Uncovering Budgets: Having the Money Conversation

If you have been in sales for longer than a week you have been told,”You have to uncover their budget.” Your director or manager has asked, “How much money are they willing to spend?” “What’s the budget?” “What’s their target price?” “How much money do they have?” 

Been there? Of course you have. Question is: Why do you sometimes answer, “I don’t know.” “They wouldn’t tell me.” “They don’t have a budget.” “They don’t know their budget.” “They wouldn’t share it with me.”

Let’s hit this head on. No question, from time-to-time prospects play it close to the vest. Some don’t want to share budgets & spending plans with salespeople. I get that. You get that. The salespeople that came before us screwed it up for us. If they uncovered that there was $25,000 in the budget the turkeys that precede us would find a way to charge $24,999. So they’re onto us. But that does not mean prospects won’t have “the money conversation” with us.

We can’t do a thing about what our prospects & customers say in answer to the budget question. We have no control there. So, stop worrying about what they are going to say & ask the question.  You only control what you do. YOU HAVE TO ASK.

Know this: Your prospects & customers know your products & services cost money. The fact that you are a for profit company (or at least that’s the plan) is not a surprise to them. The problem is you! Your fear of asking is costing you & your company valuable time & wasting big dollars. So ask.

Did you grow up in a household like me where you weren’t supposed to talk about money? Did you ever get “shushed” for asking how much something cost? Did you ever get in trouble because you knew how much something cost? Hell, I still get shushed when I ask how much my sister’s wedding cost my parents! Those are some pretty deep-rooted lessons. They stick with us. Now that we’re in sales we remember how talking about money is like talking about voodoo – and we don’t do it.

Get over it. Quickly. It’s OK. Your parents want you to be successful.

A few suggestions to help you broach the topic (notice the open-ended questions that don’t beg them to say “NO” to:

  1. What were you planning on spending for ________?
  2. How much has been budget for this project?
  3. What is the target for this ________?
  4. How do you budget for things like this?
  5. When should we discuss how ________ gets paid for?

Will they always answer? NO. Say it again . . . NO.

The real question is, Will you always ask?

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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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