By June 21, 2013 Read More →

3 ways to handle ‘Do you do discounts?’

Discounts and the home business owner

Do you do discounts - Corrina Gordon-BarnesToday I’m delighted to share this thought-provoking and helpful guest post from Corrina Gordon-Barnes of – how to react when you’re asked for discounts:

Uh oh, you’re having that conversation again. You know the one, where the prospective client says to you,

‘Hmm, that sounds expensive. Money’s tight right now. Do you do discounts?’

It’s so tempting just to say yes. You want to be a kind, generous person. You want another client, even if you’d barely break even by taking them on at a lower rate.

But every time you say yes to discounts, you know you’re damaging the long-term sustainability of your business. You know it impacts your own bank balance – and maybe even creates a little resentment towards these clients – so here are three powerful ways to hold firm on your price.

1. Embrace the silence

After you say no to a discount, there’ll probably be an awkward silence. It’ll be tempting to jump in and break that by making some other concession – but don’t.

Instead, breathe. Allow there to be a pause. Trust that your potential client can receive your no with understanding. Hold steady on your price and be comfortable with both of you being a little uncomfortable for a few moments; it won’t last forever.

2. Give freebies as part of your marketing

Your ongoing marketing strategy should involve you sharing free, relevant content with as many people as possible: blogging, speaking, recording videos, leading teleclasses or webinars.

You can then refer potential clients on low budgets to these free resources. You’ll no longer feel guilty about saying no to discounts on your core service because people can access snippets of your wisdom and approach for free. No-one is left empty-handed.

Bonus: if someone has been following your free content for a while, they’ll be more familiar with your approach and will have already bought into why your service is worth paying for – and so you’ll actually find yourself having less of those Discount Conversations.

3. Offer services at different price points

Add more affordable products in to your business mix. For example, if you’re a coach and keep hearing from people who can’t afford your 1-1 coaching, create a group programme or e-product so they can start working with your approach at a different level of investment.

Bonus: A client who enjoys your e-product may well want your 1-1 coaching at a later date, when their finances take an up-turn or when they realise 1-1 support is actually a financial priority for them.

Become known as trustworthy

When you hold firm on your price, you become known as someone of integrity – who means what they say and can be held to their word.

You’ll find there are plenty of people who are delighted and eager to pay your full prices, and by letting go of discounts, you’ll be able to enjoy serving them whilst taking care of your own material needs.

Over to you

What’s the Discount Conversation been like for you in the past? What have you found helps you stick with your price? Leave a comment below, let us know.

Corrina Gordon-Barnes teaches marketing to solo business owners. She’s passionate about good people making good money doing what they most love. Read more free articles like this at: and leave your name and email address there to receive updates straight to your inbox.

Posted in: Making money

10 Comments on "3 ways to handle ‘Do you do discounts?’"

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  1. I’ll put my hand up loud and proud and say I don’t discount.

    I have budget friendly options as there are people I’d love to have as clients who don’t have a lot of money to spend. I do have loyalty cards (a free brownie for every 2 services you buy and a batch of brownies for every 4 services). And of course there is free information on my website.

    But discounts no, and the reason is because I feel it reduces the value of what I am offering and I want clients who are committed. Money is complicated enough without adding uncertainty into it.

  2. Thanks, Rosie, that’s a very valid argument.
    Does anyone else have a different view? Anyone see Britain’s Best Shoppers with Justin Preston earlier this year when he encouraged businesses to offer discounts and shoppers to ask for them?

  3. Margaret says:

    Great article Rosie, I’ve found it really useful thanks.

  4. Jan says:

    I’m only just starting to get repeat customers and I panicked when I was asked for discount and just rounded the price down to a logical number. I then realised the percentage discount and shocked myself. I realised I really do need to be prepared, either offer a set percentage, package up an offer or, I like the idea of loyalty cards which I’m now going to look at, thanks for that idea Rosie

    • Had any ideas what you’d offer with a loyalty card, Jan? A small free sewing service or something a little different, like Rosie’s brownies? Keep us informed 🙂

  5. In your situation Jan, I’d say I’d get back to them about what I could offer, and then think about what extra value I could offer that was appropriate to the client and I was happy with – and whether I thought they were trying it on.

    Often I offer extras to clients without even being asked, as an incentive to pay in advance or because I want to offer a bit extra to support that particular client.

    • I think the relationship makes a huge difference as to what you’re willing to offer. If someone has always been pleasant to deal with, paid on time etc, then I’d be willing to consider a better deal than for someone who’s been a pain! In fact, I’d probably hope that by not agreeing to an extra they’d take their business elsewhere. I sacked clients twice when I ran my cleaning business and didn’t regret it for a minute.

  6. Greg says:

    Great article, I love an awkward silence when dealing with costs and rates… same goes when doing research… the people answering the questions will always feel more awkward than you when they have nothing to say so will think of something and it is usually honest and the most interesting than canned responses.


    • Ooh, you’re a cool customer, Greg, or should I say a cool supplier! It’s all about holding your nerve, isn’t it, and like anything challenging, takes a bit of practice for lots of us.

  7. Ismail N says:

    You’re absolutely right about the ‘no-discount’ principle. It is the best in the long run. And in my experience, it is better to give the extras after the work is done, if I feel that the client deserves it.