Do You Expect One?
I asked the above question on my iPhone “Thumb Survey Application” and these were the results.
One area where many retail salespeople shoot themselves in the foot is offering discounts. Doing this not only eats into the company’s profit, but can actually cause you to lose the sale entirely. How could that be?
One of the biggest determining factors when buying is trust. If the price is not real, maybe the product isn’t either. Offering a discount to make a sale can communicate just that. When customers make excuses for not buying, like, “I need to think about it” and the truth is they just don’t like it, a discount won’t make them like it any more. I walked into a furniture store recently and the salesperson came out of the back room and announced, “Have a look around, if you see something you like I can work with you on the price.” What he was really saying is, “None of our prices are real, and if you are a good enough negotiator you might get a deal.”
Many customers don’t need a discount to buy, but, if one is available they will take it. A wealthy client of mine went into a reputable jewelry store recently and picked out a bracelet for his girlfriend; $5,000. He asked the salesperson if that was his best price. The salesperson paused, thought for a minute and then said, “Well, we could finance it.” With that he pulled out his black American Express Card and said, “That’s okay, just put it on here.” He told me that was “the nicest insult he ever had.” It was as if the salesperson said, “Well if you can’t afford it what are you doing in this store?”
“If We can, will you…?”
With all of this being said, there are times a discount can close a sale and many salespeople are armed with this tool. If that’s the case, it should only be used to CLOSE the sale, not to OPEN the sale. If your company gives you a “discount budget” and price becomes an issue, ask the customer, “Is the price your only concern?” If the answer is, “No” you have work to do; offering a discount isn’t the answer. On the other hand, if the answer is, “Yes” you can say, “Okay, I will see what we can do, but if I get the okay, are you ready to get it today?” Now go call or ask someone. Don’t put yourself on the bargaining table. The customer may be a better negotiator than you are.