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Why Discounting Kills Your Business

Updated: Feb 16



In the world of business, the pursuit of profit is a never-ending journey. Every entrepreneur dreams of increasing their profit margin, and they often seek advice on how to achieve this goal. In this article, we'll explore a valuable approach to improving your business's profitability, drawing inspiration from the wisdom of Bryan Tracy, although his name may not appear explicitly.


The Costly Practice of Discounting

Discounting is a common practice in business, but it's not always the smartest move when it comes to maximizing profit margins. To truly understand the impact of discounting on your bottom line, let's delve into the numbers. Imagine you buy a product for $80 and sell it for $100, yielding a gross profit of $20. Now, let's consider a scenario where you offer a seemingly modest 10% discount to your customers. At first glance, it might not appear significant, but it can have a substantial effect.


The 50% Profit Erosion

By applying a 10% discount, you've essentially given away half of your profit. Yes, you heard that right – 50% of your hard-earned profit has walked out the door. To make up for this loss, you'd need to increase your sales by a whopping 50%. This means working harder, possibly hiring more staff, and incurring additional overhead costs. In the end, you'll find yourself with a significantly reduced profit margin.


The Critical Question: Is Discounting Worth It?

So, the crucial question to ask yourself as a business owner is, "Will a 10% discount result in a 50% increase in sales?" In most cases, this seems unlikely. Instead, you should consider alternative strategies to enhance your business's profitability without resorting to discounting.


The Psychology of Discounting

One of the primary reasons business owners tend to discount is because they lack a solid understanding of the value they provide. To overcome this mindset, it's essential to engage with your clients about their spending habits. When a customer asks for a discount, a powerful response is to inquire, "Which part of the service or product would you like to exclude?" This thought-provoking question can make customers reevaluate their request and appreciate the value you offer.


The Owner's Role in Discounting

Moreover, the culture of discounting often starts at the top – with the business owner. They discount because their perception of money and profit isn't aligned with the business's best interests. To break this cycle, it's crucial to challenge your clients about their spending habits and educate them on the value your product or service provides.


Adding Value Instead of Cutting Prices

In addition to avoiding discounts, consider strategies to add value for your customers. Instead of cutting prices, think about offering bonuses or additional products or services that enhance the overall value of the purchase. For instance, you could implement a "Buy 9, Get the 10th Free" promotion, which highlights the value of the 10th item while maintaining your pricing structure.


Discounting in Service-Oriented Businesses

Discounting isn't limited to product-based businesses. Service-oriented professionals like accountants are also prone to write off fees. This practice can be mitigated by billing promptly and setting clear payment terms. Offering discounts for faster payment, such as a 5% discount for payment within seven days, can incentivize clients to settle their bills more quickly, improving your cash flow without sacrificing profitability.


Training Your Sales Team for Success

Another critical aspect of avoiding discounts is training your sales team effectively. Many business owners aren't aware of the level of discounting happening within their organization. Sales training should focus on understanding the features and benefits of your product or service and teaching your team how to sell based on these merits, rather than relying on discounts as a crutch.


The Power of Transparent Pricing

By educating your sales team and emphasizing the value you provide, you can create a stronger, more confident sales force that doesn't rely on discounts to close deals. The goal is to train your team to sell based on the benefits, ask questions, and effectively communicate the value proposition to potential customers.


The No-Haggle Pricing Approach

In some cases, implementing a no-haggle pricing policy, similar to the concept used by certain car dealerships, can eliminate the uncertainty and mistrust associated with discounts. When customers see a transparent, fixed price, it fosters trust and simplifies the sales process.


Breaking the Discounting Cycle

To illustrate the impact of eliminating discounts, consider a study where two sales teams were selling the same product. One team had the ability to offer discounts of up to 14%, while the other had no such option. Surprisingly, the team with discounting capabilities saw an average discount rate of 14%, significantly reducing profitability. In contrast, the team without the discount option focused on selling product benefits and achieved higher profitability.


In Conclusion: Maximizing Profit without Discounts

In conclusion, while discounting may seem like a quick way to attract customers, it often erodes profit margins and can be detrimental to your business in the long run. By embracing value-driven sales strategies, transparent pricing, and effective sales training, you can boost your profit margins without resorting to discounts. Remember, it's not about giving your money away – it's about confidently conveying the value you provide to your customers and building a thriving business.




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