Every day last week, I received at least two flyers on my door and another two telemarketing calls from roofers trying to cash in on the hail damage claims in the Kansas City area. One of the vendors caught me outside and engaged me in this conversation, which made me think about The Budget Question when it comes to the sales process.
Shady Vendor: Has anyone been on your roof to see if you have a hail claim?
Ms. Homeowner: Yes. My insurance company sent someone out. I do have a claim, and I’m looking for bids.
Shady Vendor: Do you have your insurance paperwork already?
Ms. Homeowner: I do.
Shady Vendor: Great. Let me tell you how this works. Has anyone told you how this works?
Ms. Homeowner: (Clearly amused and curious) No. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me.
Shady Vendor: (Practically drooling) We work off the insurance company’s paperwork. We are required to match the amount they are willing to pay.
Ms. Homeowner: Well, I’d like a bid first. I’d like to see what you think it will cost to do the job right.
Shady Vendor: (Still trying to count the money he will make off this unsuspecting homeowner) We use the same software your insurance company does. The bids will match what theirs says.
Ms. Homeowner: (Walking away) I’m not making any decisions today. We’re late for a play date. Thank you…
In talking to my friends, I discovered this isn’t the only vendor who has used this approach. It was a turn off, and 100% of the women I talked to questioned the vendor’s integrity at that point and eliminated them from the list of potential solutions.
(Which reminds me of another good lesson: most of these decision makers are women who are home during the day with their children. Vendors should not talk down to them and should not ask to talk to their husbands. These women have the authority to make buying decisions for their households. Vendors should treat them with respect.)
The whole experience reminded me of The Budget Question we face with every client. If you ask about the budget too early, before analyzing the needs and coming up with some potential solutions, the client will put YOU in the same “shady vendor” category I’ve assigned the pushy roofers.
Instead of leading with The Budget Question, assess the needs and discuss potential solutions. Once you know what you are dealing with, it’s time to bring up the topic of budget.
At The Center for Sales Strategy, we teach sellers to discuss price as it relates to a potential solution to a problem, the anticipated results and the return on investment. This is a much more practical approach, because there is no budget with your name on it anyway. Just as the roofer could change the cost of the project by changing the roofing materials, you can adapt the scope of the project by adding or subtracting capabilities and enhancements—as you learn more about the problem and expectations.
It’s much easier to do business after you’ve built trust and rapport. The prospect is more willing to collaborate when they see you are not out to take their money, but that you want to work together to build something great.
If you need help knowing when to talk about price, we are here to help! Contact us at The Center for Sales Strategy, using any of the "Connect with Us" links below.
Kimberly Peek is a digital sales coach and online trainer at The Center for Sales Strategy.