Affiliate challenges: How to respond to price objections

Commercial negotiation
challenging prices

Ahead of the IGB Live Affiliate conference we are looking at tips for better commercial negotiations. A lot of new business takes place at events because its a good place to meet new brands and discuss commercial opportunities. When talking about price and revenue share deals with operators,  you may sometimes feel like you’re not on even footing. You know that your affiliate site has value, but it’s natural for there to be give and take in negotiations.

Here’s a few tips you can use when entering price objections to get the result you really want. 

Taking pauses and asking questions

The first step is to go into the conversation well prepared. Have a clear objective for the call and after your price has been challenged – take a pause. This is often a tense moment in the negotiation and you don’t want to start speaking before you’ve had a chance to think. A quiet few moments doesn’t automatically equal dead space, just take your time for a few seconds to compose your response being logical and un-emotive. 

Then, it’s time to ask a few questions before you give your own response. You want the affiliate manager to be able to justify why they feel you should get a lower revenue share or a poorer deal. They might try to justify this by comparing you to other affiliate portals or deals they have struck. 

Once their concerns are out there, it’s time to talk about how your site may differentiate or add value over these competitors. This is where all of your hard work creating unique promotions and content comes in handy. If you’ve been bootstrapping your marketing campaigns and working diligently on SEO or social media, then this is your time to shout out about it. 

They may compare you to a smaller affiliate or a larger one, but you’ve got to know the industry well enough that you know where you sit. For example, a larger one might be able to direct more traffic, but you might be able to offer them a favourable position or higher percentage of your traffic over a key period or sports event. 

Responding to those objections

You might be frustrated or even offended by the suggestion that your affiliate site deserves a smaller share of the revenue. However, if you allow emotions to come into the question then you’ll be on the losing side of the equation. Instead, it’s better to take each of the concerns or questions that they may have and deal with them individually to find middle ground.

Asking about whether there’s something that your affiliate site isn’t offering that competitors are is a good place to start. Perhaps the affiliate manager has some key insight for you to learn from and there could be valid reasoning behind their reservations and this is your chance to sort that out. 

Being up front and asking what they want to offer is a good place to start. From there, you can counter with why you deserve more and what your affiliate site can offer them. You could counter with the fact that a featured slot would generally mean a higher rev share, but in this case you could give them a preferential treatment for a lower rate. In that way, you’re adding value to the deal without costing yourself anything extra. 

You can also set targets for your relationship, telling the affiliate manager exactly what you will be able to achieve. This could be in terms of traffic or it could come in the form of first time depositors. Set a fair and achievable target for yourself, as you don’t want to come up short. 

If you have a group of affiliate sites, then you can also use these to leverage a bulk deal. Packing these up looks appealing for affiliate managers and they can swap out the sites they’re interested in. They may also have many brands under their umbrella, making for a massive deal if you can make a match for all of them. 

Our last tip is to walk away if the deal is no longer lucrative for your requirements. If you’ve negotiated down to a point that the deal is less than the space on your site is worth, then it’s time to back out. There are always graceful and respectful ways to do so, and you won’t burn any bridges should you wish to renter this conversation again in future. 

Being professional and courteous, costs you nothing and in this business relationship building is key to secure good value deals.