When you talk to new prospects you need to qualify them effectively. This is the process of establishing whether they are "THE MAN".
Now, that’s not a sexist slur, instead what I mean by that is do they have the:
....to move forward.
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If you don’t qualify properly then your sales pipeline can get full with deadwood deals. Those deals that will suck the life out of your time when you could be focused on those deals that have a chance of closing.
We’ve all had those deals where the “decision maker” has got all excited about their needs, they’ve called you in, indeed they have a “Director” title but hey, guess what? They’ve got no budget! Or, they are asking you in to work out how much it will all be so they can ask for the budget.
So, in your qualification criteria you need to find out if they have got the budget to start with, how much budget they have got and if they are in the same ball park as your products and services!
Some prospects feel comfortable when talking about money. Others do not!
Some will know what the budget is and others will not.
Some will know what the budget is and tell you they don’t have one!
So there are lots of games that are played when it comes to establishing budget so I thought it would be a good idea to help you establish exactly what budget your prospects and clients have to play with by listing down some possible questions that you can ask.
Work through them and pick which ones you feel most comfortable in asking.
- “We’ve got a number of options available; what were you looking to pay so I can match the right solution at the right price for you, just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal).
- “Have you got a ball-park figure in mind? Just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal).
- “What are you working with at the moment? Just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal).
- “Have you got budget approval for this already?”
- “How do you handle budget considerations?”
- “How will this product/project get funded?”
- “What sort of budget do you have in mind?”
- “What are you looking to pay for this?”
- “We’ve got a number of options available; what were you looking to pay so I can match the right solution at the right price for you?”
- “Is there budget allocated for this project?”
- “Whose budget will support this initiative?”
- “Have you arrived at a budget or investment range for this project?”
- “Are funds allocated, or must they be requested?”
- “What is your expectation of investment required?”
- “So we don’t waste any time, are there any budget parameters to remain within?”
- “Have you done this before, and at what investment level?”
- “What are you looking to spend on this?”
- “Are you working within a budget for this?”
- “Have you got a ball-park figure in mind?”
- “Does your budget to solve the problem, match the severity of the problem?”
- “The last time something like this happened, how much did it cost you to fix it?”
- “What are your time and budget goals on this?”
- “As important as this is, I don’t imagine you have a blank cheque to get it done...how much are you working to, to get this fixed?”
- “If you had unlimited funds, I could very easily put together a package to solve all the issues. Since I know that is not the case, I’ll stay within the limits you give me. So, what is your overall budget for this?”
- “So what is your range on this? I mean, in a perfect world, what is the minimum amount you would like to see me get this done for? Then, what is the maximum you could possibly put into this, if it became absolutely necessary?”
- “Now, will you handle this solely from your department’s budget? Or would you be working with other departments?”
- “So, what is your department’s input in terms of the overall budget?”
- “You said the problem is costing you £X a year. So how does your budget to fix it match up with that?”
- “From what you’ve told me, this issue cost your organisation £X every month. So what are you going to invest to stop that?”
- “With what you told me I can see that your organisation will spend £X over the next few months if this problem is not resolved. So, how much have you budgeted to prevent spending that money again this year?”
- “From what you’ve told me, your competition is enjoying a huge advantage over you because of this. How much have you budgeted to take the lead back?”
- “Ok, so we know this is costing you X amount of sales every day/month/quarter/year. (Calculate a figure that is close to the cost of your top package) Have you budgeted at least that amount to fix this?”
- “So what do you think it is worth for you to get rid of this problem?”
- “I know in the long term, you will invest tens of thousands, however, how much are you ready to get started with?”
- “This is a multi-faceted problem that will take time to get completely right. But for right now, how much do you have to take the first step?”
- “How much have you budgeted for the first step in this project?”
- “Like the old saying goes, “You can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.” How much do you want to commit for the first bite?”
- “How much can you afford right now?”
- “What did you plan on investing in this?”
So there are 39 questions to get you started.
Don’t forget “THE MAN” – Money, Authority & Need.
You’ll need to qualify for all three but if they haven’t got the budget, or the right level of budget then it’s going to be an uphill struggle from the outset!