All of our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto experience the same challenge when dealing with the “What’s your budget” question. The buyer typically says they haven’t set a budget. This leaves the Salesperson feeling frustrated not knowing the next step. Here’s why it occurs and more importantly, how to get some direction from your decision maker.
Sooner or later in the Customer Needs Analysis phase of a client relationship, you have to ask the budget question. For many inexperienced Salespeople this can be a tough. I can still recall the uneasy feeling and tense moment 30 years ago when delivering this question the first few times. After hundreds of sales calls seasoned veterans know exactly how to deal with this situation.
Why you don’t get an answer
In some cases, the buyer may actually have not yet assigned a budget to the potential unexpected purchase of a product or service. Yet, he or she most certainly has an idea of what would be possible if they needed to find the right dollars. Consider that your buyer might be sincere and authentic in their response. Also be aware that many decision makers may be reluctant to give you a budget figure based on their interpretation of your question.
What you said “If I may ask, what kind of budget have you set aside for this purchase?”
What the buyer heard “How much of your money can I get my hands on?”
This leaves the decision maker reluctant to share any possible budget numbers with you for fearing of the dreaded upsell technique that every buyer hates. This leaves the Salesperson scratching their head, not knowing how to best help and educate the client in making the right purchase.
Even more challenging
Ever had a client with no set budget wanting to consider add-ons and more expensive options to their potential purchase? This suddenly can easily inflate the investment required making you even more nervous. If you simply take directions and provide a proposal, you can easily hear this comment from your buyer “Whoa, slow down. What kind of money do you think I have to spend here?” You will have to fight the urge to respond, “Well, this is why I asked you the budget question before…”
When your client says they have no set budget
Pick from the choice of a few responses that can work extremely well. It’s crucial that you re-work any of our suggestions to ensure you make them authentic according to your personality and communication style:
“If you give me a rough idea of what you’re comfortable investing, I will do my best job for you. I don’t want to over-estimate and give you the wrong impression and I don’t want to under-estimate the quality and give you something that you’re not happy with. Does that make sense?”
“Could you give a rough idea of what you’d be comfortable investing? Without that, it’s really hard to me to do my job for you. Guessing is not something I think anyone appreciates, especially when buying something. Does that make sense?”
“Help me help you. If you give a rough estimate on what you’re comfortable with investing, I can make sure I match you up with the right product/service. Otherwise, I feel like I’m not doing a good job for you. It that reasonable?”
What happens if you still don’t get a budget number?
This is very possible with some decision makers. You may even get the “you tell me what’s a reasonable budget” answer. Take a breath, smile and know that this client is giving you an excellent learning experience. No matter what the buyer’s response, you have to do your best to rephrase your communication one more time. Be sincere in saying that you want to do the best to help them and getting some sort of investment range will help you do that.
Getting an answer is smart for everyone
We have to encourage clients to give us some idea of a working budget before doing any exhaustive preparation or submitting a proposal, otherwise we run the risk of miscommunication and a lost opportunity. Communication is always best achieved with a smile, tact, diplomacy and proper positioning. Your clients will appreciate you for it.
Please let us know how these responses work for you. We’re always interested in getting your feedback. If you liked this post share it on your favorite social media platform.
Knowing how to deal with client situations is the core of our online sales training course – The Sales Skills Incubator. It’s entirely video based and has many tips on great sales techniques – check out our free trial.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY