By Andrew Sobel
Though the economy has experienced a slight uptick since the harried days of the Great Recession, many businesses, big and small, are still operating in penny-pinching mode. The pressure to do more with less has not subsided. If youre a business owner, you probably already know where this drive to cut costs and squeeze suppliers is going, and its nowhere that benefits you. More and more of your customers are uttering those four dreaded words, I need a discount.” Rather than respond with a yes or no, you should transform the conversation, and possibly the relationship, by asking a few power questions.
Clients ask for discounts for different reasons. If you can find out why your customer wants a discount by asking the right questions, you may discover that you can give them what they need without having to undercut your own bottom line. It is also important to know who is asking for the discount.
There are at least four types of discount-seeking clients. They are:
If your past response has been to timidly reduce your price to keep the client happy or to fire back a resounding “No,” there is a better way. When you instead opt to deepen the interaction by asking the right questions, you can achieve three important things.
First, youll find out what kind of discount seeker your client is. Second, youll force your client to reflect on the value you bring to the table and how your business is different from other businesses. Finally, youll illuminate what the client really values, allowing you to potentially renegotiate the engagement in a way that preserves your profitability.
It is important to understand what kind of questions need to be asked and when to ask them.
Or you might also say, We are able to reduce price in exchange for terms and conditions that help lower our risk and long-term cost of doing business with you. Would you like me to develop a proposal for a long-term supply arrangement with built-in discounts for guaranteed volume levels?”
The goal here, of course, is to preserve and strengthen the client relationship, assuming its a client youd like to keep. If youve priced your services properly, you cannot afford to discount. But if you simply say “no,” he might head for the door and never come back. By using power questions, you can delve deeper into his situation and his needs. You might find another way you can show him the value he wants. In the long term that will be viewed much more positively than a one-time discount and is a much better option than turning him down completely.
Andrew Sobel, co-author of ”Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others,” is the most widely published author in the world on client loyalty and the capabilities required to build trusted business relationships.
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May 24 2019 @ 15:22:08 UTC