» We don’t have the budget
» We’re too busy
» Now isn’t the right time
It could be that your value proposition is unclear or not compelling enough. Perhaps there are critical details that didn’t come out in initial discovery. The following questions will help you get to the “real “no” and gather insights that can tighten your sales game:
When a prospect blames budget, sometimes your price is too high. But it’s more likely that something is unclear to you or your prospect. There may be challenges and potential opportunities that are hidden from your view. Here’s your opportunity to clarify your value proposition and equip your contact to respond to a budget challenge.
› Are there other departments with similar priorities that we could team with on budget?
› Can we start small now and scale later?
› What happens if you go over budget?
This is the mantra of employees whose companies are undergoing leadership transitions, planning for a user conference or big trade show, or managing some other stressful situation. These are the teams that have difficulty getting everyone together for a meeting. First, rate the engagement of your internal champion, the one who first considered your solution and/or brought it to everyone’s attention. Has her motivation changed at all, and how can you leverage her leadership?
› Let’s talk about your cost to wait. (Share what might be lost if you don’t get started. How much ROI is at risk of being lost by waiting three, six or nine months?)
› We can make this simple. (Talk about how many of their employees would be required to get started. For example, perhaps only a single contact or project manager is required to begin. Bottom line: You will work around her schedule to make it happen.)
› If implemented, how would this solution help you, your team or your company? If it doesn’t get implemented, what are the problems you are going to continue to struggle with?
Making and saving money aren’t always the focus. Find out what else in on their minds. If your contact agrees this is a solution that can help the business, it’s time to learn about what’s in the way and talk about controllable barriers you can manage or eliminate.
› That’s an interesting response. Can you tell me more about what you mean by that?
› What other priority projects are you trying to complete?
› Who are the people involved that would be involved in our project and these competing priorities? Perhaps we can off-load some of the work.
Answering these questions will help you put “no” into context. Keep in mind, of course, that they may not tell you the truth. If they didn’t like you, your pitch, or your product – they may not tell you that. It helps to engage a third party to conduct closed-lost interviews, because you will get more truthful answers than when the prospect talks to someone from your company.