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How to Find Out a Client’s Budget (Without Asking for It)

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I was talking to Shane Decker this week, and he shared some insightful advice with me for how salespeople should discover customers’ budgets without actually asking them. He says it’s a big no-no to ask a customer “How much were you looking to spend?” because it can turn off a millennial immediately (they think you only care about their money, not them as a person), and it can also put a person in a “price box” in front of their significant other.

Instead, it’s about asking the right questions.  Some examples are:

  • Are you looking for someone special?
  • Did he or she give you any hints?
  • What did you have in mind?
  • I can tell you’re on a mission.
  • What’s on your notes?
  • I can tell you’re in a hurry.
  • Do you know what size diamond you want? (Then you can follow up with “Do you know what shape?” “Do you know about the four C’s?” “What clarity do you want?”)

Now you know what they want and you can figure out what they want to spend. You may ask, “Do you know what she wants?” and he replies, “Yes, two carat weight studs.” Then you show him a pair that’s $3,995. He says, “I can’t spend that much.” Now you can say, “What are you comfortable with?” You’re being respectful of his buying ability, it sounds like you really care about him and not his money, and the word “comfortable” makes it easy for him to say the dollar amount.


This article was originally published in September 2015.

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