When clients insist to pay even when you’ve offered them a free meeting

We do not charge fees at the first meeting. We bring the client in and see what they’re doing and talk to them and then say, “In order to create a financial plan, these are the fees and how we get compensated for the assets and the insurances.” We explain all that at the end of the second meeting, and they have the choice to go ahead with us or not. 

A couple came in for their second meeting. In the first meeting, they’d given us some of their facts, and we produced what we felt was important to them. They wanted to continue as fee-based clients, where they would come in and spend time with us on assessment of what their needs were, and I would charge them by the hour, like an attorney or an accountant. But the part that really blew me away was at the end of the meeting, the husband and the wife both said to me together, “Yes, we’ll come in for a meeting a month later, and we want these questions to be discussed, but you must include the cost of today’s meeting also. We’ll pay you for that time.” 

I was the one who had said that this meeting is on us, and yet they were willing to pay, which was something that took me aback. He was actually about to write a check before I said, “OK, we’ll do it at the next meeting.” That was a new experience. 

Paresh B. Shah, CFP, is a 14-year MDRT member from Hicksville, New York. Hear more in the May episode of the MDRT Podcast:

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