Discounting Your Rate….What Is It Good For?

Staff Writer

By Stephen Pead

One of the most common issues that arise in discussions with clients is the subject of price. Pricing tends to come up in most sales calls – either at the beginning, middle or end. The key is to be prepared for it. And ready to overcome it.

Too many salespeople when confronted with “price” automatically default to a discount mentality. A slippery slope if ever there was one. Once you begin to discount the client always wants more and all future conversations automatically focus on price to the detriment of the other equally important issues – such as ROI.

For the most part overcoming the price objection is one of determining what the prospect really needs not necessarily what they want! The best way to do this is with a solid and proven set of “needs uncovery” questions.

Planning Is Important

Key points on price that you need in advance of a client meeting:

  1. How does your rate compare to your primary competitors? Then how does it compare for the industry?
  2. Are your / industry rates rising or falling at the moment? Why?
  3. What rate did the client pay last time? Who set that rate – you, the client or a competitor?
  4. What would happen if you can’t make the sale on your current rate? To you or your client?

Understanding these four points alone will help you deal with the objection and give you options on how hard to respond.

What to Negotiate

When you get into negotiations bear in mind that price or rate is just one factor – unfortunately it’s the first one that arises for most people. Think about the other areas where you can provide tangible value long before you even have to touch your rate.  

  • Placement
  • Longer campaign (6-9 months)
  • Creative or production fees
  • Bonus airtime
  • Promotions or Sponsorships
  • Non-standard commercial lengths
  • Online campaign or activity
  • Flexible credit terms
  • Providing a free staff briefing
  • Onsite or in-store activity


….the list goes on! Next sales meeting why don’t you and your team brainstorm what else you can negotiate on before touching the rate?

Remember, discounting or rate cutting is a tactic not a strategy. Like all tactics it has a place and if used judiciously can certainly assist the sales process. That said there’s always a point where you can’t make the price any lower than it already is.

The other thing to remember is that when you make an offer always seek some type of concession in return from the client. The best relationships and negotiations are “win-win”.

About the author: Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in providing high performance media sales training for salespeople and sales managers via his company Sales Solutions




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