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Discount No Man’s Land

by Pat Schuler

Today’s question: When you give a discount as a vendor or seller, what are you getting in return?

These days, clients ask for discounts more aggressively than they used to. In fact, some of them seem to act as though a discount were an inherent right of the buyer. Just because they are buying.

Not for volume, not for multiple orders – Just because. Because we want a discount. Because your competitor is giving a discount. Have you been in a situation where the buyer came back to you multiple times, each time for more discount, because the “other vendor” had come down below your last proposed price? Until finally there is no profit margin left for you at all?

The simple truth is, we all want a discount when we are shopping or buying. Getting a discount, a bonus, a deal makes us feel better. It makes us feel like we did a good job. Like a star on our book report, it says, “Look what I did!” And it makes great water cooler conversation.

Most people love a discount, but hate to have to ask for one. So many people hate to negotiate that Saturn created a very successful dealer network (as well as a trend in the automotive industry) based on not negotiating. They also averaged $700-$800 more per car than dealerships that used the negotiation or “haggle” model of buying.

When you give a discount as a vendor or seller, what are you getting in return?

An order, you say. Or the chance to close the deal, you say.

Does your discount give you higher odds of closing? How do you know? Or are you dropping your discounts into a No Man’s Land, getting little value in return?

Pivot question: If you feel you need to give a discount to get the business, why not ask for something additional in return? What do you need most?
• Shorter terms, to improve your cash flow?
• Permission to issue a press release about the new client?
• The new client to appear in a case study for your marketing literature, web page, or in a magazine article?
• A contribution for your favorite charity?
• Referrals to 2-3 peers of your new client?
• Whatever else would be important to you and bring you benefit?

Ask, with a smile in your voice, “Well, Ms. Prospect, if I were able to secure this significant level of discount for you, what do we get in return?”

Don’t be surprised if you get amazed looks when you ask this question. Not many people are asking it these days. What have you got to lose? Not the order or deal.

What have you got to gain? A surprising amount, especially if you ask for something each time a prospect asks for a discount. Try it. You’ll be surprised how much negotiation room there really is.

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"Pat Schuler is a Business Development Coach and Sales Trainer. She is also President and founder of The Gemini Resources Group, which helps business, technical and sales professionals increase their revenue a minimum of 30 %. Clients learn to unfold the mystery that sometimes surrounds selling skills as they move from anxiety and fear to action and success.

Contact The Gemini Resources Group at or 952-953-9149 to find how you can see revenue increases of 30% minimum.”

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