By Tom Reilly, author of Crush Price Objections

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. Rudyard Kipling

Words matter. Words hurt. Words heal. Words destroy a sale. Words make a sale.

“Discount” and “price-cut” are words that hurt the sale. Understand the premise behind each. To discount or cut price, one assumes that the asking price is too high. When buyers ask for a discount and salespeople comply, it feeds the perception that the salesperson has been overcharging all along. It confirms the buyer’s suspicion that price is negotiable.

Will you ever reduce your price? Yes. That is the reality of business. How you reduce price makes a difference in the perception of your pricing integrity. “Changing” and “adjusting” price are better alternatives to discounts and price-cuts. How you frame your response matters.

For example, when the buyer asks you to discount your price, there is only one way you must respond. “If you’re asking if we can discount or cut the price, the answer is ‘no’. If you’re asking if we can change or adjust the price, the answer is ‘yes.’ But, the only way we can adjust our price is to change the package in some fashion to reflect the changes in price.”

Changing the package legitimizes your changing the price. It preserves your credibility. The same logic applies to price increases. Use the word “adjustment” when discussing changes in price. Adjustment sounds like a response to market conditions. Adjustments can go up or down. Customers realize that you are responding to market conditions, not simply trying to gain ground on your margins.

Words matter. The words you use help shape your buyer’s attitudes. Choose carefully.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on price objections, Crush Price Objections (McGraw-Hill). You many visit him online at

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