Every account executive in sports sales would be rich if they had a nickel for every time they’ve heard “It’s Not In The Budget” this year. It’s the all-purpose excuse for the new normal. After all, it’s an easy out for the prospect; how can any rep argue with a budget that they can’t see?
As a group of sales professionals, our success against a stingy budget boils down to two things:
- A rock-solid understanding of the value of our product to our clients, and;
- An iron will to continue to sell through their initial resistance.
Most everyone that has the power to write a check is nervous about the pressure they’re getting from all sides. Spending money in the “wrong” way has been the kiss of death for many executives, and no one wants to be the next victim.
Regardless of how nervous our prospects are, the reality is that whether or not their budget is gone, the need for your product’s solution may still be there. Your challenge – and your opportunity – is to discover what your buyer’s greatest challenges are, find out what those problems are costing them, and lay out how an investment with you can improve their situation.
Bottom line: Don’t take the objection at face value!
When you hear, “Sorry, it’s not in the budget this year,” here are a few of the kinds of responses I recommend:
#1: “We hear the ‘B’ Word a lot! Let me ask you: even though your budget is gone, is the need for (motivating your salespeople/entertaining your best clients/employee appreciation) still there? With all due respect for your budget, what are the consequences of choosing NOT to invest in that in 2010?” Discuss the negatives of doing nothing, what they will cost, and the relative good that can come from being a part of your team for 2010.
#2: “Staying within budget is always a challenge. What would you say your biggest business challenge is this year?” This kind of discussion gets your prospects thinking in terms of issues and the need to resolve them, and you’ll have the chance to connect your product with these kinds of solutions.
#3: “I understand. If budget wasn’t an issue – if the seats I had were FREE – what would you do with them? How would you use them to build your business?” Remove the budget issue completely, and allow your prospect to dream about how your product would be used if given access. Many prospects actually enjoy this activity, and their answers will give you valuable insight into their potential intentions.
If these don’t sound like you would say them, change the words around until they sound and feel right. As long as you keep the intent intact, you should be fine.
There are more reasons than ever for people to say “No” to our offers. What’s important to remember is that there are just as many reasons to say “Yes” – if we’re well-prepared to overcome today’s objections with compelling reasons for our prospects to reconsider their answer.