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Tired Of Being Asked For Discounts? - Use The "Code"

Michelle Dale - Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Are you an online service provider who has been asked to discount your prices and it made you feel like crap? Are you wondering how to combat this discount issue once and for all, so business is conducted on your terms, for the price that you want to charge? In this article I'm going to introduce you to what I call the discount 'code' - use it and prosper.

That Naughty "D" Word.

First if all let's talk about discounts, are you someone who gets upset when that 'D' word appears? Do you take offence? Go into defence mode? Can you feel your blood pressure start to rise, and then head to your spouse, or best friend to tell them about the damn cheek that client had to ask you...

If this sounds familiar, then you're not the only one, in fact, I used to also rant a bit, or feel like I wanted to 'explain' to the client the reason for my prices, but then I sat down and started to consider why I did that. 

Let's face it -

A) The client doesn't care about the reason for my prices.

B) If I had adequate self-confidence, I wouldn't care that they asked for a discount.

So I stopped giving the negative side of discounts so much of my attention, I got down from the soapbox, put my handbag away, shifted into a positive mindset about them and decided to do what every good service provider does, I decided to serve, and sympathise with the person asking for a discount, and as they say, prevention is better than cure, so I came up with the code as a way to avoid awkward 'discount' moments. Life has been harmonious ever since.

I mean ask yourself, is asking for a discount really so bad, there must have been at least one time in your life you have asked someone for a discount on something, (or perhaps receiving a discount was the thing that swayed you to make a purchase), think back to your reason why you ended up buying, I bet it wasn't because you thought the product or service was terrible, most likely because you thought it was good and wanted it, but there was a specific valid reason you didn't want to go in at full price.

What is the code?

Simply put, it's a set of guidelines as to when it's appropriate for someone to request a discount from you, and when it's not.

Now let's face it, you might be sitting there telling yourself you would never compromise yourself by offering or agreeing to a discount, no way, no sir, but if that was the case then have you considered just putting up on your site, "If you want a discount, don't contact me." - I for one have never seen that on a website, but if you really were never open to discounting your services then you can of course consider it as an option.

I doubt many truly savvy business owners would do that, I mean let's face it. We never know what's coming around the next corner and we don't want to alienate a potential business opportunity by showing our ego is in control of our senses, and being so blunt.

Instead we can apply the discount code - and no, it's not a code that gets someone 3 for the price of 2, it's your discount law. You write it, you are the one in control of it, and you can choose to enforce it. So here's an example....

The Discount 'Code'.

Thanks so much for your interest in my services. I know that when I'm shopping around for anything whether it be services or hoovers I always look for the best quality at the best price, but sometimes we look for the cheapest, and other times we look for the most expensive. Either way, if we find something we really like or want, we might feel inclined to ask for a discount. If you're considering this with Virtual Miss Friday, to ensure we don't get any awkward 'Discount Moments' we've put together a 'code' that will give you some insight into the type of response you'll receive.

Basically, there are times when it's appropriate to ask me for a discount, and others when it's not. This guideline is simply to ensure that no time is wasted for either of us.

When it's appropriate to ask for Discount.

Let's first look at the scenarios where a discount may be given.

- Monthly retainers over £1000.

When you intend to purchase over £1000 every month for the foreseeable future. 

If your invoice is equal to or exceeds 1000 a month, and this remains consistent for at least 3 months, I would be happy to consider offering a discount depending on the services being rendered and if it's feasible for me to do so.

- You already pay my full rate.

When you are already paying my full rate and and a new project may ride on it. 

If you are considering a project but you have a budget and receiving a discount would be a game changer as to whether the project went ahead or not, let me know and we can explore the possibilities. I want you to be able to create and develop your business and I'd like to help you make project ideas a reality, and we may be able to work something out.

- We lack experience in the service.

If I am inexperienced in a service, but you'd like to work with me while we learn it.

I am delighted that you would trust us with something new which we may be inexperienced with, as you may know, we are often open to learning new things, and we learn fast. If this is the case, we appreciate while we're learning tasks they may take a little longer than usual, so I'd be happy to offer a temporary discount during the transition or training period.

- You have something I want.

You offer me something of equal or more value to the discount.

If you come to me with a suggestion of something that will compensate for the discount I may be interested or open to receiving some of your products or services in exchange for the discount, or if you have access to a large mailing list, or can provide some other significant publicity, or you're an authority in your industry and I could learn a thing or two from working with you, I may offer a discount in exchange for something of equal or more value to me. 

- Last Resort.

If you're really within a budget and you want to take a shot.

You know my full price make me an offer, maybe the wind is blowing in a certain direction that day and I might say yes, but try not to make it a ridiculous one, and if I say no please don't take offence, know it was a gamble to begin with, and not a given.

When it's inappropriate to ask for a Discount.

Let's now explore the scenarios where a discount will not be given.

- You think I'm expensive.

If you consider my standard rates expensive as they are.

Unfortunately I don't offer discounts to anyone who doesn't already appreciate that the service at full price is incredible value for money. Remember 'expensive' is entirely a matter of your personal opinion or circumstances, so please don't impose that upon us and keep in mind that you have no prior knowledge of the expense involved in providing the service to the Quality and Standard we strive for.

- You've had a cheaper quote.

If you pull the old, 'I can get it cheaper elsewhere' ;-)

If you can find the exact service you want to the same or better quality cheaper elsewhere, let's be sensible here, why would you be wasting your time and mine even talking about it? I wholeheartedly encourage you to work with the 'elsewhere', as anyone would.

Please be aware if you're going to compare prices of services you should only do so when you find an exact match (which is easier said than done), otherwise it might be like comparing the price of Dom Perignon to Babycham.

- You can't afford it.

You really can't afford my standard rate before a discount.

If the only way you could afford investing in my services right now is with a discount, then you can't afford to work with me, and I encourage you for your own benefit, to search for a more affordable alternative for you. If your financial circumstances change and you'd still like to work with me then we welcome you.

Discounts are a perk, and generally only temporary, it would waste your time if the discount was removed and we were no longer able to work together as you would need to go through the process of seeking and hiring another service provider all over again.

Things you need to know...

If I do agree to provide you with a discount, please understand these 2 important points:

- It's not related to my finances.

In other words, I'm not giving you a discount because I need your money.

This point we should make very clear. I give discounts for many reasons, sometimes simply because I'm feeling generous that day, sometimes I find someone I really want to work with and sweeten the deal with a discount, sometimes I just like people and want to do it for that reason, but never because I need the money. 

- I choose who I work with.

I made the choice to give the discount, specifically to you.

Just like you would need to choose to work with me, I also have the luxury of choosing who I work with. If you can comfortably afford my rates, you value my service (you might even consider it a bargain) but you still ask me to give you a discount for no other reason than for example to penny pinch, I will likely not choose to work with you. I believe we live in an abundant world, asking for a discount is one thing, but asking when you can comfortably afford it, knowing the service is entirely worth it, is another.

How to apply the code.

So there you have it - once you have written your code, you can give this to anyone you choose, for instance potential clients if you don't want an awkward consultation, existing clients who may overstep the mark, anyone... It's a much better approach in my opinion than being all defensive about it, or potentially offending or embarrassing the client when they can't afford your service - at the end of the day, they simply just got lost and ended up contacting a service provider that wasn't quite right for them.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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