Do You Disclose Your Compensation?

I have a question for you today. What do you tell your clients when they ask you how much you’re getting paid to represent them? Do you disclose it, or do you try and figure out a way to weasel out of the situation and not have to answer the question?

My question today is, do you disclose your compensation to your clients? I was following a thread in one of the forums online, and somebody was complaining because they had a client ask them to disclose exactly how much they were making to handle their account. And the responses were varied, but by and large, the victim police came out, and everybody stood behind this person, saying, “You should never have to tell them what it is that you make. You shouldn’t have to disclose that to anybody. All they’re going to want to do is take a piece of it back for themselves.”

Why are you afraid to disclose your compensation?

This behavior is the craziest mindset I think that I’ve ever heard. I have no problem at all telling people what I make because guess what? I earn it. If you’re not providing value, I can understand why you might not want to let somebody know how much you’re getting compensated for handling their account. I can tell you, in my entire career, there’s only a handful of times that a middle-market company has had to ask me what I’m getting paid, and usually, it’s because I just haven’t gotten to that part of the presentation yet. I disclose my earnings and my agency’s earnings every single time. You don’t have to make it a serious conversation. If somebody asks, say, “You know what? I’m so glad you asked. That’s my favorite topic! I love to talk about my compensation.”

Are you delivering value?

If you’re afraid to tell somebody how much you’re getting paid, I have to question if you’re delivering value that’s going to get you to the level of the commissions you earn. If you’re not, you deserve to lose the account because you’re not earning your pay.

Explain your compensation in relatable terms.

Here’s a fact. If you have companies out there that are hammering you about how much you’re getting paid and you don’t have a good response, tell them what I tell them. These small businesses are the ones that hammer you the most, which is one reason why I live in the middle market these days. But ask them a question. Do you expect me to make less than a server in a restaurant to protect your most valuable assets? See, we get compensated, by and large, 10 to 15% commission, and in some cases more. Why should we make less percentage of the sale than the person that’s keeping your beer full and cold and the wings coming?

Don’t hide from your client

Guys, I hate to tell you, but if you’ve got a problem disclosing that you make as much, or even less, than the person bringing you the bottomless fries at Red Robin, then you probably need to look at yourself.   Become comfortable with what you’re offering and what you’re doing, and then figure out a way to have that conversation. There’s never a reason for you not to disclose it.

Know what your state says

And truthfully, in many jurisdictions, you have to disclose compensation, so you probably need to check with your state government and the insurance department before you make any rash decisions to keep information to yourself. Listen, coldblooded killers have no problem talking about what the bounty is. We’re going to let somebody know what it costs to engage with us and to keep us around. If you can change your mindset and embrace what it is that you get paid and learn to solve problems and charge for that like an accountant or an attorney does, you’re not only going to get treated like the accountant, and the attorney does, you’re going to kill it in commercial insurance.

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