Reaction To Budget Reveal

One of my customer reps giggled a story to me yesterday about how a buyer in the first meeting mentioned he’d set aside 15k for his planned purchase.  Knowing he could supply for a couple of grand less, he responded with a cheeky ‘so you know what our kit costs already?’ and the deal was done to the self same 15k.

I was caught between two opposing views when I was trained up many years ago.  One senior rep that I bag-carried for said you must always ask about budgets.  I remember the first time he showed me his technique around the money question.  We were at a huge diary producer, Kerrygold, and their top bean counter answered without flinching.  And when prompted for more detail, he even ran off a report on a thunderous dot matrix printer to show the approved amount.  Surreal.

My main mentor though, thought the opposite.  ‘You prove the compelling business case, they’ll find the cash’ was his view.  I lean towards this approach.  Especially nowadays.  I sell great stuff, but it can’t possibly be budgeted for as to each prospect it’s a new concept.  And anyway, how many sales team leaders (the people to whom I sell) make allocations for ‘non-budgeted spend’?

There is also a school of thought that uncovering budget sums is a qualification tool.  This isn’t always necessarily the case, particularly in times of lease popularity and genuine rental arrangements.  In addition, many reps live by being able to know the budget so that they can quote just a touch more first time round.  It might heighten their game excitement I suppose, but again, I think it pays not to get too hung up about the money.

As I often tell my charges, don’t be intimidated by big numbers.  They’re all simply small figures, followed by any number of zeroes.

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