Your client is going to ask you for a lower price. They are obligated to do so, as this makes them good stewards of their company’s money. They want to make the best deal they can for their company, just like the people who buy things for your company. You can expect this to happen, and you can yourself fortunate when it doesn’t.
Your client might say, “Can you do better than this,” or “Can you help me out,” or “That isn’t going to fly,” or “I want to work with you, but you’ll need to match your competitor,” or “I need you to sharpen your pencil.” No matter what words they may use to express the idea that they need a discount, as soon as you say, “Let me ask my manager what we can do,” you have already conceded on price.
The first thing you’ve done to harm yourself when asked for a price reduction is to disempower yourself. Suggesting that you have no real power to negotiate a discount puts you in a position of weakness (even though some people use this in attempt to improve their position). You have moved away from being a peer and towards being something less than that, diminishing your stature in the eyes of your prospective client.
The second thing that has occurred is that you have switched sides in the negotiation. Instead of negotiating with your prospect, you are now going to your manager to negotiate with your company. You may not have thought of this in this way, but you are now negotiating the size of the concession you are going to give your prospect. It’s likely that is an easier negotiation that the one you might have had with your client.
Without either pushing back and defending the investment you are asking your client to make or negotiating, you have signaled that you are going to give a concession. By doing so, you have likely set a precedent for future negotiations.
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