We all know the dangers of discounting client work to get our foot in the door – we already have enough trouble haggling over pricing as it is.
However, there are times when a client earns a discount. Maybe they’ve referred multiple new clients, or perhaps they’re excellent clients and you want to thank them. (Remember, always discount the next project, not the current one, to keep ’em coming back!)
But you don’t want to offer a coupon like a grocery store. How do you offer a professional discount without cheapening your services?
Frame the discount as a reward.
By rewarding your client, you’re suggesting that they’ve earned the discount rather than you arbitrarily sending a coupon in the mail. You might even encourage better client behavior!
Here are some ideas:
- A thank you card for a great referral.
- An award (think “Best Client of the Year,” “Most Organized Client,” “Least Stressful Client,” etc.).
- A “frequent buyer” card for clients who hire you for a lot of work.
- A milestone certificate for reaching five years as a client.
Personalize your message.
Personalizing your message helps take the grocery coupon out of your discount. This makes your client feel special instead of wondering if everyone received one.
So when you’re contacting your clients, make sure they know you were specifically thinking of them.
- Hand-write a holiday greeting.
- Mention something specific they do that you really appreciate.
- Get to know something about each client outside of your working relationship and refer to it in your note (such as “Good luck in your upcoming softball tournament!”).
- Always, always remark how much you’re looking forward to working with them in the future. (Now’s a great time to upsell!)
Create/do something you know they’d like.
I’m not saying you have to redo their entire website, but creating (or doing) something worth a similar price as a discount you’d offer them anyway will help strengthen your relationship and reward your client with something worthwhile.
- A motivational poster for that empty space in their office.
- A t-shirt design for their employees.
- That nifty widget they’ve been interested in implementing on their website.
- Send flowers, a gift basket, or a gift card.
Make sure whatever you decide to do will be of value to your client. You don’t want to gift something your client finds cheesy or useless.
Use your discounts wisely.
What I mean is, discounts should be a rare and special gift or you risk clients being disappointed that they aren’t getting one every project. If it’s always Christmas, it’s never Christmas.
By using discounts wisely, you’ll give your discounts more significance while strengthening your relationships.
You know you’ve gotten it right when…
…you make your client smile at your thoughtfulness and customer service. Am I right?
How do you offer discounts to your clients? What types of discounts are best received? Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the discussion!