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The danger of discounts


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Benjamin Franklin said, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten." What a powerful and true statement. But do you believe it and stand by it when you sell? Today’s prospects are better than ever at pressuring you about your price. And they get to use the economy as an excuse and leverage to beat you up to get you to lower your price.

This sound familiar? “You know Mr./Ms. salesperson, times are tough out there and I really, really do like you and really want to buy , “but” can’t you help us with that price? We just can’t afford that price in today’s economy.”  By the way, the “but” word is the most dangerous word in sales next to “think it over.” Did you know prospects love this down economy. Why? They get to use it as leverage on you and your price. And why do they do this? Simple.  Because it works on “too” many salespeople . My sales rule? “You’re not selling if you’re buying your prospect's stalls and excuses .”

It never ceases to amazes me why a company will spend days formulating their price list and then with a bit of pressure, they cave and not adhere to it. What’s the point of having a price list if you don’t stick to it?

Throw out the list if you’re not going to stick by it. Do you realize when you quote a price  and you cave from pressure and discount,  in so many words without actually saying so, you just told unknowingly your prospect, “even though I have spent the last hour telling you how great our product or service is, I really don’t believe it since I’m so willing to discount it once I get some pressure from you.”

And to all you managers out there that allow your salespeople to discount, do you realize also what you are telling them about your belief that what you sell is really not worth what you priced it at if you allow your salespeople to discount? To my point, why have a price list if you don’t adhere to it???

I’m sure many of you are saying right now, “but Gary, in this economy we have to discount.” Be wiling to look in the mirror and ask yourself, am I “buying” in to the stalls and excuses my prospects are giving me?

Most salespeople discount for four main reasons. One, need for approval and the need more to be liked than close a deal at “their” price. Moderate to high need for approval salespeople discount all the time. Two, they don’t know my second rule , “salespeople have rights” and you have the right to get paid what you’re worth and what you charge for that worth. Three, they simply have never been taught the skills and tactics how to handle price pressure from a prospect. Four, they need the business vs. want the business.

Prospects can detect a needy salesperson a mile away and they know and will apply the price pressure on that needy salesperson. Act like you want the business “if” and “only if” it’s the right fit for you and your prospect . And if not, be willing to walk away. Remember, some will, some won’t, so what? So move on.

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Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com.

 

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