April 16, 2019

Story from reader James Collins: “Asking ’What’s Your Budget?’ On The Contact Form”

Sent by Jonathan Stark on April 17th, 2019

Reader James Collins graciously agreed to share the following story about asking his prospects to indicate their budget on his website’s contact form. I think you’ll find it interesting (shared with permission, bold mine):


Hi Jonathan, I recently added a ‘request quote’ form to my site which requires the client to specify a budget ranging from £3k-£5k, £5k-£10k, £10-£20k, £20-£30k, £40-£50k, £50k+ The reason I added this was so I could allow low ballers to be consciously aware that they are selecting the lowest item. And on the other side, if a good prospect left a high budget enquiry I would know to prepare accordingly. I’m doubtful this would even be their route to market if they have a healthy budget. Perhaps it just makes me look like a chancer...? I have a meeting this morning with a client that selected the lowest option. Immediately I’m basing the meeting about changing her perception from the value she selected to the reality which now seems like an uphill battle from the get go. How can I expect the client to know what the project costs should be without walking then through the value steps too. As I’m writing this I’m proving to myself that I’ve made a bad move... My gut has been telling me to remove the budget selector, and this email just confirms it. So thank you. Best regards James Collins


Great email, thanks James! It’s fine if you’d rather I didn’t, but.. would it be okay with you if I shared this message publicly with some commentary?


Hi Jonathan, Yes, that’s absolutely fine. Budget selector has been removed I would like to add... If you’re interested... the meeting I referenced developed in the following way; After the initial get to know each other, the first thing I chose to highlight was that they had intentionally selected the lowest budget option. My first question was to ask why they had valued the solution to their problem so low... The prospects response was that the decision makers above her had already allocated the budget which immediately informed that I was speaking with the gatekeeper. The task in hand for me was to diagnose the motivation for requiring someone in my field. In doing so, we soon established that the problem in hand was much bigger than what she had initially thought she needed — always the case right? Understandable, her first response was, so how much will this cost? — to which I replied, that in a blue-sky world where money doesn’t define if we achieve our goals, you would ideally want to invest at least 4x the amount you currently have approved. Both on the same page now, we concluded our meeting being pumped on what we could achieve if the budget wasn’t holding the project back with the hope that she will be able to arrange another meeting to include the necessary decision makers. She also informed that she could maybe use some money that was initially allocated for some other things... In the meantime, fingers are crossed. I’m sure you hear stories like this all day everyday. For me it’s a pleasure to be able to share something with the godfather himself :) Many thanks


Well done! Best of luck and thanks for sharing!

Thanks for sharing, James! And kudos for turning a meeting with a gatekeeper into a promising value conversation 👍

I’d like to call out some points that this story illustrates:

Good stuff!