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How to flip the script on the dreaded budget question

October 21, 2020
Advertising & media

“What’s your budget?" If you’ve ever bought a car or dealt with sales people pitching you a service, you’ve heard this question. Most of the time it’s probably the last question, thrown in at the end of a nice informational meeting, along with some random nonsense talk around “customization to fit your needs.” 

If they were being honest, the question would be “Heh, what poker cards do you have in your hand, so I can take the whole pot?” Give them your budget and they’ll pigeonhole you into inventory that works for them, all while making it look like your budget and the plan presented was maximized just for you! What a great thing, right?  Um, no.  

So what the heck do you do when you get this question? Do you just pretend you didn’t hear it and fold your hand? No, you re-raise the pot and put the pressure on them to deliver. Here’s what I mean.    

Salesperson: What’s your budget?

Me: Forget about numbers. Show me your best plan that hits on the objectives I talked about today. Show me everything you think will work. Shoot the moon. Don’t leave any great ideas on the sidelines because of price. I doubt we’ll be able to do it all, but we can start to hone in on the ideas that rise to the top and build a plan around those ideas rather than around a dollar amount.

Now what happens? You get great ideas. You pick the ideas you like. You make the plan work for you, and only you know your budget. You get to the dollar amount you want to get to with the ideas that you know will work for your brand, not the other way around.   

Of course, if you don’t want the anxiety of dealing with any of this when it comes to media buying, your office doesn’t have to. We’re here to help with any negotiations you ever need, on your behalf. Absolutely tell us your budget, and know that once you do, that information goes into the vault (where it belongs for your benefit, not anyone else’s). The only problem you’ll have to figure out is which idea you want to start with!