Long story as short as possible, 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 didn’t allow the salesperson to schedule an onsite visit to walk the yard and take measurements to draw up plans.
Anyways, none of them asked about budgets on Interaction 1 or Interaction 2 (the onsite visit at the house). Randomly, I fed budget information to one of them on Interaction 2, like this:
“I know having a pool built can range in cost, and from what I can tell, they typically start around twenty-something thousand … now, we don’t mind paying a little more for an upgraded cleaning system because we 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 wanna relax when we get home, so … the range that we’re looking to spend is somewhere around twenty-five to thirty-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 it happen.”
When we showed up for Interaction 3, the proposal presentation at the office, Colton 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 Interactions 1 or 2, 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 of them could say during Interaction 3 that would convince us to go with them, and realistically—the designs were all basically the same, except one had a pool light that I could control with my phone and change the colors on (which wasn’t exactly something that we cared about).
So, the pool is built, we swim almost daily, everything is awesome, but I have to ask: what if, and this is a BIG WHAT IF, but:
“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 Interaction 3 like the others? 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.
There’s the cost of acquiring leads in the first place; the cost of processing and moving them to the different stages in your sales process; and plus:
THE OPPORTUNITY COST
When you spend time with leads who are never going to close, it takes time away that you could be spending with potential clients who you actually have a shot at doing business with.