Very much related to pitching is discounting, and I touched on how to do it there too.
You discount, if you do it at all, for a reason. And you discount visibly. So potential clients know now and also in future what you charge and they can internalise that and when they return, if you don’t have a special on, they pay your going rate.
Reasons to discount include (but are not limited to) helping your client make up their mind to buy at this price and to buy within your time frame. Usually now or, at the least, very quickly. So you help clients to buy by offering a discount by a certain deadline. These are perfectly normal marketing techniques. If you don’t like them, don’t do them. But do notice how often they have helped you to make a purchasing decision in the past.
Clients know how often I say “sell as you buy.” If you are someone who buys because time’s running out or because there’s limited availability and you fear you are about to miss out, or because you want to grab this bargain price while it’s still a limited time only offer, then sell like that too.
I was surprised and delighted to note recently that a little rush of new clients had all bought a year’s membership of my top-priced coaching Club 100, happy to pay for 1-2-1 privacy and the luxury personal -v- group attention, and they all paid in advance; not money no object, but easy access to funds for whatever they want.
No discounts were offered. But on another occasion I might do that, or bundle in a bonus, a delicious little cherry on the top of my sales cake.
When talking to clients I always help them to find a good reason why they might discount if they are feeling the knock down vibe. So long as your client knows the full price and, more importantly, the full value of your offer, then fine by me. The full value of your offer is important, no it’s vital. Even if they are getting your product or service for say £1,000 where normally you charge £1,500, you very definitely want them to know they are getting something with a value of £1,500 and for them to treat it with due respect.
People value highly-priced things and respect them more which means they get more enjoyment out of them. Weird, but there you go.
Here’s a little snippet of a question/observation which came in for a client for this book. As you will see, it is very much on topic here.
“My issue this week was to do with mindset on negotiating a day rate. My assumption/unfounded thought was that if I don’t say yes to what the client wants in terms of rate they’ll a) be angry with me and/or b) say ‘forget it’. Not thinking that actually c) they might respect me more for holding my ground and realising my worth!”
And I replied (er…I am not sure I did send this in reply so much as just thought it).
“This is gorgeous. Thanks for offering it up for the book, and big congrats on noticing it. I think if we get quiet enough we can recognise bonkers thoughts like these for what they are, hallucinations as my coach calls them; we make them up, they aren’t true. However, how many of us (except us single introverts) take the time or create the opportunity to get quiet enough?”
In summary, don’t rush to discount. Think it through. Many people ask for a discount “because”, a reason they have simply invented because they love to haggle. That doesn’t mean you have to give it to them, especially if you have already cut your margins to the bone. Think about whether you could do your best work at the discounted price under discussion, or whether you would feel grumpy and underpaid and on the back foot all the way through the work. That’s most undesirable, especially if it’s a long contract. And look! As my client says, they might respect you more for holding your ground and realising your worth.
I know. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
- Keep your eye out for discounts attractively and unattractively offered
- Notice which ones appeal to you and why
- Model in your business the ones you like
I have a client right now who, before we began working together, asked me a series of questions to which the answers were all no. I was very uncomfortable and told her so. I am normally much more obliging than this I wanted her to know, but all of her overtures were for things I didn’t want to give – a face-to-face meeting (no), a transfer of her fee to someone else should she decide to return to the day job (no) and something else I have forgotten (no). We are now in our third year of working together, and destined to be lifelong friends.
Clients respect you for standing firm when that’s appropriate. Equally, sometimes a client might ask for something I don’t normally do and I’ll go “Go on then!” but if they cross my boundaries once, that’s enough for me to stand much firmer next time.
Stand firm, me hearties. Stand firm.