There are a number of reasons that deals won’t close, and a frequent scenario that salespeople face occurs when a prospect says, “I have no money.”
I see this comment as being one of two potential problems. Either:
- The client is being honest, and they really don’t have any money, or they have lost their money to another project, or
- You are not talking to the right decision maker. Your prospect, a decision influencer, doesn’t know where to find money because he is not a high enough manager in the company. The right decision maker has money, or can create money in the budget if your solution is important enough.
Let’s tackle these problems one at a time.
1. If the prospect exclaims, “I have no money!” regardless of where you are in the sales cycle, stop what you are doing and ask a question. Questions are the only way to truly understand what the prospect means. Here are some examples:
Prospect: “I have no money!”‘
You: “Thanks for sharing that with me. When will your new budgets be approved?‘”
Prospect: “I have no money!‘”
You: “I appreciate you telling me that up front. Does that mean we will not be able to go ahead with any part of the project this year?”
Prospect: “I have no money!‘”
You: “That’s good to know. Does that mean you have no money this month or no money all year?‘”
Prospect: “My budget has been lost!‘”
Prospect: “We’ve lost our budget for this year!”‘
You: “Thanks for sharing that with me. When will you be planning for next year?‘”
The answers to these questions will put you back in control and help you decide where to take the conversation next.
2. Sadly, for most sales people, the real reason money is not available to them is because they are trying to sell to a decision influencer, not a decision maker. Remember that only senior level decision makers (normally VP level and above) can find money to purchase your solution. Middle level managers can only spend what they have been allocated.
If you find that your prospect tells you they have no money, ask yourself honestly if you are selling high enough up the decision-making food chain.
If you discover that your contact has little to no power, look for ways to call higher. You should always be selling at the VP level or above. Here are some ideas to go high after the deal has been stalled because of lack of funds:
- Ask your prospect: “Who else is effected by the decision, and how do you suggest you get them involved?‘”
- Tell the prospect: “It’s normal for a VP to be involved in the decision. In fact, that’s been the case at all my clients.” This will put the prospect at ease, and encourage him to refer you up to his boss.
- Get your manager involved. Tell your prospect that your manager wants a meeting with his manager.
- Make sure you never go above your contact’s head unannounced. You cannot build a long-term relationship if you burn your contact. Honest and genuine salespeople are bold enough to be up front about their intended actions.
Seek the help of the buyer rather than trying to circumvent him. At a minimum, tell the blocker that because of your strong belief in your product and your dedication to helping others succeed, you would like to seek a meeting with a higher authority. If the buyer refuses to help you, you can tell him that you are going to call the higher up anyways. Then there are no surprises and you avoid resentment.
So when you are faced with a “no money” comment from a prospect, take a moment to question the prospect and then question yourself: 1) What does the prospect really mean when he says “no money”, and 2) am I talking to the right decision maker?
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from year of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Start improving your results today with Engage’s online Newsletter Engaging Ideas and a Free 7-day intensive sales eCourse: www.EngageIdeasOnline.com