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How to work out a client’s budget

March 17 2021 by Rory Spence

Hats off to those agencies that always manage to find out a client’s budget before quoting. If you’d like to be one of them, here are my tips to help uncover your clients’ budget. 

Ask your usual qualifying questions about the project. At the end, ask the direct question: “What’s your budget for this project?”

If they say they don’t have a budget or aren’t prepared to reveal it, let them know that: “There are a number of ways we could deliver this project. To help me work out which one might be best for you, can I take you through three scenarios and you tell me which one is the closest to what you might be looking for?”

You’d then take them through three price ranges, starting with the highest, explaining what you’d get for each. For example:

“Our larger projects are in the range of £100k – £150k and typically look like this. We also work on projects between £50k – £100k and these would include most of the things you’d get in the larger projects, but tend to involve less of this. Finally, our smaller projects are between £25k – £50k. Which of those sounds like the closest fit for you?”

They will almost always pick one of the three options, often telling you where in the range they’d prefer to be. If they can’t help you by narrowing it down to one of those three options, it might be best to walk away. Do you really want to quote for a piece of work where they don’t know or don’t want to share a rough estimate of their budget? 

Obviously, adjust your price ranges to the projects you typically work on. But don’t be afraid to push yourself in the top range. You won’t win step-change deals if you don’t push the boundaries and give clients the opportunity to buy them from you.

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