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Procrastination Can Be a Boon for Business: Capitalizing on Quarter-End Discounts

By Jesse Butts | September 21, 2012

Believe it or not, procrastination can serve as an entrepreneur's secret weapon. Although you may have personal experience with missed opportunities due to hesitation, putting off certain decisions can help your business. When it comes to purchasing, waiting until the last minute can be to your benefit.

As quarter-end approaches, many sales reps receive authorization from their management to offer discounts and extend promotions in order to hit their sales quotas. (You may use the same sales tactics yourself.) For this reason, it’s often to your advantage to postpone sales decisions until the vendor’s sales rep truly needs your business.

Strategies for Saving Through Procrastination

Before adopting this prosperity-through-procrastination methodology, make sure:

  • You know the vendors’ fiscal quarters. While many companies base their fiscal years on calendars years, many don’t. Flat out asking a sales rep about quarter-end may result in a dishonest answer. Try asking in a less obvious way, such as, “You know, I really need to see our sales and expenses situation closer to quarter-end before I make a decision. Are you also wrapping up Q2 at the end of June?”
  • Delaying your purchase won’t hamper productivity. If purchasing the product or service now can help your bottom line more than the savings from waiting a few weeks or months, act soon.

Once you know the vendor’s fiscal year—and you’re certain your business can wait—use that information to your advantage. Try following these steps to secure the best price:

  • Don’t feel obligated to give a sales rep a definitive answer based on an arbitrary timeline (assuming, of course, there is not a limited quantity of the good or service you’re intent on purchasing). Tell the sales rep you need more time to mull over your decision.
  • Within a few days of quarter-end—or even the morning of quarter-end—call the sales rep and explain the price is just too high. If asked what price you can afford, don’t give a number. Make the rep give the first offer. Even if the offer sounds reasonable, try an old negotiating trick: Repeat the number, say “Hmmm….” and wait out the silence. See what the rep has to say.
  • If the rep has to “talk to the sales manager about something like that,” that’s fine. You can wait. Time is on your side. Even if you get the offer you wanted, don’t say yes instantly. Tell the rep you appreciate the accommodation and you’ll call back with your final decision soon.
  • When you call to accept the offer (assuming you’ve received an offer you find fair), don’t stop negotiating. Try for a little more. For example, if you’re purchasing software that has a “minimum” of five users but you only have two employees, make your case for not wanting to pay for services you won’t use. You may be able to reduce your bill further.

By following these tactics, you can save your business hundreds or thousands of dollars annually without jeopardizing operations.

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