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There are a lot of things that make me uncomfortable – snakes, rodents, a packed elevator, and close talkers. But, my team and I are never uncomfortable asking the inevitable question, “what is your budget for this?” Granted we don’t lead with that but at some point you have to ask.

It’s amazing how many creatives struggle with this. You’ve locked in the get-to-know-each-other conference calls and the exchange of ideas and expectations. Obviously, if the prospective client has taken the time to discuss what they’re looking for…then it’s game on. Sometimes the client might not have set aside a budget but know they need marketing support and are curious to see what that will cost them. Other times, they’ll have an idea in mind. You just need them to share the figure with you as it doesn’t make sense to throw out a number that the client balks at.

Agencies and consultants alike must factor in the scope and depth of the project, the client approved deliverables and expectations, and the hours it will take to successfully accomplish the task(s). Then present this to the client.

Every individual marketing communications pro and agency has a rate. Some are more, some are less, but you need to know what the cost is for the client to secure your services. What is it going to take to get the ball rolling and start locking in those placements?

Remember, we aren’t leading the conversation with talk of the budget. We are bringing it up in the proper flow of the conversation. So here are a few tips and tricks to professionally pop the budget question:

  • If a client has already had success in another market (overseas) you can sprinkle the topic into conversation like this – “Do you have an idea of your launch timing and budget for the program in the US market?”
  • What’s the budget number you and your colleagues have settled on?
  • We offer a number of services, including media relations, blogger/influencer engagement, social activations, etc. and our budget for all of those services would be $XX.

The budget conversation doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, everyone knows the discussion is going to happen. It’s up to the pros at the table to address and then move on to finalizing the deal.