How often do you hear...
"It's Not In The Budget."
Depending on what you sell, you may hear "It's Not In The Budget" a lot. For example, at The Brooks Group, we get called when a CEO or sales executive realizes that they have a sales force that is under-performing or are in need of help generating sales. That's almost always something that wasn't planned for…or at least not budgeted for.
The result? You guessed it. We hear: “It’s not something we budgeted for this year.” The real, final result? “I’m glad we looked into it. We’ll consider it for next year’s budget.” The bottom-line to salespeople? A lost sale, wasted time, no income and, at best, a prospect for next year.
- Enter accounts at the most senior levels only. That's the level where budget revisions or additions occur. It's the level where
strategy is developed and emergency purchases made for products or services that fall into areas that have been unforeseen. Entering at a lower level only means that these people will generally have to go to a senior level person to have the funds approved anyway. So, go there first. And go there yourself!
- Conduct sufficient due diligence in your pre-call planning activity. Discover what items are – and are not – usually included in budgets. In reality, you should know, based on what you sell, if your type of product or service is usually budgeted for. You should also know the budget cycle, planning times, policy for disposing of excess funds, who controls what parts of the budget process and more.
- Become adept at asking questions that will illuminate budget issues very early in the sales process. Asking the following types of questions is often very helpful:
“How much have you set aside for this?”
“How do you normally handle this type of purchase at this time of the year?”
“Who else, other than you, has to approve this type of expenditure?”
The answers to these questions will help you a great deal to craft – and deliver - your presentation in such a way that you will know precisely how to proceed.
While I'm at it, here are six tactical ways to deal with the objection.
- Ask, "How have you found ways to fund this type of project before?"
- Or suggest, “We encounter this quite often due to the nature of our product. Let me suggest how other organizations have found ways to handle it...”
- Or ask, “What are some other budget areas that support this endeavor…let’s examine some ways we could work with them to help fund this activity.”
- Or ask, “How much money have you set aside that looks like it may not be used…are there ways we could access those funds to start this project?”
- Or suggest, “Let’s look at a way we could get started and let’s take a look at some ways we can arrange for full payment to be made from next year’s budget.”
- Or say, “Let’s examine next year’s budget and see if there is a way we could either (a) borrow against it this year or (b) be sure it is properly budgeted for next year so this doesn’t happen again."
- Or suggest, “Are there ways we can access next year’s budget now?”
All of this aside, the initial advice is still the best. Enter each account at the very highest level possible. Always remember, the more senior level you are dealing with, issues like funding, budget revision and allocation are secondary to the value of your offering. At lower levels, tactical issues and political realities sometimes override the long-term gains that can be obtained through acquiring your product or service.
Always remember, if selling was easy everyone would be successful at it. Guaranteeing that your prospect has the funds to pay for your product or service is one way to ensure you’ll be successful too. Sales is all about service – but it’s also all about being paid for what you deliver.