Should You Ask Your Clients for Their Budget?

Should You Ask Your Clients for Their Budget?

Should You Ask Your Clients For their Budgets

Do you ask your client to provide a budget for a new project?

How often did a prospective client look at you suspiciously from under the eyelids, wondering what you were up to?

Perhaps, even some of your regulars said something to the effect that “Ermm, John, it’s somewhere around $2,000 to $4000.”

The question made them uncomfortable.

Asking for a budget has been a standard question and one that’s both expected and needed in the marketing and advertising industry.

Yet the client can feel differently.

They feel that if they give too huge a figure, we will somehow utilize every single cent even if the project doesn’t call for such spending. I cannot speak for all advertising folks but generally, this is not true. Only short-sighted marketing and advertising agencies will not take good care of their clients. However, that’s the way the majority of the clients think.

That reminds me of Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, “The Speed of Trust”. Trust is the one thing that can change everything.

Over the years, whether it is a big, full fledge advertising campaign spanning TVC, print advertisement, brochure, flyer, out-of-home poster, road show or just a straight-forward quarter page press advertisement, I noticed that it is the sophisticated business people that trust their marketing and advertising people wholeheartedly. They not only expect the question, they answered it honestly. My clients believe in my integrity and intent, know our capabilities and are confident that results will meet or even surpass expectations.

The “small” guy, who operates from his fear-based lower self, does not trust that an agency will think long term and win-win. Smart agencies like Versa Creations do so. Since this is a business blog, let’s just concentrate on the financial sense. A satisfied client is a long-term client and a long term client provides lifelong values. Jay Abraham encourages us to think this way: If a satisfied client pays $1000 for a product/service and he buys 6 times a year, what’s the value of this client if you are going to be in business for the next 15 years? The answer should give enough reasons for a sane business person to think long term and win-win.

A client that does not trust us usually will provide the lowest figure. He hopes by doing so, that’s all we are going to quote and that’s all we are going to charge.

Versa Creations respect a client having limited resources. However, to do just that wouldn’t be right too. We would evaluate his objective, goal and expected end results to work out the job scope and quote accordingly. From there, we could explore further what can be retained and what can be eliminated to keep to the original budget. If I don’t do my due diligence, it will be a lose-lose situation. He might actually lose all his marketing advertising investment because of poor results. And, we, lose an opportunity to cultivate a long term relationship with a client. We had turned many suspicious clients to trusting clients over the years.

So, should you ask your clients for their budget or should you not? I take the stand of asking. However, if they chose not to answer at all, I have a new question for them, courtesy of T. Harv Eker during the Guerrilla Business Intensive seminar “What’s the least you will spend and still be happy about it?”. He said it works for him all the time and I like to see what happen on our end too.

[tags]client’s budget, marketing budget, advertising budget[/tags]

5 Replies to “Should You Ask Your Clients for Their Budget?”

  1. The professional-client relationship is critical to the success of both businesses. I work as a freelance writer and have found that where this relationship is strong, everyone benefits. If the customer doubts me or is questioning my spending or my writing campaign, that puts strain on the relationship.

    Certainly, I’m not above being questioned by a client, but when I’m given free reign I tend to do my best work for them.

  2. The size of the project affects the way that I would answer this question.

    For a small project – no, I wouldn’t ask.

    For a large project that would require me to commit a great deal of my time – yes, if I was at all worried about it – I would ask.

    This is how I make my living and I can’t afford to get caught up in a large project without a budget. (Especially since the writer is often the last one to get paid.)

  3. A great post on a topic that is not addressed very often. I love how you pointed out that clients may think that if they give you a large, (maximum) number, you will spend it all even if the project doesn’t call for it. I never really thought about it from their perspective and would just like to reiterate your point that it is not true!

    I recently had to market two niche courses, taught locally, online. It was an e-marketing project, and I wasn’t to use any traditional advertising. I was given a total budget of $3000 dollars. I spent a maximum of $1300. My client got the results they needed for less than they thought- it was a pleasant surprise for them!

    If anything, I want to spend the least amount of my client’s money to impress them- showing them how far I can stretch their money so they’ll continue to pay me well and continuously hire me for new projects.

    Great post! Thanks!

  4. Quite informative article. I often shy asking what’s the budget. I try to ask the clients hereafter.
    Thanks for the good post!

  5. Hi Matt
    I agreed with you that the relationship is strained when trust is absent. We’ll walk an extra few miles willingly for clients who trust us completely.

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    Hi Laura
    Yes, knowing the exact budget for a large project is important. In fact, it’s win-win for both client and vendor when the budget is openly discussed and agreed upon.

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    Hi Erica

    Your client is really fortunate to have you serving them and their interests. That’s why people like us can retain the clients. A life-long client can be priceless.

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    Hi Solomon

    Don’t be shy about asking, just be professional and nice doing so. If the client is skeptical, you’ll just have to convince him that you have his interests in your mind and heart.

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