Negotiating a price via email is part science, part art.
You must know which buttons to push, when to apply pressure, and when to walk away. Negotiation is delicate and difficult – but do it properly, and it gets results.
Here, we show the art of negotiating prices via email. It starts with an explanation of some of the fundamentals. Then, we outline the email format and finish with 7 price negotiation email samples and a customizable template.
Do you want to know the best part? This is all free – so there's no negotiations needed.
How to write a price negotiation email
Business bible Forbes provides 15 tips to negotiate a price, which is a great place to start.
Instead of getting aggressive or threatening to walk away, listen to your customer and work together to find a conclusion.
Of course, when you're buying something, you'll want to pay the lowest price possible. But what happens if a client or customer tries to lowball you? You'll need to go back to them with a counteroffer that demonstrates the value you offer.
Remember, whenever you're writing a price negotiation email, you and the recipient have a shared goal: striking a deal. So, while you can expect (and should enjoy) a little back and forth as you negotiate the price, in the end, you should reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
As you can see, your price negotiation emails must do some heavy work, so you should always stick to a format.
How to negotiate a price (in 4 parts)
The typical structure for a price negotiation email includes four parts:
Let's examine these in more detail.
This sets out who you are. Don't try to be too friendly if you're about to ask for a discount or push for a higher price. Instead, stay formal and focus on the goal.
Before you present your price, you'll need to justify why the current price is unacceptable. There are several reasons, including a lack of budget, a cut-price offer from a competitor, or a lack of perceived value.
Don't be too critical, or you could upset the person. Ensure your tone is professional, courteous, and confident.
If you're walking away, you could end the email right there. But we both know you're not going to do that. So, it's time for you to present your counteroffer. Present your price, provide reasons why, and leave it there.
There's a temptation to add lots of information here – but don't. Instead, let your figures do the work.
You've set a price; now smooth things over and provide a way forward. This may include setting out dates for your agreement or agreeing on a time for a meeting.
If you're in the end stages of a deal or can't (or won't!) budge on price, say so. Phrases like these will ensure the reader knows there's no room for more negotiation:
- This is my last and final offer
- I can't go any lower
- This is the rock-bottom price
Then, click send and hope you've struck a deal.
Price negotiation email format
So now you should understand the basics of business negotiation emails.
The most effective price negotiation emails have a straightforward layout that's easy to read and understand. You should also strip out the excess and keep emails to an appropriate length.
They also stick to the traditional formal email format, with a clear subject line, body copy, and a positive (but professional) ending and sign-off.
Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the formal structure:
1. Price negotiation email subject line
In many cases, your price negotiations will
If you do want to refresh things or send a new negotiation email, choose a subject line that's specific, relevant, and attention-grabbing – like these!
- Here's our latest offer
- We need to chat about price...
- Let's strike a deal
2. Price negotiation email body
Price negotiation emails are highly specific to your situation and circumstances, but they all include some common things. Before getting into the meat of the message, provide a positive greeting and some scene setting:
- I hope you're having a great week! We've reviewed your proposal and have some feedback and suggestions about the price.
Follow up with a brief explanation of your reasons for wanting to negotiate the price:
- The proposal is strong and contains everything that we requested. However, the total cost is much higher than we expected. While we would like to work with you, we have to ensure that we get the best value for our investment.
You've got a counteroffer, right? Now is the time to share it with the person. As well as the price, explain the benefit to the recipient.
- We have reviewed your proposal (and those of several other companies who have bid for the work) and come up with a counteroffer. We are prepared to pay (insert price) at this point. While this isn't all you have asked for, it's the start of our relationship, and we will be looking to invest in our partnership when this is a success.
Finish with a positive closing message.
- Please take some time to review our counteroffer and come to a decision. As I have explained, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you and hope you come back to us with some positive news!
3. How to end a price negotiation email
It's time to wrap up, and it's polite to thank the recipient and set out the next steps. You can also request a reply (as we do here).
- Thank you for submitting such a detailed and valuable proposal. We're looking to make a final decision by (insert date), so please reply to our counteroffer by this date. We wish you all the best for the future.
7 price negotiation email samples
OK, now it's time to get to the bit you've all been waiting for, our email negotiation samples.
These cover several situations where you may want to challenge someone on price. Each negotiation sample aims to be persuasive and convey your point positively and courteously.
Whether you copy and paste these, or create your own, remember that every price negotiation email aims to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. You're building relationships, not breaking them!
1. Request for price negotiation email sample
The first stage of the price negotiation process involves refusing the first offer and saying you want to pay less. In this sample, we provide an introduction, an explanation of the need for negotiation, and a request for a revised price. It's the first step to settling on a figure.
2. Price negotiation email sample to a client
If a client comes to you with a request to negotiate, you'll need to engage with them to find a solution.
Explain if you're open to negotiating (hopefully you are), then explain your value and the impact you have before you give them your price.
3. Price negotiation email sample to a customer
If you need to change or increase prices with a current customer, you'll need to negotiate with them to settle on a figure that works. In this sample, we explain the need for negotiation with an offer.
Then, we present the benefit of your work to the client and request a reply to keep the conversation going.
4. Price negotiation email sample to vendor
Vendors carry your products to customers and need to make a profit, so any price change could impact that. Here, we explain why prices are changing (in most cases, going up!) and the need for negotiation. We also explain alternative ways to save costs that may mitigate the impact of this price rise.
5. Price negotiation email sample to supplier
Rising supplier costs can take a chunk of your profits, so always be prepared to negotiate price! Next, we set out why we need to challenge expenses and provide a fair and realistic counteroffer. You're in the driving seat, so to push things forward, we include a request for a reply.
6. Price negotiation email sample to business
When negotiating with another business, you'll need to understand where the power dynamic is. Are you in charge or them?
In this example, we assume you're looking for a new partner but need to negotiate on price. So we push as hard as we can to get a great deal!
7. Reply to price negotiation email sample
This sample should suit you if you've received a price negotiation reply (or a counteroffer). Start by saying whether you accept or reject the offer.
If you still want to work together, provide a counteroffer. You can leave the price there if you want, but the best emails include an explanation of the rationale and a request for further negotiation to strike a deal.
Email template for price negotiation
If none of the previous samples is suitable, you can create your own negotiation emails with this customizable template. This provides a clear structure with relevant content. It's written in a professional tone that should suit most business situations.
To use this easy-to-customize template, you can work from top to bottom and fill in the gaps. Be sure to delete any irrelevant sections before you send it.
Talking about money and negotiating price is difficult – but it's critical to strike the best deal for you and your business.
Messages must be clear and professional in any negotiation if you want to strike a mutually beneficial deal.
Once an agreement is struck, thank everyone involved and invest in building that relationship. It's a core part of encouraging and embedding a continuous improvement process.
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