What do you say when a prospective client for your accounting firm says, “What discount can you give us on that price?”

Imagine you’ve just wowed them with a proposal in the meeting, but it’s more than they’re wanting to pay. They’ve turned around to you and said, “Look… we love everything in there, but what discount can you do for us?”

“What discount can I have?”An accountant’s winning response…

Now I have a stock response to this which is…

“Absolutely none, but I don’t blame you for asking.”

Because at the point when they’re asking for a discount, they actually WANT what you have. They’re just not prepared, or WEREN’T READY to pay as much as you’re charging them.

But that’s not to say they don’t want it.

It’s also not to say they haven’t bought things before that were more expensive than they wanted to pay for it. Think about it. How many times have you bought something that was more expensive than you wanted to pay?

I learnt this back in the day when I used to be a close-up magician. My fees were quite expensive. So occasionally somebody would say to me, “What discount can you give us?”

I would reply with, “Absolutely none, but I don’t blame you for asking.

But I’d always follow up with, “However, I do have another magician if you’re looking for somebody cheaper for your event… but I’ll warn you now… they do like a drink (ha ha.)”

The same goes for clients, and I would call them out on it.

I would say, “If you’re looking for somebody cheap, there are a few other accountancy firms I can recommend you to if that’s what you want… But this is our price.”

“It’s the price that you’re going to pay, it’s the price that the last client paid, and it’s the same price that the next client’s going to pay as well. And if I reduce your price, I’m devaluing our entire service across the board, and I know what incredible value I can provide you with.”

Instead of discounting, add value

You would think that if we do loads of extra work for our clients for free, they would absolutely love us. But the opposite is true.

They actually start to undervalue what we do. They question if they’re paying us TOO much sometimes. As a result, it’s often hard to deliver the high level of service they expect and that we’d love to give.

We give our time away for free. We give these extra services away for free. We don’t charge for it, and that creates a real problem.

Now if you did want to give them something extra, you could upgrade a level of service. You could say, “Look, you’ve chosen this service, but I’m going to give you our VIP support package. Which means that we’ll get back to you within the hour as opposed to 24 hours.”


You could also say something like, “We can onboard you within a week rather than within a month”.

But I certainly wouldn’t discount the price and here’s the key reason why…

WHY accountants shouldn’t discount

If you give somebody a discount, their reaction will be, “YES!!! I’ve got a discount!” And they’ll go off thinking, “Really glad I asked for that discount.”

Then, three or four minutes later they’ll start to wonder:

  • ‘could have got it for less?’
  • ‘Maybe we should have asked for more of a discount?’
  • ‘What did the last client pay this firm for these services?’

They then get to a point in their mind where they start thinking, “Why didn’t they just give us the lower price in the first place if that’s what their service is worth?”

And THEN what happens is mistrust builds. And I guarantee if you give somebody a discount, what you start to do is ultimately corrode the relationship because you lied in the first place.

Deep down in their subconscious, they now have less trust for you.

And personally, I can’t risk that happening.

The relationship will start to deteriorate and they will become a pain-in-the-backside-client. Think about the clients in the past where you’ve given them a discount and what a pain in the backside they became.

You think, ‘Why on earth are you behaving like this? I even gave you a discount to start with.’

What you’re actually saying is, ‘I lied to you to start with, and therefore it’s no surprise that you became like that. ‘

Now its your turn

You can handle this however you want, but for me, we know the value of our service, we know the value that we can provide to our clients.

If somebody asks you for a discount, the stock answer is, “I don’t blame you for asking, but absolutely not, no.

And that one sentence will preserve the relationship moving forward. It will preserve the trust in that relationship and you know what…

…they’ll end up going ahead with it anyway.

In case you missed the video, check it out here 👇🏻

Client Stories

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Euan Brown | Founder of Total Accounting

James Ashford

James Ashford

James is the Founder of GoProposal, Director of MAP., Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author of "Selling to Serve". He helps accountants and bookkeepers around the world to price more profitably, sell more confidently and to give significantly more value to their clients.