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What is Your Budget?

How to Handle the Budget Conversation with Potential Clients

Are you ready to discover an easy process to handle the “budget conversation,” get paid what you’re worth, and to help your potential clients make a decision to buy or not to buy?

Here’s the struggle one of my clients recently posted in a Facebook group we both are a part of:

“I’ve got my mindset. I’ve been taking action (revised website should be live tomorrow). But results are still elusive. My best guess is either my pricing is too high or I’m still not reaching the right clients or a combination of both. Both rejections have happened since I’ve implemented a package price as opposed to my former hourly rate.  Here’s what’s happened in the last week:

1.) One potential client…. “After he receives my proposal he responded that he can’t afford it and will be doing it himself”…

2.) Another potential client… “When I provided him with the package price of (insert service) he responded that he can’t afford it”…

I replied to her with this…

“I don’t know your client but my gut tells me it may be your sales process holding you back, not the cost of your services. They don’t feel emotionally connected to the finished book and know exactly the value of your services.

Have you asked them: On a scale of 1-10 how important is (end result) to you? How long have you thought about (activity)? Have you started it in the past? What’s been holding you back from finishing (end result) on your own? Why is that an obstacle? What else has been holding you back? How would it feel to never finish (end result)? How will it feel when you do finish (end result)? Who will you share it with? How will they feel after seeing your finished (end result)?

Also, I have been there, seriously desperate for a sale, and unfortunately even though we try to hide it, I think desperation has a sound to it that comes through when we’re talking. Don’t be attached to the outcome. Be 100% attached to helping them achieve their goal. If money’s an obstacle, there’s always a way to work around it with payment plans, breaking the service into phases, etc. If someone wants it badly enough they will find a way to get it. You need to help them believe it’s possible, believe they can do it, and realize they need your help to get to the end goal.”

While helping people get emotionally attached to the outcome and becoming the trusted guide who can help them achieve it are important. It is also important to make sure to help those people who aren’t a fit decide not to work with you.

The Discovery Call and The Budget Conversation:

When someone makes through your funnel, all the way to a discovery call with you, your next step is to make sure they are truly your ideal client and you can provide the transformation they are looking for. I use this time to ask additional questions to sort out the gems I’d love to work with.

“Do you have a budget and a timeline for this project?” is one of the questions I ALWAYS ask on my preliminary discovery call to determine if I want to invite a potential client into my discovery process.

  • When you ask this question in the very beginning, it takes the awkwardness out of the relationship. It is clear that you are not volunteering your time.
  • You become a consultant or a coach who is there to help your client get results, and your knowledge, skills, and background come with a price.
  • You instantly position yourself as a person who knows their value.
  • I’d much rather discover someone can’t pay at the beginning of a project rather than at the end, wouldn’t you?
  • It also makes it easier for your clients because they are as busy as you are. It’s as frustrating to them to waste time and end up with a proposal that’s way outside their realm of possibility.
  • It opens the door for discussing payment plans, different packages, etc. to address potential money objections.

What if they won’t give you a budget?

Sometimes people are afraid to give you a number because they don’t want to overpay if their budget was higher than what you were going to quote them. Ironically, it’s almost always the other way around. Most clients underestimate what a project is going to cost because they don’t fully know what they need.

If you are selling Business to Business products or services, find out where they are in their business.

Have they purchased these services in the past? How long have they struggled with the situation? What packages and products do they sell and what are the price points of these items? How much is the lifetime value of a client or customer?

Ask the question in different ways.

Brainstorm other ways to ask your clients about their budget. Example: relate their website design to shopping for flooring, “Are we looking for vinyl flooring or exotic hardwood?”

You can also answer by giving your potential clients a range of your services.

Example: “My starter websites range from about $2500-$3500 and include X, Y, and Z. Sites with more design customizations and bells & whistles like e-commerce and membership sites start around $5,000.”

What if you really are above their budget range?

Handling the Budget Conversation with Clients

Offer a down sell

Example: If someone doesn’t take you up on your one-on-one coaching package you could say something like, “I do have a group coaching package available that is a lower investment. Would you like to hear more about it?” As a result, they are now feeling in control because they are asking you for more information rather than feeling like they are listening to a pitch-fest.

Offer payment plans

Break their investment down into 3, 6, or 12 payments. You can do this if you have an e-commerce website with a subscription option. Or you can do this with Stripe or PayPal. (Check out my post from last week, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Paid Online to learn how to set up a subscription payment plan on PayPal and Stripe.)

Bless a colleague with a referral

If your rates are beyond their budget, bless a colleague with a lead! Play matchmaker between your prospect and someone who offers different options that are more in line with your client’s financial goals. I promise it will come back to you in the long run!

Do you struggle with money conversations?

Want help strategizing how to raise your prices or ask for what you know you’re worth? Let’s talk!

Schedule a Free Strategy Session

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1 Comment

  1. Jeff on June 29, 2017 at 9:58 am

    This was a great article. Thanks for posting it, Heather.

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Wise-Owl-Marketing-4

Hi! I'm Heather and I create websites that get clients!

I'm a WordPress web developer and marketing coach strategist who helps creative entrepreneurs and businesses owners take their websites from plain to powerful & their business from "Who's that?" to "Who's Who!"

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