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How Do I Handle Requests for Discounts?

Strategies for Selling
By Brad Huisken
This story appears in the May 2007 issue of JCK magazine
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Some people ask for a discount just to ask. Others want to be sure they’re getting the best price possible. And some customers might be trying to play the negotiating game. But just because a customer asks doesn’t mean a salesperson has to offer a discount to close the sale.

First, make it clear to the customer that the store does not allow discounting. Then you must increase his or her perception of value when buying from you. You have to let the customer know that your store is different from other stores, especially those that discount at the mere mention of a price consideration.

The key is the customer’s perception of value and how well you created—or increased—that perception by the words you used in conversation with the customer. You have to sell yourself, and you have to sell the store.

Here’s an example of what a customer might say to a salesperson: “This ring is gorgeous. What’s the best price you can give me?”

Consider a response like this: “Here at ABC Jewelers we take pride in offering our customers extremely competitive prices without having to play the discounting game. Unlike some jewelers that mark their prices up to offer a discount, we price our jewelry at the best price possible. I know that she is going to absolutely love wearing this piece and hearing the many compliments she will receive. Would you like me to gift wrap it?”

It’s up to the salesperson to make sure the customer’s perception of value for the merchandise exceeds the customer’s perception of value for his or her money. Once this is accomplished, the sale will be completed.

The way a salesperson deals with a request from a customer for a discount depends on whether or not the jewelry store allows discounting. This month, we’ll assume the salesperson works in a store where he or she not allowed to discount. In next month’s column, we’ll answer the question as if discounting is allowed.

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