a good example of why you should discuss budgets early on

So, you know how I mentioned how it creates a massive, uphill battle if you ask about budgets upfront on an initial call? Well, it’s even worse if you completely avoid it altogether. Long story short, my wife and I recently had a pool built. It’s awesome!

We went through the purchasing process with four different pool builders. We wanted to check out five, but one of them had an absolutely terrible first call with my wife and she did not invite the person to schedule an onsite visit to take measurements to draw up plans.

Anyways, not one of them asked about budgets on interaction one (the call to follow-up on our request to be contacted) or on interaction two (the onsite visit at the house).

Randomly, I fed budget information to one of them on interaction two, like:

  • “I know having a pool built can range in cost, and from what I can tell, they typically start around $20-something thousand … now, I don’t mind paying a little more for an upgraded cleaning system because I want this to be as low-maintenance as possible. My wife and I both work … a lot … so we’re on the go and just want to relax when we get home, so … the range that we’re looking to spend is somewhere around $25- to $30-thousand or so. Do you think we can get what we want within that range?”
  • “Yeah, I think so …” said the sales guy, Colton. “With what you’re looking to do, you’re looking closer to $30K, but I think we can make that happen.”

When we showed up for interaction three, the proposal presentation at the office with Colton (who handled first contact to close like a pro!), he walked us through the design and the price was just right: $29K-something. Everything was good; my wife and I felt good about everything and the plan made sense and it was exactly what we were looking for.

Now, the other pool companies: no budgets were discussed during the initial interactions, and when we showed up for the proposals at the offices, the plans they presented were great and everything looked good and they were designed well and exactly what we were looking for, but they all priced themselves out of the job – by a lot!

At $37K, $39K, and $42K, there was absolutely nothing any one of them could say that would convince my wife and I to go with them. And realistically speaking: the designs were all essentially the same, except one had a pool light that I could control with my phone and change the colors on (which neither of us cared about).

So, the pool is built, we swim almost daily, everything is awesome, BUT … I have to ask:

What if we fed the budget information to a different pool builder instead of Colton and his company? Would he have shot way high and found himself with an impossible deal to win during the third interaction?

Who knows, really, but I believe you get the point of why I’m sharing this story about discussing budgets earlier on in the process.

When you think about it, you have to realize that there’s a cost to getting to the point of going over a proposal with your potential clients. The cost of lead acquisition; the cost of processing the lead and moving the potential client to the different stages in your sales cycle; and plus, the opportunity cost. When you work with a lead who is never going to close, it takes time away that you could be spending with potential clients that you actually have a shot at doing business with.

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