A few days ago, I called to order some supplies from a company I’ve dealt with before. I happened to ask “Can you give me a better price?”. And the rep gave me a better price. And I said “Thanks for the discount. Now I’m going to do you a big favor…and tell you a secret……You should never have given me a lower price. Now I know several things…You can lower prices….and that up till now, I’ve been paying more than I need to. Now I know that you can lower prices on everything you sell. And now I have a new price, forever. So I forgive you for the lower price. but from now on, everyone pays regular price, except me…your best friend. OK?” And we both laughed a little. I’d dealt with him before.
See the damage you can do by lowering your price? And if you are selling by referral, or to a group that knows each other…..you cannot sell for different prices. So…how do you avoid it, and still get the sale?
If you are offering products or services and the customer makes it obvious that they won’t buy without a better deal…..Know this. unless they already have a better price for the identical offer, they just want to make sure you are giving them your best price. But you can’t say “That’s my price. Take it or leave it” because they may leave it out of ego.
So do these things instead.
1) If there are multiple parts to your offer (or multiple items), say “I want you to be happy. If you want a lower price, what would you like me to deduct from the order?”
2) If you sell multiple versions of the same product or service, ask “I want you to be happy. Let’s go with the slightly cheaper version, that will help you save some money”
What I did there is “change the objection” from him wanting a lower price, to selling a cheaper solution. Why? You’ll see in a minute.
3) You can add services or options that cost you nothing (or almost nothing) for the same price. For example, a $500 discount costs you $500. But $700 in free services added may only cost you an additional $50 or so.
4) You can change financing options, add faster shipping, extend warranties….things that simply change the offer a little, and make it easier to buy…but really cost you very little or nothing at all.
About #1 and #2 above. The reason these are such good options is that you’ll likely get an agreement to buy. And after they agree to buy, as you are finishing the paperwork, you can add nonchalantly…”You know, for just another $200, we can give you everything you were originally offered. Would you rather just add that back in?” I’ve used that lots of times. Why does it work so well? Because they have already decided to buy…and now it’s just a detail. If offered properly, you aren’t risking the whole deal at all.
If you must offer something extra, make it a gift from you personally. Don’t include it in the order, except as a gift. Now it won’t be expected every time.
The thing you want to avoid is setting new price expectations.
Occasionally, I’ve had someone say “I can get this for less at (wherever). Will you match their price?” Let’s assume the deal is worth getting. I’m not talking about a $20 purchase here.
I say “I’ll do better than just match their price. I’ll match their entire offer. Now, do they include…?” And I’ll list all the added incentives they have for buying from me. Of course, my competitors never offer these freebies. So I say “I’ll match there price and just make the deal exactly as though you bought from them.I’ll just take away…” and I start listing the things I’ll remove. After a minute of haring what I’m taking away, they usually just buy at my asking price.
Have I let people walk? Yes. But almost never do I need to. It’s almost never really a matter of a slight discount. It’s a matter of them feeling like they got a good deal…that you treated them fairly…that they negotiated. Some people love to feel like they negotiated.
I’ll give them all that, and it almost never costs me money.
And when they say “OK, we’ll take it” I bow my head a little…sigh a little and say “Ohhhhh..Alright” like they beat me into submission. They laugh. I laugh. Because it’s really just a little game customers and salespeople play.
Added a tad later; One last idea. Maybe my best one here. Buy something from them. It’s better if you do this at the beginning of the presentation, before you show your offer. Why? Because you didn’t ask them to lower their price, and now it’s going to be much harder for them to ask you to lower your price. The price point doesn’t matter. I’ve bought items for $5 that I know cemented a $2,000 sale.
You can also do this when you are talking to customers and you are negotiating. Offer to buy something from them at the discount they might want. If you are selling a service for $5,000…and they want $500 off. you can offer to buy something from them, even barter, for the $500. This saves you from writing it up for less money, and saves your price. I’ve received exercise equipment, mattresses, braces for teeth, memberships, and guns…instead of a small down payment. To them, they made a sale. To them, you didn’t lower your price, you just bought something from them.
I should have included this in my book on Closing Sales.