For designers and salespeople
In the last couple of weeks, I have met with hundreds of designers and salespeople and there has been a commonality to their challenges, especially about the end-user / customer / client.
The ‘complaint’ has been that there is no commitment by the customer to their project, as evidenced by their lack of budget, or more exactly, their unwillingness or inability to share that information with the designer or salesperson.
What happens next is where commitment shows up. If the process continues without that information it will usually proceed to some sort of selection at some sort of price point and (inevitably) some sort of objection will occur. And that will be a price objection. It’s predictable.
At this point, the ability of the salesperson or designer to manage that objection will be limited, which includes the skills of managing the concern and resolving it. And the relationship or the discussion will begin to deteriorate.
So, where the lack of commitment shows up is really with the salesperson or designer, not with the customer or client. It’s lacking because the designer or salesperson doesn’t find an effective way to get that information before they invest any more time or talent or treasure with this client. It might be ignorance on the part of the customer/client – they don’t know what the product or project will cost and are expecting the designer or salesperson to come up with a figure. If that’s the case, stop the process, ask that question, and then start to discuss what it will cost. It might be that the customer/client doesn’t trust the designer or salesperson with that information yet. If that’s the case, stop the process and ask that question, and then discuss what would make them feel more comfortable and confident with you or with the process.
In either case, it’s the designer or salesperson who is driving this process and who needs to be responsible for asking and extracting this information. The customer / client is wired to resist discussing it, so expect that and be prepared to explain why that’s important for you to know in order to move forward. Commitment shows up when things get difficult, and it’s certainly a challenge to discuss money with someone who is afraid of you or of the process. Be compassionate, courageous and confident in your ability to engage and discuss this….in the beginning of the process, when it’s part of the selection process and not later, when it’s a point to be negotiated.