How to Create a WIN/WIN When a Prospect Requests a Discount
Author: Connie Scholl
The good news is that when a prospective client asks for a discount, he's usually interested in obtaining your services.
However, the way in which you handle this request will ultimately have an effect on the value that is placed on you and your services by this potential client.
If you immediately say "yes," and offer your service at a discounted rate, what do you think your potential client is going to think?
You can bet it's probably something along these lines:
• "Hmmm...She sounds like she'll work for peanuts. She must not be very good if she's this desperate for my business."
• "I wonder how far he'll lower his price to get me as a client? Maybe I should push the envelope a bit more and ask for an even bigger discount."
• "I guess the original fee was not 'real.' Am I being deceived here? I don't get the feeling I can really trust this person."
• "I guess she doesn't think she's worth her fee, or she wouldn't have been so quick to discount in the first place."
• "Wow. That was easy. I'm never going to pay this guy his regular rate. I'm going to make a mental note to ALWAYS ask for a discount whenever I need his services."
You see, when you instantly give a discount without asking for anything in return, you create a win/lose situation--and guess who loses? What's worse is that just because you've agreed to give a discount, doesn't mean you'll get the sale. Over 85% of the time, discounting actually damages your credibility--to the extent that your prospect who was, up until moments ago, ready to hire you, no longer trusts you, nor wants to do business with you.
But hold on!
What if you were to handle this conversation in an entirely different way?
Let's say you respond to the discount request with a question such as, "Tell me, Mr. so and so, why is it that you would like a discount?"
By asking this question, you'll have a better understanding as to the WHY part of the request. Based on his response, you can proceed using either one of the following solutions:
Solution Number One:
Use this approach if you'd like to do business with the prospect, but you think money truly is a barrier to him obtaining your services. Lower your price by removing something of value from your service. This provides a win/win scenario. The person gets your service, but at a lower price (and you continue to maintain the integrity of your fee). Try saying something like, "If money is an issue for you, then I suggest shorter sessions, or removing this part of the service." (Choose something that has a perceived high value.) Your prospect clearly needs to see and understand that in order for her to get a discount on your service, she must forgo a certain amount of value in exchange. (You could always simply ask what she would like to exclude when she asks you to discount.) Your potential clients need to know that there is a "cost" for lowering your fees.
Solution Number Two:
Instead of taking something away, ask for something in exchange! For example, let's say you provide administrative services for an hourly rate of $40/hr. You might agree to discount your hourly fee by $5-$10.00/hr if this prospect is prepared to hire you for a minimum of 20 hours a week for the next three months (or if he purchases from you by a certain date). Use the prospect's request for a discount as an opportunity to secure yourself more business!
The key to creating a WIN/WIN when a prospect requests a discount is to simply make him aware of WHY you are willing to lower your fees.
(c) Connie Scholl 2006
About the author: Connie Scholl of http://ConnieCoach.com provides self-employed service professionals with simple, effective and low-cost marketing solutions designed to quickly jump-start sales and consistently generate new clients. Get free marketing tips and "how-to-articles" at http://www.conniecoach.com.
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