, and you’re the 1 in 10, you will stand out from the crowd. So those are the four reasons why advisers and planners put fees on their website. So Abi, What have people said about why they’re doing it? What are the people who’ve said that they’re doing it, what are the reasons they’re doing it?
Abi Robinson 14:58
Well, there’s loads of great answers, just having a look at people who do do it. Laura says that they disclose their fees online because they want to be transparent with their clients, so the clients know exactly what services are going to cost and it helps to bring in quality leads. Similarly, from Mark, he says he doesn’t want to get time wasters, wants to be transparent. Michelle shares that view, doesn’t want it to be a barrier to using services. Not wasting people’s time both leads’ and their time, Matt says. More about transparency, quite a lot of the same comments. Want to attract more clients who are aware of costs, helps with target audience, and the last comment from Lee is, we disclose fees on our website because, one, we think potential clients want it, and see it as a positive demonstration of openness. And two, it avoids the difficult fee conversation later down the line.
Phil Bray 15:54
Thank you Lee, you could have written this presentation. Thank you for that. Right, so those are the pros. And it sounds as though our pros are very similar, very reflective for the audience today. What are the cons? What are the reasons not to do it? The first, and again this is what advisers tell me, I’ll come to you in a minute Abi and see what everybody else is saying it the room. The cons are just the time and the ability to get it right. As we’ll see in a bit, there are a bunch of things you should do to get your fees page right. And a bunch of things that actually, they’re mistakes, you shouldn’t do. And it’s a really important page on your website, so you’ve got to get it right. And that’s because, your homepage will always be the most popular page on your website, but, if you’ve got a fees page, our research shows that your fees page will be the second or third most visited page. Now, of course, some of those visits will be from other financial advisors wanting to have a little nose at what you’re charging. But a lot of those visits will be from prospective clients. And therefore, if you don’t add the five things on, if you do make those six mistakes, your fees page is going to be less effective than it might be, it might turn people off and have an opposite effect of what you’re trying to do. So therefore, one of the reasons that firms don’t build these pages is the time to get it right. Next reason is lowered lead levels. Again, in my experience, it will dampen down the number of enquiries that a firm gets. Therefore, because that filtering effect, you might miss out on some enquiries, which would have come in if you had not got the fees page, you would have had the fees discussion, they would have been happy and become clients. So it can potentially dampen, reduce the number of leads or enquiries that come into a firm. And then again, I’ve had a few people write a piece for money marketing last week, and Julian Stephens commented on that. And basically said, I’m paraphrasing a little bit, but basically said he doesn’t how much he charges until he’s done the fact find and see what the clients have got. And I think we might have had a similar comment in from Giles to that effect. And therefore, there is a concern sometimes, that correctly representing your fees on the page isn’t the easiest thing to do, and is often a barrier to building a fees page. So, those are the three cons: ability/time to get it right, lower lead levels, and accuracy of fees, that we’ve previously identified talking to advisors and planners. Abi, is there anything to add in?
Abi Robinson 18:44
Much of the same, Claire has commented that she’s worried it will put people off before they talk to them. A bit of honesty from Andrew, saying that he just hasn’t got round to it. Equally from Ben, it’s indifference really, just needs to get round to updating his websites in general. David commented that, as we know, he wants to start disclosing fees, but in the past he’s had a view that that might mean target clients wouldn’t engage without the context of the value that they add, which I think is probably quite a common concern. Charles has said, again quite honestly, that he hadn’t considered it, the webinar invite was the first time he’d really had it put in front of him. And Giles’s comment is that, he doesn’t disclose because he often discounts fees if clients are coming to him with only a couple of investments or pensions, and so discussing it at the client meeting and giving them an idea of cost there allows for that context to be shared.
Phil Bray 19:39
There’s a couple of people, Jade and Natalie, talking about how you demonstrate value and we will talk about that shortly. Because this has to be a conversation about value or this has to be representation of value, not just the amount charged. So that’s the pros and cons of online fee disclosure. And as I said earlier, you’ve got to decide what’s right for your business. But if you’re going to do it, then these are the five things we believe you must include on your fees page. So, the first, pretty obviously, is your fees. This is a fees page, if you are disclosing your fees, that’s the place to start, you’ve got to disclose your fees. And for me, you need to disclose your fees for each stage of the process. The initial planning fee if you charge an initial planning fee, the implementation, the ongoing fee. You need to disclose your fees at each stage of the process. I had a conversation recently with a firm who wanted to disclose their planning fee and implementation fee, but they didn’t want to talk about their ongoing fee on the website. Well, that’s going to lead to a whole world of pain in conversations with the client. When the client comes in, they’re going to say, well, actually, I’ve seen these two fees didn’t know about this one, I need to go away and consider it. It’s the kind of opposite of being transparent. So, show your fees at every stage of the planning process, the advice process, and be precise, show your exact fees. I’ve seen some fees pages on websites where they quote a range. And I can think of one famous example, I won’t name the firm, where for the planning fee it says “we charge between £2,500 to £10,000 to produce the financial plan.” Now that is neither use nor ornament to anybody. People won’t know what the fee is, they won’t get the information that they need. And some people will anchor to the £2,500, and if the planning fee comes in at £7,500, they’re not going to be happy. Other people might anchor to the £10,000, even though in reality, they might get charged £3000, and therefore because they’ve anchored to the higher end, they’re not going to get in touch. Anchoring is such an important thing, it’s covered often in ‘Never Split the Difference’ by Chris Voss a book that I’d never knowingly not recommend. But anchoring is just incredibly important, and that’s why a range is really quite pointless. And so, if you’re putting your fees on, first of the five things, obviously show your fees, show precise fees, and for each stage of the process. The next, we now start talking about the features of your service. So, what are the features? What do I get for my planning fee? What do I get for the implementation? And what do I get for the ongoing? And it’s really important that you’re positioning, this is design aspect on the page, But it’s really important that you are positioning the fee next to the feature. So, fee – feature, fee – feature, fee -feature, stack them on top of each other, put them side by side. But incredibly important, that the features and the fees are shown side by side. And then, position the fee next to the text as said, but use plain English. I’ve seen some fees pages, which use jargon that I don’t understand, and I started in financial services in 1995, I’d like to think I’d understand most words that might get used by a financial adviser or planner. But I’ve seen some fees pages that I just can’t cut through the language being used. So if someone that’s experienced in financial services can’t do it, what chance has a prospect? someone who might become a client. So, use plain English. And it’s really important, as we’ll talk about in a bit, that the services, the features of the service are on the same pages as the fees. Sometimes I’ve seen firms do websites where you’ve got a fees page, and you’ve got a services page, there’s no guarantee that someone is going to move from the fees page to the services page. In fact, they probably won’t. They might look at the fees pages, see no context around it in terms of features, benefits, and the other stuff we’re going to talk about and leave. So you’ve got to put it all in one place. And you might feel as though, as we’re going to go through these five things, that actually, this page is going to be so long, people aren’t going to read it. But I’ve got some evidence to show you in a minute that they will, so just bear with me. So, the second thing is showing the features of your service next to the fees. Third thing you should include on there: the benefits of working with you. So, we’ve shown the fees, we’ve shown the features, we now need to show the benefit. Nick Parkhouse who’s our Head of Content is brilliant on this and about writing for benefits rather than features. And there’s a number of ways of showing the benefits of working with you. And it’s always better, as I said before, and will say regularly, it’s better to show the benefits of working with you, show the value you provide, rather than tell people about the value that you provide. So what could you do? You could put client videos on the fees page to demonstrate the value of working with you, demonstrate the benefit of working with you. You could embed in your ratings and reviews. It’s very straightforward to embed using the widgets from vouched for and Google. You could put your client survey results in there. So hopefully, in your client survey, you’re asking questions around value, you’re asking questions about fee levels etc. you could put the results of that in there as well. And you could, if you don’t have any of that stuff, you could put third party research in there. So, there is some research from the world London, and the Institute of longevity, that talks about the value of advice. We’ve got the Vanguard adviser alpha, that shows the value that financial planning adds, now I don’t think personally, that that’s as powerful as videos, ratings and reviews, and client surveys, but all that could work. We’ve even got a guide on the Yardstick shop, which talks about the value of advice. So that could be put on that page as well. But personally, I would try and make it as individual and as personal as possible, which is why client videos are really, really important. But you could do any of those, videos, ratings and reviews, client survey results, etc. But you do need to show the benefits of working with you. And number four, I think we need to show some worked examples. And the reason you need this, is, well there’s twofold really, the first is, it shows the typical client that you work with. This starts to explain who you work with, and by definition therefore, who you don’t work with. But it also starts to marry up the ongoing fee with the type of client. And so next to your ongoing fees, where you disclose that, you might have a couple of different levels, you might only have one, but put a couple of worked examples in there. John and Jane came to us with this situation, we charged them this for the initial fee, this for the implementation, this for ongoing, these are the benefits that John and Jane have obtained from working with us. You might even have a video showing john and jane explaining the benefits. So it’s all linked together. Really important that we do show some worked examples on there. And finally, a comparison. Now, I think this works if you charge less for your fees. I was chatting to a financial planner last week, whose ongoing fee is half a percent, 0.5% I know that’s below average. All the research seems to show that the average ongoing fee, if it’s expressed as a percentage is somewhere between 0.78% and 0.8%. So I know this particular financial planner is charging less. So that’s a point I would be making on the fees page. Or if you charge differently. So if you charge fixed fees, and actually that has a benefit to the client, for example, the fee doesn’t rise in line with the value of the portfolio. Or actually the fixed fee turns out to be less than the percentage based at a certain point for investors with a certain value. So, if you do charge less, or do you charge differently, think about putting a comparison on your website. And there are multiple sources of fee research The Lancar have done stuff, there’s a couple of FCA papers that show the average fees being charged. So as I say, if you do charge less each I definitely put a comparison on there so people can see how you compare with others. Abi did I see a couple of things coming on the chat on the Q&A?
Abi Robinson 29:29
Yeah, no questions as such, just a little bit more in the way of explaining why people are perhaps a little bit uncomfortable about disclosing fees. One comment that it’s commoditising what they do, and they’d rather just discuss it in person. Again, same fear of losing enquiries would rather just explain it then have to justify the fees. And then another comment that they get to disclose fees because they haven’t been able to convince senior advisors that it’s worthwhile to do so. So just more in the way of barriers in than questions.
Phil Bray 30:02
Yeah, thank you. As I said at the start, we’re not preaching a right or wrong way to do this. We’re hopefully laying out some useful information and ways to do it, if you decide to do it. And it is an interesting point, with larger firms, convincing larger groups of advisers and planners that this is the right way to go. It would be an interesting next step on our research to break those 500 firms down into large, medium and small firms. How we would find that, we’d have to give it some thought, and just see if there’s any difference between small firms and large firms about whether they disclose fees online. So those are the five things that we believe you must be putting on to your fees page. And you’re probably sat there, right now thinking, that’s quite a lot of stuff to get on a page, the page is going to be long. And you’re right, the page is going to be long, but the average time spent on these pages is significantly higher than on other pages. While we were preparing for this webinar, and actually this is the result of a blog that we wrote a while ago, we looked at three fees pages that we’d built for firms, and we looked at the average length of visit time. Now this is the visit time, or time spent on this page. So, someone will have come onto the website, they’ll have looked at maybe the homepage and a couple of others, but this is the time that they spent on the fees page, not the total visit. So, 3 mins 49 secs, 2 mins 53 secs, 2 mins 32 secs, that’s the average time a bunch of visitors have spent on that page. So that’s a really long time in the in the online world, to capture someone’s attention for nearly 3 minutes, or nearly 4 minutes, it’s a significant investment of time on someone’s behalf. So it’s pretty clear that people who are looking at fees pages, are absolutely interested in the information that is being displayed. And we just compare that to the average length of all visits to a financial adviser’s planning website. On all pages, the average is 88 seconds, on these pages, we’re approaching 2.5, 3, even 4 minutes. So, we’ve got time to get our key points across, we’ve got time to show those five things, to show the fees, show the features, show the benefits, show the value, show comparisons, etc. Having said that, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to invest the time and money if you outsource it to getting this right, because it is easy to make mistakes. And if you make mistakes, some of those reasons why people who are a bit nervous about putting fees on their websites, may happen. So, these are the six mistakes, we see advisors and planners making with their fees. So the first of those mistakes is linking out to PDFs of client or fee agreements. So there might be a line on the website saying to learn what our fees are, click this link, someone clicks the link, and it opens their terms of business, or their fee agreements. And about half the firms that were disclosing their fees online to about half of the 11%. We’re doing it this way. And it’s 100% the wrong way to do it for a few reasons. The first is that terms of business and client agreements, fee agreements are generally relatively lengthy documents. They generally, not always, but they generally don’t have the information in there to prove value. They are generally as well, written, in large part not always, but in large part, to satisfy your regulatory obligations, as opposed to client communications. And then also you’ve got the issues of PDFs on mobile devices. It’s really difficult to read a PDF on a mobile device. So first issue is linking out, it’s just not the most effective way to do it, from a user experience perspective and also, just displaying the information, it’s very difficult to display those five things. Second mistake that we’ve already spoken about is quoting broad ranges. So, we charge between £3000 and £10,000 for financial planning. That’s great, I don’t have a clue what I’m going to be paying if I come to you for a financial plan, and as I said earlier, I might anchor to the lower end and be disappointed when I get charged more, I might anchor to the upper end and never actually get in touch despite the fact for my circumstances, you might only charge me £3500. Number three, hiding your fees page away. For me, if you’re going to do this and get the benefits from doing it, you need to be making it really easy for people on your website to find the fees page. And that for me means putting it in the main navigation. So if you imagine the main navigation of a website, you might have the About Us, Team Page, Contact Page, Blog, etc, it should sit in that main navigation ideally. And if you don’t want to put it the main navigation, then maybe put it in a drop down. But don’t hide it away. Don’t put the only link on your fees page in some obscure section on a page on your website that people won’t visit, because you won’t actually get the benefits of doing it. And there are undoubted reasons to do it, you’ve got to decide if they outweigh the disadvantages, but there are undoubted reasons to do it. And you’re not going to get the benefit of those reasons if you hide your fees page away. So make sure your fees page is really easy to find. The best way of doing that is to put it in the main navigation. Abi did I see something coming in from Sam?
Abi Robinson 36:17
Yeah, a couple of comments. I missed one from Justin earlier asking if he was allowed to be reassuringly expensive. And then Sam commented that is it possible to build a widget, say with a slider, that prospects can interact with to estimate fees? He thinks he might have seen that on a Schroeder’s website. I don’t know if you want to tackle that one before Andrews comment?
Phil Bray 36:36
Yeah, I’ll tackle them both. So, is it possible to be reassuringly expensive? Yeah, I think it is. I absolutely think it is. I’ve got a couple of real life examples recently at Yardstick. I do think it is possible to be reassuringly expensive, but, I still think you’ve got to demonstrate value. I think there’s a point where your fees could go low, so low that somebody questions value, but if you’re charging what is, a relatively large amount of money, for financial advice/ financial planning, I still think you’ve got to demonstrate value. I don’t think you can just do fees, I think you got to demonstrate value. Hopefully that answers that question. Sam, yes, absolutely. We have built a couple of fees calculators for firms, I think the best example is on the Smith and Wardle website, which won Professional Advisor Best Website award in 2021. And that’s one we’ve designed, developed, and written, but that’s got a detailed fees page on there, and it’s got, it’s got a calculator on there, Sam. So, we build, I wouldn’t say we build it a lot, but once or twice a year, we will build a fees calculator, that allows prospective clients to go on to a firm’s website and actually calculate the fees they will pay. So hopefully that answers your question Sam. Abi, one thing in from Andrew?
Abi Robinson 38:07
Yes. I’ve just included the link to the Smith and Wardle fees page in our follow up Sam, so you can take a look at that, when that goes out this afternoon. But yeah, Andrew just commented to ask if we have six or so good examples of websites, that in your opinion Phil, disclose fees well? and he’s looking at going a charging model based on client complexity, and is that easy to articulate in a fees page?
Phil Bray 38:31
Fixed might be pushing it, but yeah, we can certainly give some examples. I think the Smith and Wardle was a really powerful example. Good example, on Darren Cook’s website at Red Circle, think that works well, that just so happened to win Best Website Award in 2020. But those are two really good examples. In terms of charging based on complexity, I think I have seen that done, especially for ongoing fees, and even implementation. I have seen that done. And ideally, you want to break that client complexity, down to a really simple level when it comes to fees. Everyone’s got a different definition of complexity. Andrew, so you might want to give us a shout and let us look at your fee structure, and I can tell you how easy or difficult it will be to explain it online. But I still think it’s possible. Anything else Abi?
Abi Robinson 39:31
Alistair just wondered, should your experience and qualification be used to support your fees or higher fees?
Phil Bray 39:44
I think client outcomes are a more powerful way of supporting fees and higher fees, it’s good question hence the slow answer, but I think the outcomes that you deliver for clients, the meaningful change you deliver in their lives, the confidence you give them, the reassurance, the peace of mind, maybe to spend money, for example, or take big decisions. I think that’s far more powerful to demonstrate the value of planning and support fees, than your experience or qualifications. Experience or qualifications will help you deliver the planning, deliver the advice, but for me, it’s the outcomes that you help clients achieve that are far more powerful. I hope that answers the question Alistair, to your satisfaction. Chris, is there something from Chris Abi?
Abi Robinson 40:50
Yeah, just consumer duty outcome for price and value. He thinks he’s bound to have an influence.
Phil Bray 40:57
Agreed, I think that’s probably a bigger picture about whether the clients feel they are getting value for money. But a lot of the FCA initiatives, we’re going back to TCF right the way up to consumer duty, a lot of it is kind of underpinned by transparency. And I’m in no way saying that, that should be a reason to do it. But if we can start having that value conversation, then yes, it does play into consumer duty, Chris. Absolutely. Thanks, everybody for the questions, very thoughtful questions. So, we’ve done the first three of them mistakes, what are the next three? So, next three. As I said earlier, putting fees pages and service pages, putting fees and services on different pages of the website, they absolutely should be on the same page. Because as I said earlier, there is no guarantee that if somebody visits your fees page, they are then going to obediently go and navigate to the Services page, there is a high chance it will not happen. So you need to give all the information in the same place. Not explaining the features or the benefits. So, two issues here, the first I’ve seen some fees pages where it just puts fees on there, the fees are slapped on, someone thinks that’s the job done, but there’s no effort made to explain the features or the benefits. And of course, the features and benefits of the other side of the value coin, and really important that they are displayed. And again, if you’ve got benefits, don’t imagine that somebody is going to, again, obediently navigate from your fees page, to your client video page. So, there’s no guarantee that someone’s going to read your fees page, and then think, oh, I need to go and find out the value of working with this planner and visit your videos page, it just doesn’t work like that. It needs to be in one place. And then lastly, not investing the time to get it right. And I think there’s various tell-tale signs that firms haven’t been able to invest the time to get it right. Putting a PDF of your client agreement or fee agreement on there is such a tell-tale sign. Just putting the fees on there, and not doing the other things, not showing the features, the benefits, the value, comparisons, worked examples. That’s another good example. And as I said earlier, this is going to be an incredibly popular page on your website if you’re doing it, it will be the second or third most popular, and therefore, you need to get it right. This isn’t something that can be done really really quickly. And you’ve got to think about whether it’s right for your business, and then think about how you get it right. So, to help you get it right, a little freebie. We have developed an online scorecard. We’re doing more and more of these scorecards, we did one last month, which looks at how impressive you were to prospects on their digital journey to your door. And this is our second scorecard, that will help you get your fees page, right. So, if you have a fees page on your website, Abi can you put the link in the chat if that’s okay? unless you’ve already done it, you’re probably ahead of me. It takes about three minutes, you need your website open, you need your scorecard open. It’s completely free, you just put your name and email address in there, but you’ve had to do that to sign up for the webinar anyway. So you’re not giving us any information that we don’t already have. So put your name, put your email address in there, and answer the questions I think there’s 12 or 13 of them. It will take you three minutes, and you’ll get the results instantly to your inbox and on the screen. And it will show you where your fees page is effective, and where your fees page could be improved. So, I hope that’s really useful to you. And so, that’s it for today, I’m going to just talk about a couple of future webinars and questions. But I really hope that has been useful, help you to understand what your fellow advisors and planners are doing. And we to understand the pros and cons of developing a fees page. The five things you should include on there, and the six mistakes. So in terms of future events, future webinars, our next webinar is on Wednesday the 22nd of March, I’m not entirely sure on the topic yet, it’ll be something about referrals, recommendations. And we also have our first workshop of the year. And again, that’s about referrals and recommendations, specifically how to build a successful referral strategy. Our webinars are always free, workshops are charged at £95, plus VAT. It’s a really deep dive over the course of a couple of hours in how advisors and planners can build successful referral and recommendation strategies. All our data shows that most firms have no strategy in place, are not intentional, and any referrals that come in are effectively accidental. And we got to put that right. Well we’re going to start putting that right with that workshop. We’ll take you through the reasons why firms don’t get recommendations, which are called the Dirty Dozen, we’ll take you through the two assets you need to create, we’ll take you through the six steps to have a better referral conversation. So that’s 10am, Wednesday, in March (22/03/23). If you want to stay in touch with me. You’ve got the Yardstick website, https://theyardstickagency.co.uk/, go and connect on LinkedIn, I’d be delighted to connect with you on there, I try and put a marketing hints or tips up once a day. If you’ve got any comments after today’s webinar, really happy to hear from you on email or on Twitter. But that’s it for today, I’m really happy to answer any questions you’ve got, but I hope it’s been useful. I hope it has given you some food for thought about why you might put fees on your website, why you might not do it. And if you do decide to do it, how to do it. Abi, over to you, any questions?
Abi Robinson 47:20
Not yet, but it might be worth mentioning while people are coming up with a good question about the first Lunch and Learn perhaps.
Phil Bray 47:27
Yes, So on the 21st of March 2023, we’ve got our first Lunch and Learn session, Lunch and Learns are going to be interviews with people that we think are going to be really interesting, and we want to hear from. And the first lunch and learn we have got a guest from Glassdoor. Now, Glassdoor is an online rating review platform for businesses. So, it allows employees, current employees and previous employees to go and rate, and leave comments about their employer. Now normally, when we talk about that, you get a business owners shaped hole in the wall, they can think of nothing they would rather do less than do this. But there are huge benefits to the business of doing it. Yardstick we now have I think 23 reviews on Glassdoor out of 45 employees. And it’s been a tremendous help for our recruitment. Recruiters are coming to us, and they are referencing our Glassdoor reviews, prospective clients are coming to us and referencing our Glassdoor reviews, because they want to work with a firm that looks after its employees. So, if you’ve ever wondered about Glassdoor, you’re nervous about it, then that webinar is for you, that lunch and learn is for you. Bring a sandwich, your camera will be off, and we can all have a chat about Glassdoor. Thank you for the comment there Abi.
Abi Robinson 48:56
No, no worries. And in the meantime, Charles has come up with a good question. So, would you recommend this for mortgage application fees as much as financial planning or would you differentiate?
Phil Bray 49:08
Good question. Um, I think a lot of the reasons to do it are the same, with one caveat. I think I would look at what your peers and competitors are doing. The mortgage market, in my perception, is a bit more fast moving, it’s a bit more competitive, and you’ve got those pesky estate agents trying to push clients to their in-house advisor, and maybe using some tactics that they shouldn’t to do that. Charles, it’s good question. I think a lot of the reasons for doing it, or not doing it stand. But I would just overlay a bit of competitor analysis. And one thing I would say, is if you don’t charge a broker fee, then absolutely you should be talking about it. That should be emblazoned all over your website. So, I hope that helps a bit Charles. Right, doesn’t look as though we’ve got anything else Abi?
Abi Robinson 50:14
No just a lot of thank you-s, David has asked if we can perhaps get some time in with him one to one which we would be more than happy to do. But no, I think we’re good.
Phil Bray 50:24
Thank you, David. We can absolutely do that. Right everybody, hope you enjoyed today’s webinar. We’ll see you in March for a webinar, a workshop and our lunch and learn. Cheers everybody. Bye bye.
Abi Robinson 50:35
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