This is a lesson I’ve learned over a long period of time. In fact, I’ve been hitting the phones and selling for over 15 years now so have made hundreds of thousands of calls, had tens of thousands of sales conversations and closed quite a good number of deals too.
The phone will always be my preferred sales tool for generating new business. After all, I can make 100 calls in a day yet only see a maximum of four or five Prospects in the field.
Anyway, having been fortunate to work with so many different sales people over the years, I’ve been able to observe this trend in others too.
Asking ‘What’s your budget for this’ or even worse ‘Do you have a budget for this?’ is costing you opportunities.
I think there are 2 reasons for this.
Firstly, a ‘Budget’ is a pre-determined sum allocated to a fixed expenditure, usually at a set point in the year.
Therefore if you’re hunting new business or releasing a product you’ve kept quiet, intending to up-sell it to your existing clients upon launch, you can reasonably expect one thing:
They will not have a budget for your offerings.
Why? Because people don’t budget for things they don’t know are coming.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, asking ‘Do you have Budget for this’ is a not only a poor question because it leaves you open to an early ‘no’ but we end up full circle back at the first point.
What usually happens next is that the Sales Person is asked to call back once the budgets have been re-set, usually 6 to 12 months down the line.
The role of a New Business Sales Person or Business Development Manager is to create opportunity as much as it is to persuade, develop ‘Need’, solve challenges, and influence, so I’ve found that we tend to have much better conversations when we talk about Money instead.
Remember, we make buying decisions emotionally and justify them far more intellectually. Raise and qualify the critical factor of cost as early as is reasonable, just avoid using the ‘b’ word.
After all, shouldn’t we be more interested in whether our customer sees the value in making the purchase now as opposed to whether they might have budgeted for it previously?
Here are a few of example questions to get you going:
Is this kind of investment going to be a problem? (then drill down of course!)
Is this kind of investment going to be a problem this month?
Enjoy The Weekend!
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