How to Avoid Haggling Over Accounting Rates

“You’re going to charge me how much? Can’t you cut me a deal? I’d be willing to hire you if you’d drop your price to…”

Sound familiar? When someone tries to haggle down your rates, it’s likely you’ll hear them say something similar.

One of the most frustrating scenarios is when a potential customer tries to haggle over our rates. It’s even more irritating when a returning customer takes it upon themselves to say, “I should get a discount for being loyal.”

Rewarding loyal clientele with discounts is a good business practice, but the client who receives this type of treatment is a proven asset. They’ve likely returned numerous times and brought new business with them.

Deterring Hagglers

Haggling is part of business. You’re going to run across it from time to time. Remember: you don’t have to lower your rate, ever.

The trick to dealing with and deterring hagglers is all about confidence and knowing how to talk with the haggler.

The first thing to remember is to avoid getting offended. Allowing yourself to instantly take on a negative attitude—not matter how justified—will hinder your ability to handle the matter professionally.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • You can’t work with everyone. If you’re intent on delivering high quality, it isn’t possible for you to take every job that comes your way. Don’t expect to work with everyone who contacts you, and don’t be afraid to turn someone away.
  • Use your contact page wisely. Your contact page should reflect your commitment to high value by explaining that you may be able to work with the person who is about to fill out the contact form. If you can only take a few new clients each month to preserve quality, state this on the contact page.
  • Be ready and willing to lose a client. If a client questions every penny, fights every field on the invoice or doesn’t feel you’re worth the rate you’re charging, don’t be afraid to walk away. These people take more energy and time than they are worth.

How to Pacify a Haggler

What do you do when someone says they just can’t afford your rate, and they want you to drop it? First, don’t feel like you are obligated to drop your rate just for them.

You can address the issue by letting them know that you realize they appreciate value and are on a budget. Explain that in order to meet their proposed rate, you would have to rush and sacrifice quality.

You’re not in the business of sacrificing quality. However, assure them that you can offer something else at a different price point. This shows your willingness to work with them, but clearly shows that you’re staying on your terms.

Let’s face it: no matter what you do, you will never avoid haggling over your rates completely. There will always be a person who is bent on finding the best deal and looking to negotiate. Be ready to respond by sticking to your terms and spotlighting your strong commitment to quality.

For more information on building value and getting better clients so that you no longer have to deal with hagglers, check out the ebook, Accounting Firm Owners: The 7 Secrets You Know To Increase Profits in 2014. 

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