The Rate Thing – to cut or not to cut

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

One of the most common issues to arise in discussions with clients and potential clients is the subject of price – it tends to come up in most sales calls. 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 – value and ROI.

For the most part overcoming the price objection is one of determining what the prospect really needs and what you can really deliver, not necessarily what they want!
The best way to do this is with a solid and proven set of “needs diagnostic” 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 competitor(s)? 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?

By the way I’m not saying you should never discount or rate-cut just remember it’s 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 are based on negotiations with a “win-win” outcome.

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]



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