Advice: "My prospects keep asking for discounts. How can I close deals without giving anything away?"

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Dear Quota Team

I'm an AE at a mid-sized software company that just got acquired by a private equity firm. Thankfully, there weren't any layoffs in the sales department. However, our new management has decided that we need to raise prices across the board. This is not just for new customers, but for all accounts when they come up for renewal. Our company is a market leader, but there are definitely competitors that have similar solutions to ours and have already been trying to compete with us on price.

One of my biggest accounts is coming up for renewal next quarter. I'm very nervous to have the conversation with them. I've never had to do something like this and I'm worried I might screw it up and lose the account. What can I do to increase my chances of success?

Worried in New York


Dear Worried,

Telling your customers they'll need to pay more for something they’re already getting is never easy. But if your product is truly providing value and is a "need-to-have" rather than a "nice-to-have," you should be able to renew most of these contracts with the right approach. 

First, you need to communicate the price increase and the reasoning behind it ASAP.  Some companies just send generic email blasts to customers, but the best approach is being personal. You should call your customer directly and let them know you'll be increasing prices so that they have enough time to prepare internally.

You'll also need to justify the price increase. You can bring up reasoning like higher operational costs, but the customer doesn't really care about you, they just want to know what they'll be getting in return for paying more. Often, the best way to do this is to take a value-based approach to show how you’re justifying the price increase. For example, you can explain that you're developing new features that will help them get even more value from the product. 

Be prepared for pushback. Let your customer know that you're there to answer any questions, and don't be afraid to bring in execs from your side into the conversation. This can go a long way to showing the client that you truly value their business. Of course, you should also be willing to work with them and don't be afraid to compromise if it means you’ll get to keep them as a client. It won’t be easy, but knowing how to have this conversation is a great skill to have. Good luck!

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