April 16, 2021

Success story (and reader question) from Andrew Potter

Fellow list member Andrew Potter wrote in to share a success story and ask a reader question (shared with permission):

Hi Jonathan.

Firstly, thanks for all the amazing content you’ve shared online. Your new business advice and your 5-page proposal just helped us sell a huge project (±6x our usual price for a project like this) and the client was so inspired by our outcome-based approach that they’ve gone straight for Option 3!

Secondly, this leads me to a semi-related question for you. I’ve scoured your archives and I can’t seem to find any instance of you answering this question in the past:

Q: We’ve got a client/partner that is very pushy about asking for a 10% referral fee (paid in money or discount on invoices) for the other work that they send our way. We don’t like this practice because a) it inflates our costs to offset their referral fee and b) we don’t do that to any other partners that we refer since we would rather we all earn money for our own work and reciprocate freely by referring the right people to our clients where needed and not for a specific fee.

What is your take on Referral/Finders Fees?

P.S. Our new positioning and material is going live at the end of this month just in case you think we skipped over that chapter in your advice :) The fact that we managed to sell the 6x project with our very soggy positioning is truly amazing. We really doubled-down on the Why conversation to make a difference.


Congrats to Andrew on his success! 6x? Wow that’s fabulous :)

Yep, value pricing can be a real game-changer with regard to profitability. If you’re attracting the right kind of clients, it allows you to increase your fees and/or decrease the amount of work you need to do.


Okay, about that question...

What is your take on Referral/Finders Fees?

I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with the concept of referral fees or commissions or affiliate programs, but they’re not for me.


The financial incentives don’t align with my worldview. The way I see it, if I have to pay someone to refer me, then I’m not delivering remarkable results.

Faced with a lack of referrals, my personal solution is “do better work”, not “pay people to recommend my mediocre work.”