If you can’t afford my services, why are you calling me?

Like most marketing and advertising firms we do a lot of quotes that do not convert for one reason or another.  Sometimes people find a company they are more comfortable with, or maybe the services that we are offering are not in line with what they are looking for or maybe there just isn’t any synergy between us, and that’s ok, we don’t expect to close every person that calls us, that’s part of doing business.  However, what really bugs me is when someone calls and we spend time going over our various products and services with them, we ask a lot of questions to find out exactly what it is they are looking to accomplish, we spend time with them showing them what we think would work best for them, and giving them different options to choose from just to find out that they can’t afford to do any marketing at this time.

What?!? You let us go through all of this, you allowed us to take time out of our busy schedule to listen to what it is you need,   what you are trying to accomplish, we assigned a sales person to you and then you tell us you can’t afford to do any marketing?  Why did you call us then?  Why did you waste our precious time?  To me it would be like going to a steak house, sitting down, have the waitress bring you water, look at the menu, ask various questions about the different entrees, and then tell her you are not going to order because you don’t have any money to buy dinner.  Most people wouldn’t do this right?  Then why call a marketing company and waste their time?  We always say we are here to serve our customers and we are here to help them, and this is true, but we are assuming that they have money.  I once spent over 45 minutes on the phone with a guy going over various strategies, and what I thought he could do to increase business, just for him to tell me that he was broke, that business was bad and that he could barely afford to keep the lights on.  Then why in the hell did you let me go on for 45 minutes and why did you let me give you free advice on what could be done in your business? I personally find this to be rude and self centered for someone to think that my time is not valuable and that it is okay for them to waste my time when they had no intention of purchasing right from the get go.

I now make it a policy to always ask prospects what  their budget is, and while many don’t want to answer this question because they feel that whatever number they give is what they are going to be charged, and I understand that this probably is true in many companies, and so even if they are not willing to give me an exact amount, I try to get a roundabout figure as to what they can afford so that I know that they can afford to do something so that I am not wasting precious time.