Discounting your prices is tempting stuff. It’s easy–and normal–to be nervous when things slow down, and discounting is such a common occurrence that we often think that hanging the SALE! banner is the best choice.

The problem is that discounting can be a race to the bottom. People are very good at getting used to paying less, and a discount can wind up being empty calories–easily consumed, easily forgotten and with little lasting value.

That said, discounting can be a valuable tool in practice–here are two smart options to price-slashing.

But First: What Discounting is Really About
Discounting is about changing value. Value, simplified, is what you pay, divided by what you get. When you see a pair of shoes for half price, your brain sees that as better value. Same shoes, but you don’t have to give up as much to get them. Choosing to see things through the lens of value as opposed to price can be helpful when you’re considering a price change.

Method 1: Offer More for the Same Price
Rather than cutting the price, what if we offer a bit more for the same price? That changes value, but keeps the price the same. That protects your pricing–and perhaps your sanity–for the future but gives your clients the feel of a discount.

Diana has some thoughts for doing this in your practice. Her suggestions are all about changing value by giving more, as opposed to cutting prices:

  • Schedule your regular massage, and get an extra 15 minutes.
  • Schedule your regular massage and I will include 15 minutes of hot stone/Thai massage/craniosacral therapy.

Diana’s suggestions let you a) keep value in the original service and b) help introduce people to other offerings.

Method 2: Reduce Prices in Exchange for Something
If you do feel you need to cut prices, you might consider discounting under select circumstances. For example:

  • Bulk purchases. Booking ten acupuncture treatments at once? Sure I’ll give you a discount.
  • Cash payments. That can save on processing fees…and other stuff. :)
  • Referrals. Depending on where and what you practice, you may not be able to reward referrers with a discount, but it’s a great way to do it if you can.
  • Aging inventory. Products sitting on the shelf are costing you money. If something’s been there for 90 days or more, consider unloading it before it costs you even more, or expires.
  • Bundles. Getting an adjustment and a massage? Sure we’ll give you 10% off.

The story here is that in each case, there’s a trade being made for the discount. Your client is, in effect, purchasing the discount by buying more, solving a problem for you, or assisting you in saving money in some way. That increases value for them by reducing the price, but it also helps you keep the value in the equation by getting more in exchange for the discount.

Have you tried any creative or effective ways to discount? Please share in the comments!


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2 Responses to “Two Ways to Create Smart Practice Discounts”

  1. Hi Dan,
    We’ve tried several promotions with discounts, and what has worked with the most success is bulk purchases like you describe above, but our most successful has been our “Pre-book 6 visits – can be massage, acupuncture, etc.) and receive a free gift” promotion that we run twice per year. We set a budget of $10 per gift (but most often it’s $5-7) and make sure it is a gift that is useful for our patients. We run out of gifts every time! Now I’ve started looking for big sales on potential patient gifts when I am out shopping and store them until it’s promotion time!

  2. Dan says:

    Great idea Misa!

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