No I Don’t Offer Discounts – Strategies for Detracting Non-Ideal Clients

One of the common challenges that business owners face is getting past those I like to affectionately call “Pookie.” Pookie, quite simply, is anyone you know who is a non-ideal client. Hint: If they come into the business relationship expecting a discount or a hook up, they’re a Pookie. If they haggle with you on the price or make you a counter offer for your valuable product or service, they’re a Pookie. Call them what they are and be honest with yourself because we both know you don’t really want to work with anyone who doesn’t value the contribution you’re making to solve their problem, right?

You see, when you’re just getting started in your business, or you don’t have the confidence to charge what you’re worth based on the problems you solve for your ideal clients, for the sake of having some business, business owners will make concessions and discount their products and services just so they can make some money.

DON’T DO THIS! You see, once you “hook” Pookie up with a discount, you immediately de-value your services. It doesn’t matter what you try to say later, all Pookie can think of is that he/she once got it for much less than its value and that is not the way to grow a business.

Can we be clear, as an entrepreneur, you solve problems for ideal clients for profit. Period.

As a business coach, I am always uneasy when I hear business owners try to justify why they are not charging what they’re worth. Now, in defense of those who don’t know any better, I am talking to those who are clear on what they should be charging much more than they charge but because of fear, they don’t charge it. You know who you are. You see, they believe that people won’t pay their rates. And, you know what, they’re right. If you don’t believe the price is worth the product or service and expertise you offer, neither will they.

It’s sad really. I have spoken to countless audiences filled with business owners trapped in what I like to call the “but something is better than nothing” syndrome. (In full transparency, I will admit that there are a few times when discounting your products and services is acceptable, BUT more than likely, business owners are not discounting to reduce inventory on products that are collecting dust, instead they are fear-based pricing their offerings because they lack belief that they are worth more.)

People get their knickers in a knot when it comes to pricing their products and services based on the value because the product or service solves a major problem for their ideal clients. Even when value pricing your products and services, you still need to know what you must make to make performing the service worth it to you. For example, if your overhead to do a job is $5,000 and you know that you want to make a profit of 15% per job, your base line price, before you add in any of the valuable service additions you offer should be $5,750. So pricing the proposal at $4,500 so that you get the job is scarcity mindset based and even if you win, you’re energy is going to be so low that you won’t perform the job based on the level of excellence you want to be known for. As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle.

Instead, I recommend getting crystal clear on your ideal client. One who truly sees you as the solution to their ongoing pain-filled problem. One that they are ready to pay whatever it costs to fix once and for all. This is hard for most business owners, in fact identifying your ideal client is one of the hardest, most misunderstood concepts in business. But it is also one of the most essential.

After you get clear on your ideal client, get clear on the top-of-mind, specific problem that they are ready to pay to solve. The bottom line is this, if the problem isn’t keeping them up at night, they may not be ready to pay for a solution or they may be looking for a cheap fix. Well, if your products and services are a Mercedes Benz, you can’t go hanging around people who love to drive a Kia.

Next, determine the right price that an ideal client with the specific problem that you solve would have to invest in order to take possession of the product or service about which they are inquiring. Be sure to be clear on what it takes in your time plus sub-contractors to do the work and include any overhead or other applicable expenses to completing the work. Be sure that when you look at the number, you feel good about it too.

Lastly, create marketing that lets them know that you know who they are (because you got clear on who they need to be to invest in your products and services right now) and you know their top of mind, specific problem (because you focused on what they need and want not what you think they need and want.) If you create your marketing the correct way, they will come to you.

If your marketing is problem based and speaking to the right audience, you will find yourself saying, “No, I don’t offer discounts” seldom. Now, you may opt to incent your prospect to seal the deal. An incentive is applied after knowing the true value of the product or service and is designed to reward the purchaser for making a “right now” decision. Incentives do not last forever; they usually have an expiration date of 24-48 hours. Think about Macy’s and their one day sales. This is an incentive that they offer to their best customers to save periodically on their merchandise. A one day sale happens on one day, with a bonus preview day to get the savings but if you happen into a Macy’s once the one day sale has passed, you’re out of luck. The merchandise was fully valuable even during the one day sale, but to reward loyal shoppers they offer this incentive for a short period of time.

How can you apply a similar concept to your business? Write your thoughts down.

How will applying these strategies to your business help you to have to stop saying, “No, I don’t offer discounts?” I can’t wait to hear your comments.

©2012 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System® a proven step by step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio download “How to Use Your Incredible Factor to Attract MORE Ideal Clients” visit

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One Response

  1. Never again! I came to this realization today. I was giving a discount for my services and I had this massive knot in my stomach. Gosh!!! It’s the same I will be doing a lot of business with you ‘manipulation tactic’. It dawned on me that despite providing over and above service, the person still wants a discount. I got them the best price they could for their property, something they failed on their own and they want a discount. Last year, I helped someone save 58K by guiding them to make a move just before market went up. They wanted a discount. I can’t be struggling financially when I am doing my best like this. NO!!! Great article, just what I needed to make a resolution.

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