Why is it so hard for us to divulge what our budget is for a particular project? I think in our over cynical buyer beware world we are afraid we will get taken advantage of if we give sales people specific dollar amounts. Now there may be some unscrupulous folks who would, or could, take advantage, but I think most sales people went into the vocation because they like to assist people and are good at problem solving. They enjoy the challenge of successfully matching the needs of a person or company with a product that fills the need or accomplishes desired goals.
Have you noticed it is also a challenge not to cringe if a customer service representative asks you, “What’s your budget?” In their role, this is a normal and intelligent question; they really are not out to take advantage of you. Most customer service people do not work on commission and are there to SERVE you the CUSTOMER. When they ask the dreaded budget question, it helps guide them as to which product lines to steer you towards and which items to explain to you. Time is valuable and they do not want to waste your time, or theirs, on things that really are not a good fit for your described needs and budgetary constraints.
Now, I know some scoffers out there are going to say, “quite whining and do your job – who cares if it takes hours to work up a quote and the client doesn’t purchase anything?” Well, you should care. After all, it is your time and money too. Push a job to the brink of meeting tight deadlines and costs have a tendency to skyrocket… or worse, deadlines get missed and windows of opportunity pass.
In the big sales picture, the reason the budget question pops up, is that it is important. Granted not everyone appreciates the BANT lead evaluation and sales approach, but it does make logical sense. BANT is predicated on knowing the following 4 things from which the acronym is derived:
B = Budget
A = Authority (meaning decision maker)
N = Need (prospect has a problem / need for your solution)
T = Time frame (prospect has a time frame for solving their problem / making the purchase decision)
This system is not only to benefit the salesperson it is also a great checklist for a purchaser too. You have heard the phrase, time is money, right? This is all too true in society today with mounting responsibilities and our seemingly non-stop work and communication flow. So when a sales person or customer service rep is asking about your budget, don’t let your feathers get ruffled. What they are trying to answer is, “What is the highest quality, most reasonable product to show you based on your budget?” It does no good to spend hours describing, explaining, getting you excited about, and perhaps working up laborious quotes for, something you simply cannot afford.
Ed Marquez, President of Mark Bric Display, puts it this way, “If I owned a car dealership and I sell both Hyundai and Mercedes, I would not care which one I sold you. I win either way…. but, in order for you to win too, to walk away happy, I need to know what you have to spend, so I can show you something you can afford. I want to give you the best car for what you can afford to spend.”
Think about it. You don’t want hear all about the heated seats and driving performance stats of the Mercedes, spend time test driving it and salivating at the thought of driving it off the lot all while neglecting any thoughts of the Hyundai… just to find yourself two hours later going home with nothing because the Mercedes was out of reach financially. Better to be up front and spend time focusing on the vehicle within your budget. This way you do not waste time and end up frustrated. Instead, you drive away happy in a vehicle that is clean, nice, gets you from point A to B, and is one which you can afford. Same is true with exhibits. Be upfront with your budget and we will find, or create, a trade show display that meets your sales and marketing objectives and that doesn’t break the company bank!
Ed Marquez adds, “Mark Bric Display has pop-ups that can do a good sales job for you. But, if your budget is bigger and you can afford a modular or a custom exhibit, these will do a better job for you and even increase your ROI. There is nothing wrong with the former option, it is just that if you have the budget, the latter choice will create a better presence for you at trade shows and the results will pleasantly surprise you. Telling Mark Bric your budget details doesn’t change the cost of our ISOframe exhibit items or the price tag.”
Why do we as consumers continue to guard our budget so closely? Why do we make sales people, that often we have initiated contact with, feel like they need top level clearance to hear details of our budget? Let’s do ourselves a favor and be free with information – it only benefits us in the long run anyway. Now if someone approaches you trying to convince you of a need you don’t currently have, and leads with the budget question then caveat emptor for sure! Otherwise, let’s save ourselves time and hassle and divulge our budget information in the interest of saving time and getting the products and services that will best meet our needs.
– By Stacy D. Poole, Marketing Professional at Mark Bric Display Corp.