Overcoming Sales Objection: “You are out of our budget”

This question came from a photographer who follows me on twitter and reads the blog. Thanks for asking!

Haven’t we all heard this objection? They love, love, love our services/products but after the one-hour sales consult they tell us that we are simply out of their budget. My answer to this objection is three-fold:

1. Please analyze your current marketing. Do you have starting prices on your website or do you send something out to the prospect before the face-to-face meeting? Certainly, it’s lovely meeting excited couples … but I’m going to guess that you don’t appreciate wasting your time. Of course, there is always the hope that they will be so overwhelmed by the quality of your services and products that they will move mountains in order to afford them. This does happen; but honestly, not too often. The reality is that people don’t go shop for BMW’s when all they can afford is a Honda. So take a close look at how you are marketing your services.

If you are upscale, make sure everything you do reflects your brand image. Pre-qualify the consult (if you wish to not waste your time) by sending out at least a starting price for your services before your meeting. This will let them know your range.

2. Pre-qualifying your prospect is so important. If you don’t wish to give out prices, then ask lots of questions. Where are they having the wedding? How many guests? Which vendors have they already contracted? What other photographers have they looked at? What are their expectations? Have they met with other photographers yet? It’s okay to ask these questions as long as they are posed in a conversational tone and not like a drill-sargeant digging for personal info. You should be able to ascertain what level of event they are looking at and whether or not you can fit into their wedding budget. You don’t want to assume that you cannot, but it’s a lot better than going in unprepared.

3. When do you tell ’em your price? Let’s say you don’t want to do steps 1 -2 and have the expectation of blowing them away at the F2F consult. Sweet. Possibly a little far-fetched if they don’t have the money, but I’ll indulge. At what point at the consult are you giving them your price information? Selling is a psychological process (anyone who has heard me speak is probably rolling their eyes, but I will beat this death until my own demise). You simply cannot give out pricing before you build rapport or trust (and a number of other steps).

For photographers, you are so darn lucky. You create memories and products that evoke emotion. I can tear up at a photo of a bride and groom looking at each other a certain way and I don’t even know their name, nor am I a super sappy person. USE this to your advantage. Try changing things up and showing your prices towards the middle of the consult and then leave the photography presentation (slide show) or coffee table books towards the end. They walk out the door thinking how lovely and amazing these photographs are, instead of seeing just $$,$$$.

Many purchases are emotion based. Something to think about.

Happy Selling!

PS: We’ll be answering reader’s questions about Overcoming Objections … you’ll want to come back for more Q & A to come! Or just read this blog in your RSS feed. That’s cool too.