Risk & Business Magazine Lovitt & Touché Fall 2015 - Page 23

Here are some examples: • Do you have a budget set aside for this purchase? • Is the project funded? • Are there budget limitations about which I should know? If your prospect’s answer to your budget question is “yes,” appropriate follow-up questions include: • In round numbers, at what amount are you looking? • Perhaps you can give me a ballpark idea of the amount with which you have to work. Using terms like “round numbers” or “ballpark” take the pressure off the prospect to commit to a specific amount. If your prospect’s answer to your budget question is “no,” or he is reluctant to share the information, you can “test the waters” using third-party stories. Reference one or two similar sized projects or sales you completed with other clients and disclose an investment range within which those transactions took place. Then, ask your prospect if he would be comfortable making a similar size investment if he felt your product or service was the best fit for his needs. For instance, you might say: • Jim, the last two projects that we completed that were similar in scope to what we are discussing came in between just over $18,000 to just a bit under $22,000. I suspect that you’d be looking at a similar size investment. Can you be comfortable with an investment in that range? If not, you should probably tell me now before either of us invests any more time in something that will never get off the ground. [Jim indicates he is comfortable with the range.] • Where in that range do you suppose your budget will fall once it’s established? QUALIFIED PROSPECTS ONLY If, after all that, your prospect still won’t share any budget information with you, you’re not ready to present anything … because this person has disqualified himself from your sales process. Instead of investing lots of time, energy and resources and setting up a presentation that won’t close, make “Let me think it over” a thing of the past. Disengage politely. Work with a qualified prospect who will discuss budget issues directly, and who will commit to giving you a clear “yes” or a clear “no.” Your closing numbers, and your personal income, will improve as a result. Eric Fry is Managing Partner with Sandler Training. Prior to Sandler Training, Eric worked for a number of well-known, international organizations including Xerox and Staples Advantage while honing his skills in sales and leadership throughout his career. RISK & BUSINESS MAGAZINETM FALL 2015 23