Have you been taught to ask a prospect, “…and what’s your budget?” or “Do you have a budget for this?” Perhaps you’re one of the brave salespeople who prefers not to ask, instead hoping that when it’s time to buy, the money will be there. In today’s Baseline Selling Tip, I will address the importance of financial qualification and demonstrate the most effective way to do it.

Not knowing how much a prospect can spend has a few obvious problems. They may not be able to afford what you propose or they may be able to afford much more than what you propose. Additionally, your proposed solutions may not provide the best bang for your prospects’ bucks. And then there’s the time you wasted if you guessed wrong.

With the exception of a custom engineered or custom designed solution, most salespeople, by the time they reach second base, have a sense for how much money a prospect will need to invest in order to get the most appropriate solution. Assuming that you have quantified the prospect’s problem using my Rule of Ratios, you can simply ask, “Are you willing to invest around (cost of your solution) in order to fix this problem once and for all?” The “once and for all” part is very powerful. If they are, you can move on to one of the other 26 plus areas in which your prospect must be qualified before you can reach third base. If they can’t or won’t spend the money, you can ask, “why not?”

If you sell commodities, and you’ve identified and quantified the problem, you can ask, “Are you willing to spend a little bit more with me to solve this problem once and for all?” It’s important that you differentiate yourself and this question helps you do that while making it clear that they won’t be buying your expertise for the lowest price.

Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, describes the art and science of getting people to spend money beginning on page 120. If you need to become more effective selling value, that discussion begins on page 122.