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3 Keys to Correctly Pricing and Winning Consulting Engagements


The fact is, pricing consulting services by the hour simply doesn’t work. Firms have to get outside of their comfort zone and price in a different way than they’ve traditionally priced compliance services.

Aug 21st 2020
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Correctly pricing and ultimately winning consulting engagements requires getting a full scope of the service you’ll be providing, setting expectations and having confident pricing conversations. Here are three important steps your firm must understand if you are indeed going to correctly price and win a consulting engagement:

1. Scope of the Engagement

The scope of the engagement comes from the client’s pain points. What are they hoping to get from you? For example, if you’re delivering a strategic planning engagement, the client’s pain points might be:

  • The company’s leaders don’t feel like they are aligned on the vision for the organization
  • They don’t have a documented one-page vision to share with their team

The client wants to work with someone who has authority and expertise in their industry and the skills to facilitate the process. That’s you! But how many days will you have to spend onsite to get everyone on the same page? And how will you deliver ongoing accountability to help the client complete the strategic planning process and start making progress toward their goals?

2. Expectations

Getting an understanding of the client’s expectations ensures you’re both on the same page as far as what you will or will not be doing. Without this understanding, you may price a strategic planning engagement envisioning spending two days onsite with one follow-up call for accountability.

If your client was expecting you to be onsite for a full week and to facilitate monthly coaching and accountability calls, they’ll be disappointed no matter the price. Setting expectations also improves the client experience because it helps the client understand your role and their role in the engagement and the deliverables they can expect at the end.

Note: You cannot skip the above step! Expectations are often the difference between success and failure in a consulting engagement.

3. Pricing Conversations

Having pricing conversations is usually the most challenging part for CPAs who are accustomed to pricing by the hour. But with a few tips, you can become more confident in having these conversations:

  • Ask about the budget. Always ask if the client has a budget for the service before giving your price. Some clients might be hesitant to share their budget because they deem it to be “sensitive information.” But understanding the client’s budget is a base upon which you can build ideas to help them find success.
  • Ask about the decision-making process. Who is making the decision, and what factors will they consider when deciding whether to engage your firm? Knowing this ahead of time can ensure you’re speaking to the right people and giving them all of the information they need to hire your firm.
  • Understand your firm’s pricing vision. How does your firm want to price consulting services? Do firm leaders have a vision for value pricing? Packaging multiple services and pricing them? Get a really good understanding of the pricing vision and WHY your services are valuable to the client and worth the price you’re asking. You won’t win every deal, but having this conversation will bring you closer to closing them.
  • Communicate! You want to communicate your pricing to the client in person, either physically or over the phone – not over email. You never want your price to be a surprise.


Whether you’re just starting to explore potential consulting service offerings or already trying to sell engagements, understanding scope, expectations and pricing can help you progress your conversations, land more clients, and ensure you’re not leaving money on the table.

The original article appeared on the Boomer Consulting website.

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