Always talk about the investment last—when the prospect wants what we have—not early in the conversation. Use the expression “make an investment” or “your investment is” rather than talking about “the cost” or “the price.”
If, early in a conversation with a new prospect, the prospect says, “Look, how much is all this?”
You should respond:
“Oh, you’re interested in moving forward with this, and want to know what your investment will be, then, Fred?”
If you get any sort of a yes answer to that, you might consider saying, “I understand that you’d like to know how much—that’s a fair question, Fred. Frankly, right now I don’t know enough to even come up with a number for you. Let’s do it this way: I’d like to ask you some questions, so I can get a better idea of what your investment would be—then I’ll share that with you. Fair enough?
Most interested people will agree. An uninterested person would probably respond to the question by saying something negative, perhaps, “Look, we don’t have any budget allocated for this.”
There are two ways (at least) to go with that. You could say: “How does the fact that you have no budget allocated to help you address your production (or marketing, or sales, or tax, or equipment, or research and development) challenges affect your ability to be an effective leader, Mary Lou?”
Or you could say: “So you’re saying that it’s academic to talk about ways to address that production problem, then, Fred, because there’s no money available to invest in fixing it. Is that right?”
More on how to answer questions about money in the next post!