Asking About Their Budget LOSES Sales

Price and Value

I was waiting in an unusually long checkout line at Walgreens. Instead of checking email to pass the time I watched the guy in front of me.

He had just a couple of items in his basket.

Then he noticed the “As Seen on TV” rack to our right. You know the one.

His eyes got big. His breathing rate increased.

He stared for a few seconds and then I saw a slight grin appear, like a mischievous kid opening up a drawer he shouldn’t be in.

He jumped out of line and stepped over to the items typically only seen on cable TV commercials.

He put a Perfect Tortilla Pan Set in his basket.

Then snatched a box of Hanger Cascaders.

He scanned for a moment and grabbed a Pocket Hose (Disclaimer: I have one too… my current one has lasted eight months, new record.)

Then he looked around to see if anyone was watching—I looked away just in time— and out of the corner of my eye watched him select a pair of Slimming Sauna Shorts (I don’t think they will help him) that he buried underneath the other stuff in his basket.

Then he strolled to the back of the line with a very satisfied look on his face.

Not sure, but he might have even gotten more items before it was his turn to check out.

So here’s my question for you: Do you think this guy came to Walgreen’s intending to buy any of that stuff?

Do you believe that he had a set budget for any of it?

Of course not!

At the moment he saw that section of goodies, a sensory and chemical reaction exploded within his brain like Fourth of July fireworks.

Any semblance of rational thought left him, and the “Want” emotion occupied his total being.

What’s my point?

How often have you, or any sales rep you have been around said,

“Do you have a budget for this?”


“What’s your budget for this?”

I maintain that more sales have been lost due to this question than perhaps any other.

When a salesperson asks about a budget, BEFORE someone has reached “Want” mode, they will say the money isn’t available.

Of course it’s not!

Money is what is exchanged in proportion to perceived value. If that value is not perceived as high enough, or worse, non-existent, there is no chance any money will be available.

On the other hand, think about something you didn’t need, but really wanted. I mean totally lusted for. Just had to have. Even if you didn’t have the “budget,” you found a way to buy it, didn’t you?

And what is a budget anyway?

A plan. A document. A spreadsheet. Perhaps the amount that was spent last year on a category of something. All created by people. People who can change their mind when the “Want” becomes strong enough.

Granted, I’m a realist and know that in some situations there is a set amount available for certain things. It IS in concrete.

Or, perhaps there is the dreaded “spending freeze” in place.

But these situations occur far fewer times than the number of sales that are lost unnecessarily when sales reps ask a budget question when budget is not really an issue. (Next week I will specifically address what to do in these situations.)

For now, here’s my action step for you:

Focus on helping people arrive at the Want emotion.

That means understanding WHY someone would reach that state.

What problems and pains are they experiencing, or do they want to avoid? What are the costs of those?

What will they potentially get and enjoy from the results of your product or service?

Your questioning should be engineered to help lead them to those states of mind.

Gotta run… going back to Walgreens. There was this cool Perfect Bacon Bowl I saw and now decided I must have…

Make it your best week ever!


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