Keep Your Cool When They Ask for A Discount


Now, I love a good discount, BOGO sale, and the like. In fact, like you, I ask for the free stuff first and ask questions later. I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with asking for and enjoying discounts. If you can find someone who can do that for you for cheap or free, I fully support you. It is not my view that you are doing something bad for asking a question that most of us would take full advantage of if offered. 

“I think you are well on your way to being an amazing negotiator for bargains and couponing. There is a whole niche for that too, and I admire them.”

However, for those entrepreneurs like myself who run a firm or have a merchandise brand, I finally understand what offering great service and products means for my sales. Every now and then, I will run a promotion or lower cost sale for merchandise, and it sometimes sells fast like the mugs I released when I first started selling merchandise in November 2019. Other times, even with a discount, the items you get all the calls and text messages about, they don’t translate into sales. I experienced that same thing with my law firm. Sometimes when clients see professional services at a big discount, they question the worth of the service. Furthermore, lower prices did not translate into more sales. I made a major change in 2019 and revamped my business plan. I learned that when the price is right, it defines the quality of the services. Now, giving a free seminar or providing some free resources is still a great pro bono service, and we do that often. However, I tell minority women to demand your full coin for another reason. 

“The quality of services, the time, and effort you put into your work is reflected in your price.” I was once told by an amazing speaking mentor that “God did not give me this gift to let me starve.”

What does that even mean? It means that people have been fully invested in discounts since the beginning. If I can get $5 off a $10 product I might just buy it. However, as you start providing professional services and your brand picks up traction, I will ask you this, how often do you see a Rolls Royce on sale? The answer is you do not. 

You will reach that level in your business where people will see the value that you offer and pay you for your time. If they cannot pay you, that is ok. One day, they will be able to make that investment or they can shop around. The big part about charging full price for your services is not belittling people who don’t know better or cannot afford your price when they ask the age-old question, “Can I get a family and friend’s discount?” Do not spend time belittling them or trying to convince them how they need your services. You can simply say “no, but I respect your hustle because we are all trying to find a good deal.

You must recognize that you can say “no” without going on a rant later about how people don’t want to pay you what you are worth for your services. Trust me, I am ministering to myself as well. I am human, like us all. I think it is easy to stay angry because then you have many people willing to commiserate with you. However, how often do you thank them for even wanting your business or trusting your expertise enough to share that idea with you for even a moment? I have been working hard on redeveloping my mindset. Part of that development is to rid myself of any signs and behaviors that point to entitlement and superiority complexes. I try to take the time to tell myself to stay grounded like my Dad and Mom always have taught us, “Neena you still have more to learn. This is not the final level.”

I have to do that for myself as an exercise because we get these honors and awards and certifications. Then, sometimes we treat people like we know everything. We swear that we are the expert they need when there are many out there who can provide services. Let me tell you, even after twenty-seven years of life, I learn from people who are not even lawyers how to be a better lawyer every single day. I learn in the drive-thru at Starbucks when a new trainee who is struggling to punch in the buttons for the drink I get every day. I learn to explain my order to them patiently and kindly because we all started somewhere. My hope behind that is if I were ever working there, I would want to know that the lady who comes here all the time treats me the same when I am struggling and when I get it right. I think my Starbucks family became my favorite training ground for learning the stories of my future clients. Most of the people who approach me for my services, they work long hours for very little take-home pay, and they rarely have people ask about their day. They just hear orders and try to make the customer happy ALL DAY LONG. I know that I make people feel at home and can help with so many areas in their lives.  I know that I can be that helpful in areas I specialize in. So can you, sis. That is why you can still charge your full coin, though people love asking for discounts because the kind of service you give is unmatched. When you know that, you charge that. However, you don’t force or try to convince people to accept that. That is the key.

Not everyone is going to be able to afford higher prices, but if they could afford the better service for that price, they would be able to see the value added by someone’s dedication to making people feel important and the high-quality customer service provided. It is hard to teach that because we live in a culture that loves to criticize professionals for their rates.  However, this is about why paying full coin can be rewarding when you see the benefits people can add to your life. So, I challenge you, pick a minority female-owned small business. Go to their website, and buy anything you think would be helpful. Send her a picture when you get it. These businesswomen just light up inside to know that someone said you know what I don’t know you, but I believe in you. That is what they do for so many other people all the time when they create their product or service. Usually, it was created with that same intent in mind. Don’t worry, you can still ask for a discount later, but just try that one time. 

To give you some facts and figures on minority female-owned businesses. Did you know that “just 2.7% of all venture capital in the U.S. goes to female founders”? Of the total U.S. businesses, only 40% of US businesses are women-owned. Minority-owned businesses account for less than 29% of that. If we do the math, that means roughly 11.6% of minority female-owned businesses have to share the average awarded 2.7% capital investment funds per year with their white counterparts which means they rarely receive invest capital in their business venture. That means they invest in themselves or mainly rely on asking for crowdfunding, selling products, selling services to try to expand the business. That young minority woman is telling you she did not get the funding from capital investment to form that business, but she is still willing to try anyway. That is why I tell her, or you, to demand your full coin because she needs it to run and grow the business. Every little bit helps. One day, she might offer a discount just for you when her brand takes off, or she may always keep your connection. 

That’s my two cents though. I believe we should prosper with the full coin, but never try to force your services on someone. They will come to you and book you at your standard price when they are ready, and you can still offer the occasional discount. Just remember, do not bad talk people who do not want to give the full coin or even ones that bad mouth you. It’s not worth it. Your character will show the truth. Just remember, it is not your job to make people feel small. You are meant to edify, empower, and encourage. Thank you for tuning in, and I hope you learned how to better support those folks that ask my “now” new favorite question, “ so you got me on the discount, right?” I say “no, but I like that you are thinking about using me for my services. I am truly honored.” What’s your welcome to that question?

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.