4 Alternatives to Consider before Discounting a Sale

Have you ever been met with the polite protests of customers who say things such as, “If you can take $1,000 off the bill, you’ve got a sale” or “I know another sign guy who can do this for cheaper. If you can match his price, you’ve got a deal”?

The obvious truth is that we don’t want to lose these customers over discounts. At the same time, you as the sign shop owner know that you price your products and services specifically to get back your expenses and then make a profit.

So, how can you keep these customers happy without actually discounting your sales?

Here at shopVOX, we’re going to show you four alternatives to discounting so you can generate sufficient income while making your customers feel that they are still receiving value.

1. Include Maintenance in the Sale

This first alternative is to include maintenance in the sales that you make to these customers.

This point applies mostly to the sign shops that produce outdoor signage such as light boxes, channel letters, awnings, sign cabinets, monument signs, and the like. Because these types of signs tend to be more involved to manufacture, the prices are usually higher.

And with higher prices comes more sticker shock from the customer.

It’s natural to expect that, but, again, you know that you price your products at exactly what they need to be for you to make money.

So, one way around a request for a discount is to offer maintenance as part of the package.

The reason that maintenance should add value to your customers is because these signs do need some upkeep to continue working at optimal capacity. You know that, for the most part, your customers aren’t regularly getting up on ladders to inspect and clean their channel-letter signs.

Present the maintenance plan as your shop thinking of the customer’s future rather than just the here and now.

Yes, you’re requesting the full price of the customer, but have the individual think of a year from now, when the sign needs maintenance. What other sign shop in the area is offering maintenance as part of the sale price?

By showing that you’re willing to think of the product long-term, you’re showing your customers that they’re paying for something that’s actually worthwhile.

The second benefit of this is that, since you’ll be stopping by the job site a few times a year to check up on the installation, you will have an even better opportunity to make another sale to that same customer, with whom you will now build a better relationship.

2. Extend Your Warranty

Sign shops often grant their customers guarantees on their labor and the actual signs they produce. As another alternative to a discount, you may want to consider extending your warranty on parts and labor to give your customer more value.

See what your competitors are doing. Do they offer the standard one-year warranty on all their work? If so, maybe offer a two-year or three-year warranty to show your customers that you’re giving them more.

Not too many sign and print shops out there will extend their warranties to five years, but you can if you add the warranty price into your sale price. It will pay for itself when you make your sale and the customer gets peace of mind.

3. Providing Another Sign with the Purchase

In the world of vinyl signs, we have a lot of waste. With that waste, why not print a duplicate sign for your customers that they can place somewhere else? Don’t charge them for the sign made from the wasted raw materials. Give it to them to provide more value.

This will create trust in your customers. They will know they got two signs for the price of one and received some serious value from the single cost they paid.

At the same time, though, you should not do any extra work on that kind of sign. The sign is a gift, so don’t spend more time hanging that sign, since you don’t want to lose money on it.

Now, there is a difference between a waste sign and a free sign. If we’re talking about free signs, then you should speak to your customers about other opportunities they can think of for signs in their business.

Do they need an A-frame sign, a parking sign, a window sign, or a poster?

Take the most complicated and expensive parts of a customer’s order and charge regular prices for them. But if the customer also needs something simple along with those, such as a window sign, throw it in for free.

Why would you do this?

It’s because your choices are usually to discount a sale and lose margin or lose money on raw materials that you likely have lying around the shop anyway.

It’s relatively easy to compound the raw materials in your shop and make a functional product from them. The customer will see this kind of deal as fair and especially valuable, since they received something they were not expecting at no extra charge.

4. Throw in Extras

The last alternative to discounting a sale is to throw in some extras to your customers along with their signs.

Think about what every business needs. Every business needs shirts, business cards, sales collateral, car magnets, and so on.

These are items that more or less shouldn’t cost you a lot to produce. And they are items that you can add in to provide customers with more value.

Your customers will see this part of the deal as being more than just dollar signs.

These Alternatives Are about the Customer Experience

All of these alternatives are about the rapport that you will build with your customers.

Yes, it’s true that you don’t want to lose money on sales and so you think of these things as options instead of discounting, but you’re also refashioning your deals in ways that make your customers feel cared for.

So, when you’re navigating around your shopVOX sign software and looking at what you’re making on everything, think of the customer and how you can provide more to them without cutting into your margins.

It could make all the difference in the world.