How to avoid the discount trap

Do you frequently discount to win business? Does your brand seem to matter less to customers today? It’s no wonder. Customers can do a Google search of your product or service and, within minutes, learn about your product, your competitors, what customers think of you, and find the lowest prices.

So, with this kind of information at their fingertips, why would they need to meet with a salesperson?

It’s a critical question in today’s selling environment—and one you need to think about if you want to sell better.

In recent observations done by Barrett we noticed a curious common characteristic. Customers, faced with several competitive offerings, could find no difference between them except price, and more than 60% of the time they did not select the lowest-priced offering.


Simply because customers were willing to pay more when they experienced one or more of the following:

  • The salesperson focused on a latent need. A latent need is some difficulty that the buyer was not fully aware of, but when uncovered, became a burning issue. These latent needs tend to lie beneath the surface and are only revealed through careful questioning, combined with business acumen and industry knowledge;
  • The salesperson established an unanticipated solution for the buyer’s latent need. Only those salespeople who focus on what the buyer’s issues are and call on their business knowledge, would be able to present an unanticipated solution; and
  • Finally, the salesperson served as more than just a vendor of products and services; the salesperson was an honest broker of solutions. This is about making the full capabilities of the sales organisation available to the customer. It’s about cross-selling at the strategic level; involves looking at the customer’s total needs and seeing where you can match them up for maximum value to the buyer.

Please note the focus is on the value to the buyer, not the size of the deal.

When salespeople make the shift to true solutions crafting, buyers waive their price arguments.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Sue Barrett is the founder and chief executive of the innovative and forward thinking sales advisory and education firm, Barrett and the online sales education and resource platform Striving to develop and deliver better sales standards and strategies to help people and businesses sell better, Sue is a sales philosopher, strategist, speaker, trainer, writer, adviser and selling better activist.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.