Do you ask for prospects' budget as a qualifier? (for hard-hitters)

13 replies
Hi all,

I use a long, qualification/marketing funnel/process/thing. I sell lead generation and marketing consultation services, and hold off on revealing price until the end.

I was a car salesman for a while, and we would ask budget first, so we knew what level of car to put them into. We would always put them into a car that was just outside their budget, upsell other products, and work down from there - it was a good process.

Does anyone here ask the budget question somewhere along the line. Any advice if so/not?

Happy new year all.
#budget #hardhitters #prospects #qualification #qualifier #sales funnel
  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I helped someone out recently, they had a 2 page sales process. Page 1 being a pre-sale, and page 2 was the actual sales part. Price was introduced on the 2nd page.

    We knew the process worked, there was about a 6% conversion, but they wanted more, and had tried everything and could not get beyond the number.

    Once we got the analytics data in, we saw there was a better than fair amount of loss on the first page - in the order of 80%. So we now knew that the 6% was based on only 20% of total traffic getting there.

    When looking at why people were dropping off of the page 1 copy... we looked at time spent on page. we did some in house testing to determine where on the page specifically people were dropping off. ( we recorded people reading the pre-sales copy to give us a time stamp identifier ) We had a total of 20 people help us with this process.

    we then went back to the page and tried 2 tests. #1 we inserted a CTA to page 2 at the drop point. This DID increase the hop to page 2, but the overall conversion remained constant at 6%. But given that we increased the number of hops to page 2, the page to page conversion dropped dramatically.

    #2 we introduced price at the drop point on page 1 in the CTA. The hop rate decreased from test #1 BUT there was an increase in conversions. we got the conversion rate up of 18% overall with 50% of the traffic hopping from page 1 to page 2.

    So some basic "traffic" data:
    • the base number of hops from page 1 to page 2 was 20%
    • CTA at drop point increased hops to 72% - with no increase in conversion
    • CTA with price brought hops to 50% with a 200% increase in conversions
    Given this one example only... PRICE does matter. More specifically it matters where it is introduced.


    Originally Posted by Scotty Stevens View Post

    Hi all,

    I use a long, qualification/marketing funnel/process/thing. I sell lead generation and marketing consultation services, and hold off on revealing price until the end.

    I was a car salesman for a while, and we would ask budget first, so we knew what level of car to put them into. We would always put them into a car that was just outside their budget, upsell other products, and work down from there - it was a good process.

    Does anyone here ask the budget question somewhere along the line. Any advice if so/not?

    Happy new year all.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Since consulting clients have to apply to work with me,
      one of the questions on the form is advertising budget.

      I also ask for their budget for this project.
      This gives me an idea what money they have set aside
      for me.

      I've found this has gotten me more money than
      if I came out with my fee first.

      Another indicator of an ideal client is how long
      it takes to describe their problem they are facing.

      The longer the better.

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        For me, the earlier the better. Maybe the most profitable time is as the last qualifying question.

        If you ask several qualifying questions before you mention budget...the prospect has the idea that your solution is customized to them...whether it really is, or not. You also establish some credibility in the qualifying phase.

        But I want them to know my prices (a range,anyway) before I start talking about my service.

        Why wait until the end to ask the most important question? Avoiding the "price" is a sure way to look like you don't think they should buy. If you leave price till last, they may think something is wrong.

        Another reason I want to know their budget, is that I really don't want to invest time on impossible prospects.

        Do you know who doesn't discuss price until the end? Beggers. People who are afraid to ask. people who think they aren't going to buy. people who think the price is outrageous.

        Get the tough stuff out of the way sooner, rather than later. Then you can spend the entire presentation, letting them get used to the price. Believe me, you don't want them to start thinking about the price...as the very last part of your presentation. If you want to close that day, get the price out there early.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    I found it more effective to ask them what their goals are. "How much do you need to make?" "How much more monthly revenue are you hoping to generate?" "So that's XXX,XXX per year, right?" "What options are you considering?" "What are you planning to do to get that number?"

    This gets them thinking much bigger numbers, and give you some figures to use that will make whatever your price is, seem much more affordable.

    Make them think they are getting free money. They give you $20,000 - and get $150,000 in return. Only do this if you KNOW you can deliver.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    Originally Posted by Scotty Stevens View Post

    Hi all,

    I use a long, qualification/marketing funnel/process/thing. I sell lead generation and marketing consultation services, and hold off on revealing price until the end.

    I was a car salesman for a while, and we would ask budget first, so we knew what level of car to put them into. We would always put them into a car that was just outside their budget, upsell other products, and work down from there - it was a good process.

    Does anyone here ask the budget question somewhere along the line. Any advice if so/not?

    Happy new year all.
    I qualify them a million different ways from Sunday ... but I never
    ask them what there budget is.

    In my, not so humble opinion - I believe asking about a budget
    puts a predefined number in the prospects head and more importantly
    creates a preconceived boundary on price.

    Something to be avoided when selling above there comfort zone.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelWinicki
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      I qualify them a million different ways from Sunday ... but I never
      ask them what there budget is.

      In my, not so humble opinion - I believe asking about a budget
      puts a predefined number in the prospects head and more importantly
      creates a preconceived boundary on price.

      Something to be avoided when selling above there comfort zone.
      Agreed.

      Asking them how much more they want to sell per month is one thing- because they've got a better handle on that.

      But most of them don't have a clue on what their budget needs to be in order to reach their sales goal... Most of the time you'll be left arguing with them on why they're so off base on their budget.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Scotty

    Have you forgotten about Monetizing the Problem?

    Understand the minimum price you will go to work for.

    Then when the prospect sets the value of the problem ("If they say it, it's true; if you say it, you have to defend it"), you're good to go as long as it's over say 5 - 10% of that figure, depending on how your self-esteem feels about charging them. $100K problem...you'll go to work for $5K to $10K (or more, but somewhere in there is your minimum).
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    If your targeting the right prospects you'll already know they have a budget therefor there's no need to ask them about it. The matter then becomes having them agree that your services fit into the budget they already have or to increase their budget to get you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Stevens
      Some great advice from everyone, exactly what I was looking for. Got the issue sorted now thanks to you all.

      Everyone seems to have slightly differing methods, but the idea seems to be the same: with a series of questions, have them tell you how much money they're likely to make by working with you, and then have them state what they would spend to get that.

      Thanks again.
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      Yours in prosperity,
      Skochy - The Musical Salesman

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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        I forgot to mention I put up a multi choice
        list options so that they see others have bigger
        spends.

        This also indicates the level of sophistication
        of the applicant to me.

        Best,
        Doctor E. Vile
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    When I'm asked What's your budget?, I hear...How much can I try and take you for?
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    I think directly asking "what's your budget?" gets you the low, hoped for, less than what they expect to pay number. And it's probably less than what you want to charge, so...

    Now you've just invited this task of upping their budget from where they are to where you want them to be. And that becomes the conversation.

    Instead, if you do as Jason suggests and make the conversation about what they stand to gain, AKA building value... and THEN matter of factly volunteer your price, which by the way shows confidence...

    Then the prospect, hearing a higher price than the hoped for low number they were gonna throw at you, and now after this conversation you've had desiring your services ever so more, upon hearing your fee, may think:

    "That low number I wanted ain't gonna fly. Not for what I want done, anyway."

    And now instead of you wrangling them up in budget, they do some of the pulling up themselves.
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    "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      When I had my lawnmowing businesses, it was very common
      for the phone calls coming from people who had dumped
      their last mowing guy.

      The more exasperated by that the more willing
      they would volunteer to unload all the problems
      they had with the last guy.

      This meant it was easy to slip a very innocent
      "so how much were you paying for that?".

      After they had unloaded their displeasure and I
      walked through what exactly they wanted done and
      asked clarifying questions, I would always make a point
      of charging a higher price.

      Right before the number was mentioned, I would say...
      "for your sized lawn, my clients are paying $x".

      It wasn't as if I was doing more work, it was just doing
      the basics well.

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile
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