Clever Ways to Handle Hagglers and Discount Requests

Since launching Beaver Builder, we’ve had several customers reach out to us via email and ask for a discount on our product. Part of this was spurred by the fact that we hadĀ a Black Friday promotion. Afterward, many folks asked if they could retroactively receive the discount. We also have an affiliate program and occasionally we’ll have someone ask if they can have aĀ similar discount to what we compensate our affiliates. Some peopleĀ just like to do a little haggling before making a purchase. I’ll gladly admit that I have received discounts on all sorts of purchases just by politely asking. It’s a relatively common practiceĀ and in some cultures an integral part of doing business.

Should one over price and use an on-going discount as aĀ marketing strategy?

That said, we’re still trying to figure out an official stance on how we handle discounts. If we honor everyone that asks for a discount, we might as well just lower our prices. On the other hand, if you’re still trying to figure out a pricing strategy for your product should you over price and use an on-going discount as a marketing strategy? I can’t help but think of shopping at Kohl’s. Everything there has a percentage discount from the “sticker price.” I still can’t tell if I feel like I got a good deal or if I feel ripped off after shopping there.

We did not set our pricing with the assumption that we would offer discounts, so our general rule has been to politely decline when people ask for a discount. One idea we had, though, was to offer a discount to users in return for their help. The idea toĀ ask our potential customers to write us a review came up. Although, that logic is a bit flawed as anyone asking for a discount hasn’t had the opportunity to use Beaver Builder outside of our demo, so it feels a little dishonest.

Is offering a discount to users who fill out a survey a good happy medium?

We also had the idea of creating a survey and offering a discount for users that fill out said survey. While we haven’t implemented this yet, of all the ways we could handle customers asking for discounts this is one of our favorites. Survey results can be an invaluable resource for businesses and marketers, but it’s really hard to get people to take them. Services like Disco even claim that strategically offering a survey to users at the right time can decrease cart abandonment rates and increase conversions.

I know from my own experience, I love it when I get a deal on something just from asking. I feel great about it, and I genuinely appreciate the business/sales person that will do that for me. On the other hand, if an item is something I really need, I’ll likely purchase it regardless. As much as we’d like to provide discounts for every customer who asks, it just wouldn’t be sustainable from a business standpoint (without adjusting our pricing accordingly, and that feels a bit manipulative).

Even the experts disagree…

Coincidentally, just recently Thijs de Valk, of the popular Yoast Plugin’s family, posted a great article on the psychology of discounts. They are of the mindsetĀ that discounts can sway customers to purchase whoĀ otherwise might not have. Discounts create a sense of urgency, and this urgency is a powerful psychological factor when it comes to deciding whether to make a purchase. On the other hand, after a lousy experience with a local dentist, Chris Lema is convinced that discounts don’t work and that they essentially devalue your product or service in the eyes of your customers. Somewhere in the middle of the two opinions is a suggestion from the Kiss Metric’s blog that offering a discount to a customer after they have abandoned your cart can cause over half of those people to come back and purchase! In the end, it seems like a happy medium of cleverly offering discounts could beĀ the right answer.

How do you, or other businesses you’re familiar with, handle discounts for customers? Do sales and promotions drive more business to your product, or does it discourage buyers who were otherwise happy paying full price?

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Robby McCullough's Bio


  1. Dustin on January 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    A great topic for discussion. I too was waiting on Beaver Builder to offer a discount. I didn’t email you because I’m not a fan of people asking me for discounts. Ultimately, I made the purchase without a discount and regretted waiting longer. Beaver Builder is well worth the price and you deserve to get full value of what you feel it’s worth. I have spent 16 years in business offering discounts and I can say that I don’t recall it ever being to my benefit. I only speak for my business, but clients who I give the discounts to seem to expect more than those paying the asking price. This resulted in me spending more time than it was worth to have their business. I think one exception is to offer a discount when a client cancels or doesn’t renew, if it’s to the benefit of you and the client. I like the idea of offering discounts to abandoned carts, but only after sending an abandoned cart email at the regular price. A rule I follow is that to offer a discount, that deep down, I want them to say no to, then I don’t offer that discount. Another consideration is that if you are offering discounts often, maybe ask yourself if you’re pricing should be lowered. When it comes to charging for services, I’m a believer that your time is worth whatever you think it’s worth. It’s a great feeling when you quote a client what you think you’re worth and they agree with no fuss. Also, do some charity work from time to time…I don’t consider charity a discount. I don’t remember what book I read this in, but they found that top professionals said yes to pro bono work, but no to discounts. They were willing to work for free, but not if they felt they were being discounted. Lot’s of considerations to take on a case-by-case scenario, I hope my opinion is helpful. Check out a helpful article Chris Lema wrote last week about cost plus pricing.

  2. Robby McCullough on January 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Dustin, great advice and thanks for sharing a bit of your story. Doing a pro bono site to “give back” is a great suggestion. I’ve had the same idea on the back of my mind ever since I saw our friends at ZURB doing their yearly, pro-bono ZURBWired event. I think I need to move that up towards the top of my todo list.

    In regards to this being a good topic for discussion, I posted a similar question in the Advanced WordPress Facebook group. If you’re able, come by and checkout some of the responses. There is a lot of great feedback on the subject:

  3. Ted on January 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I could have saved a bunch of money had I taken advantage of the black friday discount, but I didn’t — I was still on the fence at the time, over which of the many available builders I wanted to use. Consequently, I ended up paying the full $400 for the Agency subscription. And believe me when I say I worked very hard for that 400 bucks.

    That said, if somebody asks for a personal discount just because they are a really swell person, then I think it’s only fair that you should extend that discount to me as well. Anything less would be a proverbial slap in the face. After all, I too am a really swell person.

    My ego set aside, consider that 9 out of 10 people asking for a discount have already decided they want your product, regardless of any discount. The discount is just an extra pile of frosting on an already very sweet piece of cake.

    Let me share with you one of my blog posts that I keep private, just so I can read it now and then to keep some perspective…

    `Private: Never Undersell Yourself
    diyguy pulse 0 Comments

    If you undersell yourself, people will think your cheap, and those worth impressing will not be impressed at all.`

    Don’t undersell yourself and don’t make me sorry I paid full price. Thank you.

    • Ted on January 27, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Pro bono work, however, is awesome. šŸ˜‰

    • Robby McCullough on January 28, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Hey Ted! Thanks for the helpful feedback. After much debate and deliberation, we more or less landed on the same page. We’ve decided not provide discounts to someone just for asking, even if they are quite swell ;). Like you mentioned, we have no desire to present the image that we are cheap, or that it we run so many promotions it would be unwise to purchase Beaver Builder at full price. We very strongly believe in the value of our product.

      In the spirit of being open about our plans, after much research and discussion with the community we do plan on using small discounts to entice new customers. For example, providing a small, short-term discount to readers of a particular blog after they publish an article about Beaver Builder. This seems like a good happy medium. While it’s slightly “salesy,” we’ve learned that offering a short term discount can create a sense of urgency and encourage more sales.

      All that said, we really appreciate your buisness and your good advice!

  4. Trisha on February 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    No, don’t do discounts other than on very special occasions

    Out of interest, are people asking for discounts on the Standard plan, Pro plan or the Agency plan more often?

    If it’s the Agency plan, maybe you could also offer an unadvertised 6-month “Agency Starter” plan, which can only be renewed annually afterwards.

    If it’s the Pro plan, maybe you could offer an unadvertised pack of “background photos” that you’ve curated from Unsplash, Pexels, etc, which will save developers time looking for good images for their sliders/slideshows/parallax backgrounds.

    If it’s the Standard plan, I’d just suggest they use the Lite version from the WP repo while they save up. šŸ™‚

    That said, darn, I wish I’d gotten the Agency package with the Black Friday code…

    • Robby McCullough on February 11, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Wow! Trisha, thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback. I love all of those ideas. Sorry you missed out on the Black Friday promo. If we go ahead and build out one of those photo packs, want us to send it your way ;)?

      • Trisha on February 12, 2015 at 4:41 am

        Absolutely, Robby. That would be awesome. šŸ™‚

  5. George on March 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    You might consider a competitive discount to those who have similar product… Divi, Thrive and others.

  6. Melanee on February 10, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Hey Robby- I am so impressed with your rare and genuine conversation here about “to discount or not to discount,” that I just now went ahead and purchased BB. It’s so great to hear from real human beings who are both promoting a product and service they care about, and who are also transparent in their process and open to suggestions. Love it and can’t wait to play around with my new tool!

    • Robby McCullough on February 10, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thanks, Melanee. I really appreciate it. It seems like this was such a long time ago now, but it was really tough decision.

      Thanks for purchasing, too. Welcome to the family! <3 We're glad to have you.

  7. Dr. Daniel Stein on June 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    To: Head of sales and marketing:

    I am a professor at Queensborough Community College and teach technology for the business department. Often I am approached by companies to test there products and use them with my 40 to 50 students per semester.
    My thought is to include Beaver builder to allow my students to create personal web sites to demonstrate their business technology competencies.
    As you might imagine professors are continually approached with free desk copies of textbooks and free cloud services so that students will then purchase what they have learned and have become familiar with.

    In many cases I am given a lifetime pro account as a courtesy/promotion. Note that I will not become an affiliate as this is a conflict of interest.

    While I could approach other WP companies such as Divi, I prefer Beaver Builder due to the drag and drop intuitiveness.

    Please reply to both my college email and my personal email [email protected] which I check most often during the summer.

    Thank you in advance,
    Dr, Daniel Stein

    • Justin Busa on June 30, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Hey Dr. Daniel, would you mind shooting us an email at [email protected] so the team can have a look at this?

  8. Scott on March 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I came here looking for a plug-in to handle all the donation requests we get. Oh well.

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