Salespeople Who Give Discounts are Not Salespeople

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cash flow pricing 250x300 Salespeople Who Give Discounts are Not Salespeople photoIt’s time for me to rant about salespeople and discounts.

When a salesperson offers a customer a discount, what they’re saying is they have not been able to do a good enough of a job demonstrating value to the customer.

To offset their inability to do what they’re supposed to be able to do, they feel the way to close the sale is by offering a discount.

My view when it comes to salespeople using a discount to close a sale is they are not a salesperson at all.

Rather, I think they’re a customer service person at best. Reason I say this is because the role of the salesperson is to demonstrate value and to be able to understand a customer well enough to know how to demonstrate value.

When the salesperson offers a discount, what they’re admitting (although never publicly) is that their selling skills are not where they should be. If you’re a salesperson who is prone to offer a discount of one type or another to close a sale, then I suggest you change your title to customer service rep.

Discounting your price should not be part of your vocabulary or thought process. If it is you will use it, and as soon as you use it once, you’ll use it again and again.

Your focus as a salesperson is to do one thing — demonstrate value. You do that by listening to the customer. Let them tell you what they’re looking for, and if they start asking you for a discount, then shift your process from thinking how you can offer a discount to how can you show them more value.

Just because the customer asks you for a discount doesn’t mean they should get it. Engage the customer in their needs and what their expectations are.
Your objective is simple — close the sale at full-price.

When you do that, then you wear the title “salesperson.”

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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11 thoughts on “Salespeople Who Give Discounts are Not Salespeople

  1. Jason

    You’re living in a bubble. You should lead with that disclaimer to warn consumers against putting too much stock into your limited opinion. There are many reasons, that have absolutely nothing to do with being able to close a sale, for offering customers special discount pricing. Please don’t represent yourself as the authority on salesmanship. There are a lot of trusting people out there. By writing stories like this you make it harder for the rest of us to do our jobs…now we’re going to have to offer more discounts!!

  2. Michael Swedenberg

    Mark, that is a very broad rule. If you are selling commodities then price is king. If you and I sell 1 oz Canadian Gold coins and yours are 10% higher than mine, who will sell more? What about gas stations that vary wildly in price? Which will get the most volume? Now in you defense, not that you need me to defend you, I sold law books to attorneys on commission. There were wide spread discounts available from the publisher. Since these books were distinct in content from the competitor, I sold based on quality and value and 95% of the time at full price. As a result I earned more money on fewer sales than my co workers who walked in the door proclaiming 30 percent off today only.

  3. Bill

    A great concept, if:

    Marketing has done it job at knows the going market price, not just a website list price.

    you are working with a well established customer who buy in very large quantities in comparison to the market, and knows it

    you are not working through a distribution dealer who has contract pricing

    your company has been able to supply the product in timely basis, i.e. no back orders, billing issues, quality control issues, etc. that have been problematic to the customer

    The price must be negotiated with these and many more factors. My products and expertise come at a cost, but when the customer has 3 choices and all are competent (at least in my industry where the average rep stays 5-20 years with one company) you won’t be able to command 50% over vs. the competitors. Funny thing is marketing often seems to think we should and uses reasoning like this article.

  4. Bill

    A great concept, if:

    Marketing has done it job at know the going market price, not just a website list price.

    you are working with a well established customer who buy in very large quantities in comparison to the market, and knows it

    you are not working through a distribution dealer who has contract pricing

    your company has been able to supply the product in timely basis, i.e. no back orders, billing issues, quality control issues, etc. that have been problematic to the customer

    The price must be negotiated with these and many more factors. My products and expertise come at a cost, but when the customer has 3 choices and all are competent (at least in my industry where the average rep stays 5-20 years with one company) you won’t be able to command 50% over vs. the competitors. Funny thing is marketing often seems to think we should and uses reasoning like this article.

  5. Another Steve

    You “spent 18 years in the sales and marketing divisions of three Fortune 100 companies”. Says it all, really!

    Massive marketing budgets, brand leading names, perceptions of expected excellence already “selling” for you.

    You turn up, mop up, puff out your chest as the brand representative… It’s not difficult stuff, but that’s the real customer service rep in action.

    Come on to a real “turf war patch”, join me in the start-up arena, where every nickel counts, your brand won’t carry your bag for you and negotiation is a fine art.

    Then see how your “discounting skills” improve.

  6. aryan

    Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a honest price? Thank you,I appreciate it!

  7. Adam

    I agree with this. If all you are doing is selling on price, then you will end up discounting. If you sell on value, then price is not the issue. I became the #1 sales region (2 years running) out of 150 world wide in my company not by discounting, but by selling for full price based on value. The others that discount can’t even come close to my team’s results. I won’t keep sales people on my team that discount. This message is correct. I view discounts as excuses for lack of confidence in products and services.

  8. Bud Smith

    Your premise is incomplete and totally two-dimensional..

    Sales at a price is but one part of profitability and a well schooled manager knows all the elements that create profitability.

    A full price sale that consumes more advertising co-op, customer services, longer dating terms, product returns and slower inventory turns could contribute less to the bottom line than an order for a little less that doesn’t consume all those peripheral costs.

    There are also brand building, channel distribution and customer relationship concerns that need to be factored into the equation.

    Does the sale support the business plan?

  9. Pingback: Do You Give Discounts? You Are Not a Salesperson | ProfitMedia

  10. Steve

    Absolute nonsense.

    Your article reeks of smug triteness.

    Sometimes a discount can make the difference between a long fruitful business relationship to losing them to the competition.

    Being at the top has gone to your head.

  11. Brian MacIver

    “No discounting, better to lose the Sale” is not an indication of an effective salesperson. It is usually a sign of a “Utopian” from Marketing (protecting their small Margin Bonus) or an Incompetent who has never sold in Shark infested waters.

    It is a Master Sales Competence to be able to “Sell on Price”.

    http://brianmaciver.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/selling-against-value-with-price.html

    Price should never be a give-away, not a freebee, but a using price (or as customers call it COST) as a genuine Sales Strategy. When well used, it enables Salespeople and their Companies to win business they will never win on value or against Market leaders. However, it will keep them afloat in tough times (like now), and they will fight another day.

    “No Discounting!” is a cliché, not sound advice.

    Learn how to skilfully Sell on Price, learn how to win a Negotiation by skilfully discounting. Tell Marketing, if they think they can sell Value (when none exists) to pick up a Sales bag, get on the road and show you how it is done. (They would starve to death!)

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