Why Your Prospect’s Budget Doesn’t Matter

I recently had lunch with a friend and fellow small business owner. He expends a lot of effort narrowing down his target audience by their demographics in order to determine if maybe they’ll have the budget to work with him. To me, that seems like a lot of extra work to do. Every time I think I’ve narrowed down the demographics for my dream client, I get two quality prospects on either side of that target range. Even then, a lot of the companies that meet that criteria often still don’t have a budget for the things that I do for them. So, while I see the logic of the exercise, I'm not sure I see the value in it.

Does the budget even matter? 

I believe that you should be positioning yourself and your company as being different than everybody else out there. Your prospects don’t even know that they can benefit from what you have. It's your job to show them. The budget is not the point because they haven't planned for you anyway.

You have something different. Maybe it’s not a revolution, but based on your research, your know-how, and your expertise, your concept will deliver previously unattainable outcomes. If they aren’t aware of those outcomes and have never considered how your solution can help them attain those outcomes, then they definitely haven't budgeted for you.

Stop worrying about the budget and start talking about solutions to problems that were previously impossible to solve.

What if they have a budget, and it’s just not enough?

Do you simply discount to get the deal done? Before you answer that, let me ask you another question… Does their budget (or lack thereof) make your solution any less valuable?

You mean to tell me you’re going to talk all about how amazing your solution is, how much it costs (which is really a proxy for how much you think it’s worth), and then proceed to devalue it immediately because your prospect tells you they don’t have the money?  That’s downright hypocrisy and an abject failure. 

You are leaving profit on the table for your company, and commission dollars on the table for your family. You’re also immediately training your customers not to trust you. What about your solution changed in the moments between when you told them what it costs and them telling you how much money they could spend? Hmm...

“But Jeff, it’s much harder to sell if they don’t have a budget…“

Is it really?  It sounds like you’re spending a lot more time and effort trying to figure out who is easy to sell to rather than actually selling. “They don’t have the budget“ sounds like a convenient excuse and a reason to blame. If you've really got something different, and it’s delivering the results you say it is, then it should be worth what you say it is.

I don’t care what the budget is. You don’t sell to the budget, you sell a worthwhile solution. 

If your prospect cannot afford the solution, then modify the size, scale, or scope of that solution. You could also wait until they have or can find the money for it. You have a responsibility to yourself and your customer to not cave on price. Your responsibility is not to meet the price demand, but to make sure you over deliver on what they pay you for. That concept also leads to loyal, not just satisfied, customers.