Tell Us Your Damn Budget Already!

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Learn Why Revealing Your Budget is Crucial For Business Success

As the account director, I am responsible for meeting with prospects and selling our services. A common resistance I’ve found among potential clients is often around the discussion of budget. It’s almost as if prospects think that their budget is none of our business and refuse to divulge. Why? After all, let’s recall the actual definition of ‘business.’

busi·ness (ˈbiznəs) noun:
1. a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade. synonyms: work, line of work, occupation, profession, career, employment, job, position
2. the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce. synonyms: trade, trading, commerce, dealing, traffic, merchandising

What Are We Doing Here?

By definition, if you’re looking to do ‘business’ with someone, you are looking to trade money for work. Budget is literally a mandatory element of the equation that cannot be left out. Yet, so many prospects feel wary to share their budget right off the bat. Some will suggest we spend our valuable time drafting a proposal out of thin air just because they want to see what we recommend, and they’ll either accept or decline.

Despite the frustration this causes, I’m open-minded and can understand this phenomenon — they want to maintain a poker face and not spill any beans because they lack trust and want to win. However, this strategy may prove to be faulty. Why? When looking for the right agency, you are buying a relationship as much as a deliverable and, as in any successful relationship, trust and openness are essential.

Common Scenario

Time and time again, I will meet with prospects that have a big vision they want to bring to life involving enormous needs and expectations, who are looking for an agency to build the most premium digital experiences for their brand. After carefully listening and evaluating their needs, I’ll ask the simple question, “What’s your budget?” Yet, all too often, I cannot get a straight answer let alone even a ballpark range.

So, in the dark, I’ll spend a full day of my precious time scoping out the work and drafting a proposal limited to no budget and end up offering a package with a shocking price tag, just as I suspected would be the case — as I’ll include everything we are capable of providing, not limited to a budget.

Invest In Your Success

Should the buying process be set up for the lowest bid to win the job, despite all else? Shouldn’t you also want the agency you hire to be truly competent, to care about meeting (or even exceeding) your high expectations, to be responsive, honest and even fun — just like any other relationship in your life?

Price is only one minute variable in the whole equation of choosing a successful partner. Transparency makes the partnering process efficient. Why have a prospect spend time conveying a vision, us spend time building a proposal, only to all come back to the table to learn we are many ballparks away from where the project needs to be?

By telling us your budget, we can properly outline the project allocating the right amount of time for what your budget allows. It’s not random; you get what you pay for, of course. If you have a $20K budget, we can draft a proposal that includes all the bells and whistles of a full-service digital experience, whereas if you only have $3K, we will have to create a package that accommodates that budget. We have the capacity to provide anything you need. The question is how much are you willing to invest?

Bottom Line

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It would be better for the prospect to say, “This is my vision and I have $20K to work with. What can you do?” or “This is my vision and I have $5K to work with. What can you do?” or at very least, “This is my vision and I have $5-10K to work with. What can you do?”

It’s then our job to create a custom plan based within the context of the client’s specified means. Why would you want to do business with someone who simply promises a low number? This is a relationship about problem-solving after all, so let’s get on the same page and be transparent on both the problem and the budget from the start.

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