How To Respond To Deal Seekers When Selling Online


This past weekend I went through a huge purge throughout my house and whatever didn’t get donated, got listed online. I’m talking clothing, shoes, extra dishes, dog crate and and so on. I’m not anywhere new to selling online but what really bothered me was the absolute barrage of people offering less then half of what I had items listed for.

A pair of Dolce & Gabbana pink leather heels in excellent condition, listed for $65 and had nothing but offers below $20. These retail for over $400!!!!!

I immediately wanted to snark off but it got me to thinking; I need to figure out a better way to respond to offers like this. I need to find a better way to ask the “buyer” what makes them feel like I would essentially do them a favor and take a financial hit on the item I’m selling. I don’t want to come right out and say no because most of the time, I do have a little wiggle room but when the offer is so low, it kind of pisses me off. So I took to Google to see if there where any articles written on hwo to respond to these kinds of questions.

I searched, literally, “How to deal with lowballers when selling online”.  After wading through quite a few website I landed on a gem and wanted to share with you.


That’s it.


Jurgen Appelo wrote an incredible piece on how he deals with people constantly asking for a discount on his speaking services and I wanted to share a few of his responses that are just perfect for people selling online.

When someone asks for a discount, ask them why?

“Is there a specific reason you believe you are entitled to a discount?” Without my directly saying yes or no, I’ve thus bounced the question back to the customer, forcing them to consider what they’re asking and to give them a chance to point out something that could be of value to me.

I love this response because it puts it back on the buyer and they have to come up with a really crafty answer for wanting you to drop your price.

Sometimes, clients just love haggling, assuming there are always margins that can be squeezed. My problem with this attitude is that such clients assume that I am intentionally overpaid and that, with some negotiation, it should be possible to talk the fee down to the “proper” price. In other words, they assume I have a lack of integrity (i.e., I’m asking too much.)
Another possibility is that they assume that I so desperately need the sale that I’m willing to be underpaid, which (to me) seems like a lack of integrity on the side of the client. They might say, “You probably have a special price for friends,” to which I might reply, “I have many friends and my fee is what they pay. I assume you want me to treat all my friends equally and fairly?”
And, last but not least, after I ask them, “Why?”, the clients sometimes tell me, “Oh, never mind. We were just wondering.” Then they proceed to pay my regular fee. I have no objections to that at all.
Notice that I don’t say “no” to people who ask me for a discount. I merely ask them “Why?” because it’s quite possible that they have a very good reason! It all comes down to customizing the value exchange.
While this last part is more concert to his business, sales are sales. Having been selling online for over 15 years, crafting a witty response without offending the buyer has always been a hard one for me, I don’t know why. I doesn’t matter which platform your selling on, there’s always going to be people out there that want a deal. From now on, stick to your guns (or pricing) and turn it back on them.
Ask them……Why.
6 Responses
  • E.M.
    February 14, 2021

    I chicken out sometimes and use the old “I’m sorry, I would love to accept your ****ing ch**p*** offer on an item I dropped almost a full car payment on and wore exactly once, but I’m actually selling it for my aunt/sister/siamese twin, and they simply won’t budge. But thank you for your interest!”.

    • Closet Full Of Cash
      February 16, 2021

      I used to ask them why should I? Give me a good reason and I’ll consider although I never did!

  • Jinae
    May 6, 2016

    I just mark up my prices a bit more than what I want to make, and they can make their offers based off of that price instead. It’s all psychological; Customers just want to feel like they are getting a good deal.

    • closetfullofcash
      May 6, 2016

      That’s a great strategy but sometimes people feel that either the price is too high or they won’t even bother making an offer. I think it’s all in what you’re comfortable with!

  • Christina
    April 19, 2016

    Great article Deanna! I actually just read this article the other day as we had a customer who wanted us to give her 80% commission. I wish I could but, I just can’t. Why is such a good response!

    • closetfullofcash
      April 19, 2016

      I wish I knew this earlier. I have always had a hard time trying to stand my ground on my pricing and not be rude. Love the simplicity of “Why”!

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