Professionals Don’t Discount Their Services (and Neither should You)

Professionals don’t discount. Period. Your lawyer doesn’t. Neither does your doctor. A set rate is a set rate. At least for them.

But what about you? Having a sale on products you sell to generate interest or say ‘thanks’ is fine, once in a while. It even makes people excited to test out your stuff. But have you ever felt the temptation to discount your services to sign on more clients? Come on, be honest.

Worse, you may be someone who has a “sliding scale,” meaning you determine what to charge once you get that prospective client in front of you. You’ve got to stop doing that! It’s about the worse thing you can do for your reputation, The Leveraged Business, and practice building.

Now, many people feel the pull to offer discounts to friends and people who can’t seem to afford their services. Here’s my thought about that: it devalues your services dramatically and shows others you’ve given them permission (as well as yourself) to think your services are not worth what you charge for them.

While you’re at it, you’re also giving them a signal to keep taking advantage of you over and over again. I remember when I was doing nutrition counseling, back many years ago, I was “pressured” by a client to give a discount. I was in a place where I “needed” clients, so I gave in, thinking that this person would not have signed up if I hadn’t knocked off those last $200 or $300.

I found I resented that client the entire time we worked together. Somehow, I was a little angry that I was forced into this and I found myself giving less of myself in our sessions. I didn’t like what I was doing. I just felt used. (Has that ever happened to you?)

It became clear that when someone takes an inch (asking for a discount and getting it), they’ll then try to take a mile (not believing the policies and procedures apply to them). I had to set up a whole bunch of boundaries in the relationship. Needless to say, the whole thing was a disaster and if I’d stuck to my original rate the first time (my boundaries around my rates) I wouldn’t have had this problem throughout.

Discounting is not necessarily good news for you and your reputation. Here’s what you can do instead. Offer different options, and different programs to fit all different budget levels. Let there be something for everyone’s budget, that way, you don’t HAVE to discount.

Your assignment:

Make a pact with yourself now that you will never discount. Yes, right now. Trust me on this one.

If the person still cannot afford your services, that’s OK. Avoid the temptation to reduce your rates, even “just this one time, because I like you.” (This is especially important for those who don’t have a full practice and really NEED the money.)

Let them know you’ll be here to help them whenever they’re able to. Most times, people come back to sign up for one of your programs when they can afford it a few weeks later. It’s worth the wait.

Instead, create different offerings at different price points to have something there for different types of clients and different budget levels. Wanna see how I set up different packages and programs with different price points, so there’s something for everyone? It’s easy and it’s all in the Client Attraction Home Study System™, the “bible” for attracting all the clients you need with proven, systematic processes that will help you fill your practice quickly and consistently, guaranteed. Here’s where you can get a copy:

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5 Responses

  1. So true. You feel much better when you get what you’re worth. I think holidays and milestones are a great time to discount (such as when you had the sale when you had Oliver) or a pay-in-full discount, which I do. But, discounting out of necessity isn’t good energy.

  2. Thank you Fabienne. I think you are absolutely right. I just had a call from a copywriting agency asking me to do some work. They said my day rate was too high (it really isn’t) and they wanted me to do an extraordinary amount of work for peanuts. I said ‘no thank you’ and explained I couldn’t lower my day date, and I felt really good! Yes, I need the money, but I am highly qualified with lots of experience and I refuse to be taken advantage of. After all when I go to the hairdresser, I don’t say, “I’d like the top stylist please but I’m only willing to pay half of what he or she usually charges.”

  3. I’m not a fan of discounting my services but I do think there is a time and place. I will discount my services for military, police, firefighter, or charity events and that is because I believe strongly in thanking these service people for what they do.

    My other scenario is where i discounted my services by 75% for a lady who had sent me over $10000 in work over the last 2 years. It seemed appropriate and it was my way of thanking her.

    That being said, there are those in my industry who will discount at the first sign of push back from a client. I don’t agree with that. Stand firm for what you are truly worth.

  4. I think you are right on. People will always find a way to buy what they really really want.

  5. That’s an interesting concept, but I am not sure it works across the board. Our translation agency works with quite a few charities and we have set a discounted price for this category of clients.

    I do agree that giving discounts ad hoc whenever you are pressed for clients or feel pressured by the client is not a good idea.

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