Years ago, I found myself getting offended when people would ask for a discount on my coaching. My time was valuable. I set that price for a reason. Why would anyone think I would charge them less just because?
But then I had to step back and make a mental shift around discounts.
I told myself, “It’s great that they ask. They should ask. It doesn’t mean I have to say yes, and it doesn’t mean they don’t value what I’m offering.”
In fact, I challenge my clients to ask for a better price when they’re buying something just to get more comfortable with the practice of asking. I want them to get used to hearing people say “No”, but I don’t want them assuming the answer is going to be no because often times they will hear a yes.
When I got Lasik a few years back, I asked, “Are there any options for receiving better pricing at this time?”, and the lady discounted the procedure by over $1,200!!! I kid you not! All I did was ask a friendly question. She could have easily said no, and I still would have moved forward. But instead, I asked a simple question and saved a ton of money. Knowing this, I cannot then, in turn, get offended when someone asks me the same question. It makes ZERO sense!
How I Handle That Question
When someone asks me for a discount, I usually respond this way:
“Oh, I’m so proud of you for asking and negotiating! You absolutely should always try that. I’m not offering any discounts currently as I don’t typically offer discounts on my services but like I said, I’m impressed you asked.”
I don’t give a justification for saying “No” beyond that I typically don’t offer discounts, but I make sure to stress how proud I am that they asked. It allows me to respond as a thoughtful coach and a savvy business owner.
Discounts and Emotions
I realized a big piece of the grief this question caused me was tied up in the fact that I felt bad saying “No”. No one likes to be the one to say no. But that’s my own issue to work through, and it has nothing to do with my clients. By asking me this question, it gave me the opportunity to process this request differently and to strengthen my ability to respond in a thoughtful and honest way.
The discount question usually is tied up in another common emotion: fear. When someone asks you for a discount, simply asking the question may cause you to question your own value. Are your prices set too high? Do people not fully understand what you’re offering? Are you competitors charging less? The question can put you a bit on edge.
It pokes at a subconscious part of your brain that worries whether you are WORTH what you charge, and that line of thinking can cause you to spiral quickly. If that’s where your brain heads, I would encourage you to do a little work around setting your value, so you can feel more secure on why you charge what you charge. If you need help determining your value, check out our three-part Value-Based Pricing blog posts series here.
So when someone asks you the question, take the opportunity to work through what your reactions are and why you might actually be feeling the way you do. Someone asking you for a discount does not have to mean whatever you are making it. What a beautiful gift the world is giving you to work through that mindset.