“Is there a special discount for repeat customers?”
“I’ve known you since 3rd grade, can’t you charge me less?”
“Well, I know a guy there that charged my friend way less than you.”
Bargaining is part and parcel of business. Heck, it’s part and parcel of life. How else would you come to an agreement with your wife over what color the walls should be? Or maybe that was more of a coercion…
All jokes aside, should you be settling for less when you know you deserve better? Will it trap you in the long run when you deal with the same customer? And why do people lowball if they already know how much you’re charging for a full body coating? Before releasing any profanity, it’s time to dissect the bargaining culture and how you can get out of awkward discount questions without being an a-hole.
1. Customers Don’t Always Know the Value of Your Service, You Should Be Ready to Explain
Ultimately, you’re the owner of your coating business. You know the value of materials bought to finish a job (boxes, bottles, towels, sponges, pads) and the time spent to make sure it’s finished on time. Most importantly, the experience that comes from doing years of coating all sorts of vehicles. All the mistakes and successes that you’ve come to lose and gain. The tips and tricks to being the best in coating anything.
But your customers won’t understand all that because they’re not in your field. To them, the value should be based on how difficult or easy the job is. What could take half an hour for you to fix and coat may take half a day for a business somewhere else. This in turn makes it look like your result is less expensive because “It’s easy.”
You can argue “But that’s why I’m expensive!” all you want but until you calm down and point these misguided customers in the right mindset, they won’t know any better. So be prepared with an intelligent answer. After all, you’re not being paid to struggle your way through the deal. You’re being paid to deliver your A-game, every time, on time.
So let them know that their money is worth every cent with your logical explanation.
2. Customers Measure Your Worth in Terms of Hours Put into the Job
Why? Why do long hours mean expensive and short hours mean cheap? Well, if you’re charging by the hour then yeah it’s an important debate. But we’re not here to tell you how to run your business or whether you should charge by hour or by job. But we are telling you why your customers are expecting to pay you by the hour you put into your service.
We are social creatures that prefer the comfort of familiarity. And for people who are used to getting paid by the hours they worked, it’s a familiar concept that the more hours you put into working the more you’ll get paid. Hence, it’s the closest concept they can grasp when they want to pay for a coating service. Seeing how you can complete a job so easily will make them feel like they’re overpaying you.
But as you and I both know, time is a social construct bla bla bla. You’ll need a logical answer that appeals to their intelligence and emotion when they ask, “Why should I pay a lot for essentially what is a half an hour work?” The best way to go about it is to say that you’re both heading towards an end result that is both satisfactory as it is timely.
In other words, you both want great results fast.
3. Sometimes….People Just Want to Bargain for the Sake of Bargaining
And no, they’re not the low ballers that just want to waste your time. If you ever spot those, make sure to refuse at will. You know the one…that asks for ridiculously low price because “Even I can do it.” I think every sane business people will tell you to turn them away before you lose on the real customers that want your attention.
But it’s not the case for these good people. They are just used to bargaining. Maybe for fun, maybe for establishing a connection. But just know that there are people who like bargaining just for the sake of negotiating. And you should always be prepared with an answer, no matter what the answer is that you think is appropriate.
Know your limit and let your customer know why if you do decide to actually lower your price. We’re not here to say that giving discounts is bad but you don’t want to be stuck in the cycle of, “You gave me a discount last time, can’t you do the same now?” And if you’re not planning on budging from your price, be prepared with the reason why too.
At the end of it all, you’re both looking to accomplish great results and be happy about it. Bargaining is just the beginning of a business relationship. After that, whether it’s the point where you know you’re going to hate to lose the customer or where you’re ready to piss them off is all yours to decide.
IGL Coatings want you to have fun building a long list of happy clients that make you happy too!
Who are we?
IGL Coatings is the leading manufacturer and formulator of low and zero VOC high solids ceramic coatings. Our product range includes multiple surface coatings, cleaning and maintenance for various surfaces including paint, glass, metals, plastic and fabrics.