Oh man, how can you actually get a client to divulge their number and give you their budget so you have something to work?
Well, you just have to get a little creative. Let's look at 5 creative ways to ask a client for their budget (without actually asking them for their budget), so they actually give you a number.
I know as a provider it can feel uncomfortable to ask a client "hey, what's your budget." After all, you don't go up to a new neighbor, new friend, new colleague or acquaintance and just start talking about their finances. It's uncomfortable and it can feel the same way with a client.
This, however, is an entirely different relationship and it's really based on finances. This is about their business. It's about their growth and the amount of money they have allotted for this work is really going to equal the amount of value you are able to provide.
Which means asking about a client's budget is a very important question. It's also going to help qualify the client early on so you know if this is someone you should even continue talking to and that you'll want to work with.
Now on the flip side, a client can also feel uncomfortable. They may have had bad experiences and sometimes they feel if they actually give you their real budget, your quote will somehow magically match that number.
This is why we want to bring this question up rather early in a conversation this gets rid of all the tire kickers and the time wasters and the people who are solely shopping on price so let's look at the five ways that you can ask a client for their budget.
#1 Ask a Client Directly
The first option is what you've been doing and that is asking a client directly for their budget. But you see, you have to ask this with confidence.
If you're coming in and saying "so um, you know, how how much have you allotted for this?" and just kind of doing it in a passive way like you're afraid to ask you this question, well they're not going to feel any more comfortable than you are in divulging that number.
So make sure you are asking this question just as you would any question that has nothing to do with money. Ask it with confidence (even if you don't feel that confident in asking).
If you don't have confidence yet, you need to practice. You may have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask this question so you can see how it comes across (even if you'll be asking the question over the phone) because how you appear, even if you're standing up tall and and you're talking very firmly, it comes across the same way on the phone.
Ask as if you are in person. Now if a client responds with silence, if they respond with a hesitation, some ums or they're just sitting on that question, just remain quiet.
Yep, just keep silent and allow them to work through that. They're going to feel awkward with the silence (and you will too) but that's okay. They'll want to break the silence and they'll give you a number.
You may have to stay quiet a bit. It may only be 20 or 30 seconds and even though it will probably feel like a month, it's not that long.
#2 Give a Range
The second way you can ask a client for their budget is to give them a range of your prices. Starting with the absolute lowest you would price a project (and still feel happy with) and the absolute highest you would go.
So for instance, if the lowest you would ever price a project would be a $1,000 and the highest would be $5,000 you would say:
"Our projects typically range between $1,000 and $5,000 (or our projects typically range between $5,000 and $15,000)."
By giving them that range, you will receive some immediate feedback. They'll either say okay and you know you have a range to play with or they're going to say "Well, I was more towards the $5,000 range than the $15,000 range" and then you know what you're working with.
#3 Give Your Highest Price
As another option, you can give your highest price. The number doesn't matter, whether you have a high price of $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000. You tell them what your highest price is: "Our packages (or our projects / our sites) range up to about $15,000."
They'll be quick to bring you down to their level if that doesn't work for them. So they'll say something like: "Whoa, okay I was thinking more like $2,000 (or more like $5,000 / $10,000 etc.)."
And there you have it, the immediate feedback you need.
#4 Find Out the Client's Average Customer Value
If you still can't get the budget, another thing you can do is dive into the actual math that will lead them to a good budget to have based on their desired outcomes.
Some clients just don't know their business numbers or they really haven't calculated this out so you can help them do so. This also helps them see why your prices should be a no-brainer for them.
So as your fourth option, find out what their customer value is.
If a client's business has a customer value of $1,000, every time they get a new client, that client is worth $1,000 to them (whether it's a one-time payment or they get a series of payments over the lifetime of a customer).
Let's say you can get 10 new clients for the client every month. That is $10,000 of revenue coming into their business every month. Ask them if we were able to bring in $10,000 of new business for them every month, what would that do for their business?
You see, this keeps the conversation on value and it's asking them to dream a little bit.
- To think about if I actually had X number of dollars in additional revenue every single month, what is going to change in the business?
- How is that going to impact my personal life?
- What is this going to do for me?
Then they start to really understand the impact your work can have. At the same time, you're able to see based on the customer value and based on the type of work you're providing, just how many customers you may be able to bring for them.
Of course, they have to do their job. They have to close deals but you can bring in a certain number of leads into their business through your work.
By following this process of asking for their budget, you are going to help reverse engineer what price is going to make sense based on the revenue they're getting.
If you're pricing a package at $2,000 or $3,000 for example, and they're getting $10,000 of value out of that per month, well shouldn't that be a no-brainer?
#5 Ask for Desired Outcome
The fifth way to ask a client for their budget is to ask them:
"How much revenue do you want this work to bring to your business?"
So if they're looking for web design, SEO, social media marketing, Facebook ads, email marketing or whatever the services you want to provide, ask them that question.
No business just wants the work done. They want the leads, customers and sales that come from the work.
This is why I really like these last couple of options for asking about the budget. Not only are you going to find out how much they have allotted for their budget, you're also going to find out what the true value is and what they want out of this so you can make sure this is something you can deliver on.
And the entire conversation can stay around the results that matter most and in closing this deal.
So find out how much revenue they want and ask them how much they're willing to pay for those results or give them the number:
"So it sounds like it would make sense to invest in this for X number of dollars if this is going to generate X number of dollars of revenue, don't you agree?"
Do you see how you're phrasing this different than simply asking what is your budget?
Asking for The Number
I hope this helps you come up with a more creative way to start asking a client for their budget so you actually get their number. The benefit to asking in this way is it also keeps the conversation around value, outcomes and results.
Drop a comment below and let me know which option you'll try out with your next potential client.