In today’s world, it might feel tempting, even necessary, to offer discounts and deals in order to get business and land new clients. To be the lowest bidder on a project.
But I have also learned how detrimental this can be to our businesses, our livelihoods and our spirits while damaging the very thing that we should hold sacred – our self worth.
Let me explain…
When a service-oriented small business routinely or unconsciously discounts its services, a chain reaction is set into motion that is difficult to undo. The work required is still the same. The expectations from the client are still the same. The cost of doing business is still the same.
And if you haven’t thought through your own marketing approach for the year and become crystal clear about the value of your time and expertise, little waves of resentment can start creeping into the discounted project. You may realize that you’ve given a part of yourself away and it feels lousy. You may find yourself looking for shortcuts, feeling unmotivated, longing for the project to end.This isn’t good for your clients. This isn’t good for business. This isn’t good for you.
Instead of saving your clients money at your own expense, here is what I suggest:
1) Carefully craft opportunities throughout the year where you provide offerings that give you and your clients higher leverage. This is where investing time and energy into your own marketing and manifestation plan comes into play. Examples might be: setting bulk rates on certain purchased services; creating packaged opportunities for your services; providing a value-added bonus to a standard service; negotiating a clearly-defined trade agreement; orrevamping consulting hours where maintenance items are covered at a lower rate by an entry-level assistant or intern.
2) Volunteer for something near and dear to your heart. Not only will this help satisfy your need to give, but finding situations that need your unique offerings can open doors for new business endeavors in the future. Plus, you can further hone your skills, meet amazing new people, get out of the office, re-energize your spirit, learn new things, and enhance your credibility and circle of contacts, to name a few.
3) Set aside a certain number of project hours each year that you can earmark for gifts. A gift of your time and expertise to someone in need can go a long way in supporting your well being and that of others. And gifts are great fun because there are no strings attached! You’ve mindfully and purposefully designated the time to share your expertise while genuinely and unconditionally expecting absolutely nothing in return.
So before you give in to the temptation to discount your services, think deeply about the benefits, consequences, opportunities and purpose. Create a plan that you feel good about and can completely and wholeheartedly support without negative results or resentment.
And if you decide to provide a discount, do so with confidence, clarity and certainty that it’s the exact right thing for everyone involved, especially you.