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Some salespeople are fearful to ask their prospective dream clients how much they spend in their category early in the sales process. They believe that it is offensive to ask about their spending, and they believe it makes them appear to be self-oriented. Later on, they have no idea as to what their wallet share is or what it might be.

These salespeople are wrong on both counts.

You need to ask your dream client about their spending and you need to ask them early in the sales process.

Ask Early

If you ask your dream client about how much they spend in your category early in the sales process, the question is about making sure that you build the right solution, that you requisition the right internal resources, that you build the right team to serve them, and that you understand their needs.

Asked early, the question about their spending is client-oriented. It’s about making sure you succeed for your future client.

Don’t Ask Later

If you ask your dream client about their spending after you have begun working for them, the question appears that it’s about how much more spending you can get them to do with you and how much more you might be able to make in commissions.

Asked after you begin working for them, questions about spending are perceived to be more self-oriented. If it were about serving them effectively, you would have asked the question earlier when you could have done something with the information.

This is an easy mistake to avoid. You can simply ask a question like this: “I want to make sure we put the right solution together for you and that we put the right people in place on our end. Can you share with what you spend in this category?” Asked this way, the intentions are clearly stated, believable, and it’s not a problem.

Asked another way, it might give off a different intention: “We’ve been working with you for a while now. Can you tell me how much you spend in our category?”

If you need to know what an existing client spends and didn’t ask early, all is not lost. You might be able to ask a question like this: “We’ve been working with you for some time, and we believe that there is even more that we might be able to do create value for you in a couple other areas. Can we talk about what you guys do in those areas and how we might be able to make a difference?” Now you have turned the conversation back into a client-oriented conversation.


Why do some people have a tough time talking about money?

Is it offensive to ask your dream client what they spend in your category?

Does it matter when or how you ask?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 17, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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