The Strategist For Those Impatient To Do Great Things, and Frustrated With The Usual Methods

The 17 Words That Raised A Fee 150%

My friend Andy is an executive coach. He had an enquiry from a big law firm about coaching some of their senior partners. Would he be interested? Of course he would.

But then came the question we all hate:

“What’s your hourly rate?”

Normally my advice is to stay away from hourly rates at all costs, but here we are dealing with lawyers. Their whole professional lives revolve around the billable hour. You’d have a better chance of persuading the Pope to convert to Islam than of getting lawyers to think about fees in any other way.

So I suggested this instead:

“My hourly rate for coaching is the same as the hourly rate of the lawyer I’m coaching”

This seems so reasonable that it would be perverse for anyone to disagree, but the result was that my friend started coaching senior lawyers for £500 per hour while another coach we know, just as good, struggles to get beyond £200 per hour because he works with industrial companies whose executives don’t have hourly rates. Imagine what a difference that made my friend’s practice, and what it would make to yours.

But, you may say, “this is a great little trick for coaching for lawyers, but I don’t do coaching, or don’t work with lawyers, so how does it help me?”

It helps you because it contains a principle which can be extended to the pricing of any form of professional service. And is rooted in human basic psychology.

The Principle is this.


Nobody, ever, evaluates a price in isolation. They can’t. They always evaluate it by comparison with something else.

It is your responsibility to give your prospect a point of comparison which makes sense to them and produces a good result for you. 

If you do not do this, then they will evaluate your price either:

  • By reference to a “going rate” – a market rate, or what they are used to paying or, even worse,
  • The cost of doing the work  themselves, which of course looks like zero.

If you are interested in how the principle might apply to your business and help you get paid what you are truly worth, I’d happily spend 30 minutes with you on Zoom. (Not a sales conversation; that can come later if we both think it makes sense). The link to book is here.

What Other People Say

“In the first month, not only did the adjustments we made pay for Alastair’s fees, we identified enough opportunities to pay for the engagement 30 times over the next three years.

We unearthed highly valuable and unique skills that we had been underselling, and now have an entirely new vision for the future of the company. 

We made more progress in an hour a week with Alastair over 4 months than we had in the previous 4 years.”

Sarah Lafferty, Round Earth Consulting

Working with Alastair has had a massive impact already. Moving away from billing hours and £s towards focussing on value has been liberating. It has removed a lot of the noise and given us a lot more confidence in ourselves and the value of what we do. We’re looking forward to the results from 3-4 proposals we have out which are at much higher prices than before.”

Jo Hind, Bird Soup Consultancy

“At Curated we have an ability to look into our clients’ businesses and see things that they can’t because they are too close. It was amazing how an outsider was able to do the same for us, particularly an outsider who draws on multiple different sources. I have never met anyone like Alastair who can bring ideas from psychology, sociology, philosophy and even management theory to bear productively on business issues. We can’t properly calculate the ROI on our work with him because many benefits are still to come, but we are already beyond 10x”

Simon Douglass, Curated Digital