No matter what product or service you sell, you will likely come across customers asking for discounts for various reasons.
As a sales professional, your goal is to close these deals in a way that satisfies the customer, while working within your company’s pricing constraints.
Some companies are very happy to issue discounts. In some cases, on their own timeline (ie. once or twice a year sale, regular discounts and promotions, etc.). In other cases, companies discount as needed to close a specific deal, or based on the unique terms and size of the deal.
And of course, some companies refuse to offer discounts of any kind, preferring to set a price-tag that prospects understand to be firm and equal for all.
Regardless, sales professionals should be prepared for discount requests. And they should have responses ready that will help the negotiation end where everyone is content with the outcome.
Here are 7 effective responses when prospects ask for a discount.
1. Explain how you offer more value than other options
Oftentimes prospects ask for a discount because they think that they can get a better price somewhere else. Unless you’re literally talking about the exact same item, chances are there’s actually a lot that separates your product or service from someone else’s.
This is your opportunity to set the record straight.
Your product may be of higher quality. You may offer functionality others don’t offer. Or your training is superior. Or your guarantee is stronger. You fulfill faster. Your platform is easier to use.
Your best weapon to avoid discounting, is knowing your competitive environment and being able to show prospects how much more value you offer them.
2. Add more value than they were getting
In line with number 1 (or in addition, perhaps) you can also deny the discount request but instead increase the value of the deal. Sweeten the pot, so to speak.
Think about what you can throw in that makes the deal more attractive. Perhaps you have an add-on item that you can include for free. Or an extended warranty or support/training package. Perhaps you can maintain your price, but offer a free trial period to prove the value, or a longer term to the agreement.
All of these options allow you to preserve your price point, but make a deal more compelling and likely to close.
3. Ask the client why the price is an issue
You don’t want to dilute the value of your product or service by offering a discount for no reason.
Asking the customer why the price is preventing them from proceeding is a great way to uncover information that will move the process forward.
Whether that means being able to add something of value for them, or to learn about a competitor you might be competing with, or uncovering the budget they’re working with, it’s a reasonable question that can help lead to a meeting of the minds.
It might also suggest that you’ll never see eye-to-eye on price, and that your time would be better spent with another prospect.
4. Agree, but change the terms
Depending on the product you sell, you could turn a request for a discount into an opportunity to get more business, or build loyalty. For example you might:
- Lengthen the contract – I can do that, but you need to commit to a year.
- Increase the order size – Sure, but the minimum order has to be…
- Remove something else – I can honor that if you pick it up, or install yourself, or…
- Change the scope of the order – I can do that price if you also order Y from me
5. Ask what they feel would be an appropriate discount
If you are prepared to offer a discount, it helps to know what level of discount they’re looking for.
If their request is reasonable, this might be the fastest way to closing a deal because you can simply agree to their request. If their request is unreasonable, you can be honest that there’s too far of a gap and let them go (which will save you time, or perhaps help them come around). And if it’s somewhere in the middle, you can take an opportunity to figure out the best way to come together.
6. Tell them you don’t offer discounts, with a good reason why
If your company does not allow discounts, then naturally you’ve to got to say that. But be prepared with a good reason why.
Simply telling your prospect “no, I can’t” isn’t going to win you many deals. But if you can explain why that’s your company’s policy in a way that makes sense, you’ve given your prospect a compelling reason to give up their request.
A response indicating that your company does a great deal of research to make sure the pricing is competitive will go a long way. Customers who turn down deals because there is no discount often come back because of the strength of your overall offering.
7. Offer a discount, but only if they accept by…
Naturally, if you’re comfortable giving discounts, give them. But be smart about it. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where you agree, but your prospect continues to drag their feet.
If you find out the price your customer wants to pay, then ask them if they’re ready to move forward if you honor it. Or, offer a discount, but only if they can commit to an agreement by today, tomorrow, or whatever date makes sense.
In this way, discounts can be an effective way to get deals signed, sealed, and delivered.
Wrapping up what to say when prospects ask for a discount
Consumers are always interested in getting something for less money. As a sales professional, it is up to you to what to say when that happens. Naturally, your range of options vary based on your product, service, or company policy. But here are 7 reasonable and effective responses that give you a great shot at moving your deal forward.
- Explain how you’re offering more value than they’ll get elsewhere
- Offer more value without increasing price
- Ask the customer why the price is a stumbling block
- Agree, so long as they meet these other terms
- Ask what kind of a discount they’re looking for
- Tell them no, but with a good reason why
- Tell them yes, as long as they’re prepared to commit
How do you respond to discount requests?