Sales Strategy

10 Ways to Handle Discounts

10 Ways to Handle Discounts Discounting is undeniably powerful but should be used sparingly and consistently to...

January 22, 2022

10 Ways to Handle Discounts

Discounting is undeniably powerful but should be used sparingly and consistently to create urgency. The best sales teams aim for an overall rate annualized at less than 10%. And no individual deal should ever exceed a 30% discount.

Here are ten tactics to hold firm and believe in our value – as sales pros and the product or service we're selling:

1. Say no

A no works best on the first sales call and in tandem with number ten on this list. Once our prospects ask for pricing, make explicit the best and final offer. As the deal progresses, continue to say no and remind our contacts we've been clear from Day 1.

2. What happens if we can't meet your demands for a discount?

Asking this question gauges the seriousness of the request. When framing it as a "demand," the counteroffer is easier. Two popular counters are next.

3. Accept the discount in exchange for a 3-year deal
Multi-year deals are typical in today's marketplace because the buying process is costly and time-intensive for most companies. Require a 3-year contract for a lower price. It's in the best interest of the potential customer to not go through this same exercise one year from now.

4. Accept the discount for a speedy signature and agreed-upon date.
Selling in a full calendar year without handing out a single discount is next to impossible. However, most sales leaders will gladly accept a modest discount in exchange for the customer committing to a signature date. Stamp a midweek date to the authorization form or contract, and never make it the last of the month.

5. Steal a page from Chris Voss

"How am I supposed to do that?" One of the highlights from Never Split the Difference challenges negotiators to respond with this question. It forces the prospect to think again about their request and provide us with reasoning.

6. Request a customer testimonial and case study

Contingent on delivering value, ask the customer to agree to a case study. Alternatives include writing G2 reviews or mentioning us on LinkedIn.

7. Add a customer reference

When peers share their positive experiences working with a specific provider, it accelerates future deal cycles. If our prospect asks for a discount, consider accepting if they serve as a reference for other opportunities.

8. Why did the other provider come down on price?
Asking this question puts the focus on our competitor. Point out potential landmines with less service from the other provider, or perhaps they'll cut corners. Expect an agitated "I guess they want our business" response and reply, "but from my vantage point, it seems like they don't treat their customers fairly."

9. Sell less stuff

Sometimes there are legit budget constraints. Review the scope and remove items without putting the value prop in jeopardy.

10. Principled pricing reminder

It's perfectly ok to say no to a discount request. Often, sharing our belief that all customers are equal reminds prospects we created pricing based on fairness. "If we offer you this discount, we'd have to apply it to every current customer. That doesn't sound fair to me."

Bonus: Always make it one-time

Remember to offer discounts as a single occurrence. Lifetime discounts shouldn't exist. The lone exception might be a discount built into a 3-year agreement.

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