Whether you have an agency, a retail store, are a freelancer or own any sort of business, at some point you are going to come across people who may want to negotiate or ask for a discount on what you are selling. I am here to tell you, “Don’t do it!”
Now, I know what it’s like to be hungry (believe me I really do). I know what it is like to desperately need cash flow just to keep the doors open on your business. But, as soon as you start to cave to commoditization, it is a slippery slope in the race to the bottom. For me, when a prospect asks for a discount or says “I know a guy that can do it for…”, it’s a huge red flag and typically prompts me to remove them from my prospect list. Over the years I have found that the less people pay, the less they value what you are providing. Also, with less income, I have fewer resources to provide the kind of top shelf service we aim to put forth in our business.
A friend of mine who spent decades as a successful consultant put it to me best:
“What they are really saying is that they don’t think your services are worth what you say they are-it simply won’t end well for anyone…
…If they pay your rate, they will be doing so begrudgingly; they will try to milk every drop of work out of you to try to make up for their perceived loss. Meanwhile, if you decide to work for less, you will feel you aren’t getting what you deserve and will likely end up resenting the client–its is always a lose/lose”.
Now, I understand we all need business, so there is a caveat to this–your rate/price needs need to be realistic. I mean, you did your homework right? You looked at the range typical for your industry/geographic location, factored in your expenses and what you need to thrive. You are confident that what you provide is worth every penny and then some, right? You have clients that are happily paying you, don’t you? Then don’t cave-not ever.
If you are experiencing this often and you know your pricing/rate is in-line per above, take a look at your sales process. Are you actively targeting and seeking out your ideal clients? Do you know who they even are? Or, are you simply taking the things that come your way by happenstance?
To thrive, you have to be deliberate in everything you do. Know who you want to do business with (i.e. who would most benefit from and value what you are offering), find them and make them your clients/customers. If you do this correctly, it will be a win/win everyone.