Your Rampant Discounting is Costing You Sales Results?

Research shows 67% of sales people will offer a discount BEFORE a potential customer has even asked for one… what the actual?

What would your business look like if your sales team gave out 5% or even 10% fewer discounts over a year whilst maintaining the same revenue level? Well drilled businesses and well-trained sales teams know how to handle discounting behaviour and discount requests.

Recently I’ve been shopping for furniture for a new house. Now, I’m not big on shopping, in fact, I’d rather chew off my arm than walk through the major retail malls and stores, so it’s not something I do very often.

As part of this ‘shopping experience’, I’ve been surprised by just how many salespeople open up their conversations very badly or, worse still, open with a discount.

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Let me set the scene, I’m standing in a major retailer looking at a big, very big, LED screen. It has a huge SALE sign attached, it shows the heavily discounted price and the original price with a slash through it. Pretty standard stuff. Basically, it’s 40% off the original price.

A salesperson walks up to me and says “This is a great screen for the money and I can probably even do it for a little better than what it’s marked for here.”

WOAH, he hasn’t even asked if I like it… for all he knows I could be standing there attempting to avoid the twin 6-year-old girls who are playing with the home theatre systems in the other aisle. And when I say ‘playing’ I mean turning them all up full volume. It sounds terrible. Where are their parents?

If you’re a sales leader or manager you probably think this is a ludicrous strategy for a salesperson use to enter into a conversation, a discount ON TOP of a discount. And, I’d agree with you. The real problem is, statistically, your sales team are probably doing this right now out in the field in a bid to win ‘favour’ with your clients and prospects.

Research shows 67% of sales people will offer a discount BEFORE a potential customer has even asked for one


What would be a better way to have started the conversation?

Before I answer that question, I do think there is a real ‘discounting’ crisis going on in some consumer and business circles. Discounting is expected in consumer land, especially on some product segments such as consumer electronics, cars, and increasingly so in B2B sales. I’m convinced the more we train our buyers to expect ‘yet another discount’ the more they’ll push us for more discounts. We are our own worst enemies. One of the key questions is, how can we best handle these expectations?

Back to my example. Is the store placing an extra few dollars on top of their ticketed sale price so their salespeople have a discretionary discount dollar in order to win business? Probably, but even if this is true why open with that strategy.

I’m sure there are other examples of good dialogue openers in retail situations. Please share your best with me.

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Personally, I lose faith with the store’s entire pricing strategy if I’m told the ticketed price is not the TRUE price. What then, is the true price?

Selling is the transfer of trust I was once told.

“..What would’ve I said if I was that salesperson in Big TV land? How about, “Which room are you needing a new screen for..”? OR “What screen do you currently have now”?

This would’ve opened a nice dialogue for a good chat about what the customer really needed, what they knew about the product and their true intended application. Allowing a good salesman to show value by using their expertise to offer a great solution for the client. Removing the need to offer a discount on top of a discount.


If you would like more information on how to control rampant discounting in your business, contact us at SalesITV on or [email protected]

Mark  McInnes
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