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How To Hold Your Rate Every Time


Heres a riddle. What topic generates a lot of buzz, is of interest to all of us, is obviously important, and yet has never been figured out? Easy: holding rate. A quick search online will turn up endless discussions about holding rate, going back years. You could spend all day reading them. And most of them focus on why holding rate is important, rather than on helping you figure out how to successfully do it.

You already know its important. You know your organization would benefit greatly from a sales approach that is fundamentally focused on delivering a specific ROI for clients rather than being centered largely on rate. So this article will tell you exactly how: I am going to give you five specific ways you can hold rate.


Perhaps the reason rate comes up so often with our clients and prospects is because we bring it up. A good proposal will focus on the solution and the opportunities for return on investment. If your client conversations are heavily focused on cost per unit or on specific rates, you are setting yourself up for the rate discussion and negotiation to come. Take a look at the last 20 proposals you presented. How many of them focused on rate?


Im a big believer in the concept of the no surprise proposal. For you to deliver a great no surprise proposal, the client or prospect needs to have already agreed to every aspect of the proposal before its ever presented. By discussing and agreeing on the rate up front, you will avoid the negotiations that often occur at or after the delivery. A rate on its own is just begging to be negotiated by a savvy buyer. But a rate attached to a great idea, one that has been been agreed upon in advance, is already set.


So many sales calls end up with the salesperson going on and on about why their product is better, bigger, faster and smarter than the others. The proposals that go out all seem the same, hawking a product that looks a lot like all the others and blasting the potential buyer with all the reasons they should buy. From the client perspective, we all represent commodities. Like gold. Gold is gold, right?

Its all good, but if one company is willing to sell it to you for a better price than another, youll likely choose to buy from them. Theres an easy fix for this: Stop selling like you represent a commodity and start selling your ideas on how your product can get results. When you focus on the how rather than the why, your rate will no longer be under that glaring spotlight.


Easier said than done, I know. But you can do it. The fact is, we have trained our buyers to believe they can successfully negotiate with us so why wouldnt they do it? Until we start saying no, they will continue to try. Right now youre thinking that if you start saying no, youll fail to make your budgets and to win the loyalty of your clients, both of which are critical to your success. Heres the key: Walking away from an unacceptable rate goes hand-in-hand with increasing quality pending business.

Its hard to say no when you have only one deal out there and you need that deal to make your budget. It becomes much easier to say no when you have room for only one more deal and you have five clients or prospects that are all interested in results rather than low rates.


Youre selling more than just units and inventory. In todays environment, you are selling your expertise. Youre selling your ideas, advice, foresight and guidance. A professional sales rep sells solutions to significant challenges.

And gets results. Climb above the riffraff and make both price and rate a non-issue by presenting yourself as a professional. Partner with your clients, focus on the results, and build a library of success stories that represent your work well.

Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy. E-mail:

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