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The Budget Step... and the Monsters Under the Bed


A critical part of the Sandler qualification process is finding out what the available budget is – the investment.

We’ve worked with hundreds of thousands of salespeople over the years. One thing we have found consistently is that, at first, most of them are uncomfortable with coming right out and asking a decision-maker how much money is available to solve a problem.

A lot skip the discussion about investment entirely, then try to sneak in their pricing at the end of their presentation. Does that work? No. It usually results in a “Let me think it over” response.

The big question is: Why are so many salespeople so resistant to initiating this discussion?

And the answer is: there is a monster under their bed.

Back when we were little kids, and our parents turned off the lights at the end of the day, we were afraid of the monsters that we thought lived under our beds. They would cause us fear, doubt, and worry—so much so that we even convinced ourselves sometimes that we could see and hear those monsters.

This monster-under-the-bed example may seem like a faraway experience but to sell effectively, we need to get a handle on which monsters are still causing us to fear, doubt, worry, and make bad decisions.

Time has gone by, and we’ve grown up. We no longer need our parents to come in and soothe us so we can go to sleep. But you know what? That doesn’t mean we got rid of the monsters. They just took different forms and showed up in different spaces: our locker, our dorm room. Eventually, they followed us to work and took up residence in our desks, telephones, and computers.

Some of the biggest monsters actually come from Mom and Dad! If, while we were growing up, they told us, “Don’t talk to strangers,” or, “It’s rude to talk about money,” or, “Money is the root of all evil,” – or, if we’re really unlucky, if they happened to say all three of those things – then whether we realize it or not, we’ve probably still got a monster under the bed.

That monster is keeping us from selling effectively. It’s keeping us from getting the information we need to qualify opportunities and strengthen relationships.

Parents and others who supported us as children gave us rules because they cared and wanted to protect us. We need to recognize that some of those rules are no longer serving us.

Yes, we’re professionals now, grownups. But most of us still have monsters that can cause us to freeze up at important moments when we’re interacting with buyers.

Our challenge to notice and assume personal responsibility for our own mindset. Is it a mindset of fear, doubt, and worry? Or is it one of confidence and conviction in our message? If it’s the former, there’s work to do on our self-talk and our self-concept. That’s how you get the monster out from under your bed. You change your self-talk and change your self-concept.

We tell our clients: You can talk yourself in or out of greatness in an instant. In fact, we can talk ourselves out of greatness the minute we start fantasizing about bad outcomes that may never actually happen.

For example, “They know more than I do, and if they find out they will disapprove of me.” Or: “I don’t know all the details about our product/service, and if they find out, they will disapprove of me.” Or (here’s the big one): “If I ask about the budget, they will disapprove of me – or maybe stop talking to me altogether.”

Here’s an important reality check: We’re not having this conversation with the buyer in order to be liked.

Once we realize that – once we get rid of the monsters under our bed and internalize that – asking directly about the budget becomes a whole lot easier.

Brett Baker

Brett Baker

TrustPoint offers sales, management and customer service training to companies and individuals focusing on the personal development of each client. We work with company owners and leaders to build a culture of communication and trust. TrustPoint has carved a coaching niche by teaching the Sandler process to professionals who have the desire to put the pressure on the process, not on the individual. Our mission is simple: Grow and coach professionals to become better versions of themselves. Our specialties include: Define and develop sales cultures, sales force development, business development, management consulting, strength and weakness assessments through Divine Inventory and Extended DISC.