It’s something all salespeople dread. Working hard on an offer, sending it to a potential client, and hearing those five terrible words: “Can I get a discount?” At this point, many salespeople decide to simply accommodate the request to secure the sale. However, this is a mistake; offering a discount on your very first contract with a customer is problematic.
First, it dilutes the value of any future sales, as those buyers know that all they need to do to get a discount is ask. This is a key reason why loyal customers spend 67% more than brand-new customers throughout repeat purchases. It also impacts your customer’s perception of your brand and your product or service.
A high-quality offering is always well worth its original price. Accommodating discount requests also creates additional work for your sales team; if a customer demands a discount each time, they’ll contact their sales rep directly to complete returning purchases instead of placing their order through self-service platforms.
Given these points, it’s no surprise that discounts do not always have a strong positive impact on businesses. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can move the conversation away from discounts by focusing on the real problem or offering something else. Here are four compromises you can suggest in lieu of offering your customers a discount:
1. Revisit the deliverables timeline
When a customer asks for a discount, they’re looking for one of two things: a bit more value than you offered or a way to fit your proposal into the budget. A discount isn’t required to satisfy either of these requirements. In fact, all you need to do is take a look at the delivery timeline.
If your customer is looking for more value, you can consider finding a way to deliver the finished product quicker. If it’s a simple order, expedited shipping could do the trick. If it’s a project or custom order, you could try moving it up a bit.
On the other hand, if your customer is truly just stressed about the cost of the engagement, ask for their flexibility on the deliverables timeline before you adjust pricing. If they’re willing to wait, you could work on their project when it’s convenient, making it easier for your team to fulfill your end of the contract.
2. Change your proposal’s scope
Not every client has the same needs. If they’re looking for a discount, it could simply mean you’re offering too much for them. Take a look at the scope of your proposal and see if there’s anything on your quote that isn’t a necessity for the client. By removing extraneous options and tightening the scope, you can lower the price and keep the client happy.
3. Offer friendly payment terms
Some customers will ask for a discount simply because they’re going to have trouble paying for everything upfront. For large sales, you can’t let this be an issue. Almost 40% of all invoices in the U.S. are paid late anyway, so you might as well try to find a deposit method that works for both companies. Offer to let them pay in monthly increments over a year or two, or as services are rendered. They’ll have less crunch on their cashflow and you’ll receive fair market price, making everybody happy.
4. Provide additional, low-margin services
If a customer presses hard for a discount, you need to try and offer them something extra instead. If they’re looking for a $200 discount, for example, try to find something that’s worth $200 you can offer them instead.
This could be a personalized training session, expanded support, or an extended service contract. Doing something like this shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond, and that your company has plenty to offer. Your relationship will be much stronger than if you simply agree to shave $200 off the quote.
Saying ‘no’ to a customer asking for a discount is frightening, but if you have another suggestion lined up, you’ll be able to close the deal more often than not. Make sure to focus on what the customer truly needs and the real problem at hand, and you’ll have no problem training your customers to forget all about discounts.
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