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Give buyers what they really want: transparency and honesty

You are unlikely to win over potential clients if you do not take the initiative in sharing information.

There is hardly more frustration in sales than encountering a buyer who will not share essential information.

Take this question for example: What is your budget?

There is nothing more important in the buyer-seller relationship than their understanding of the money at stake. However, in my experience, when asked about their budget, almost 90% of buyers will give you some version of the answer: “I wouldn’t tell you.”

Did the buyers get this way because of the sellers? Or is it the opposite?

Honestly, the answer doesn’t really matter. Mistrust between the two parties settles a deal, or even tears them apart, when transparency reveals that they both have the same interests.

And that’s the solution right here.

Sellers love to resent buyers who don’t share key details, including information about competitors. I should know – in my weakest moments, I am sometimes one of those people. But I also know that there is only one way out: to show transparency yourself.

may sting. It may make you feel weak. But it can also advance your career, as well as a proposed sale that causes you a lot of heartburn.

If the customer is worried that sharing their budget means you’ll just use that as your new benchmark for pricing, tell them it’s fair. Then tell them the truth. In my case, I’m using strictly the same company rate book every time. If I have to negotiate the price, I ask to adjust the scope of the project. My goal, rather than fiddle with a probability for every possible dollar, is simply to see if a match is possible.

Maybe their budget is too low and there is no point in investing time for either of us. Their budget is probably much higher than I expected. In such a situation, we have to puzzle together about the projections for the scope of the project and why the numbers were so far off at the start.

Either way, there’s no better shortcut to showing a buyer that transparency is in their best interest and yours than to show them yourself first.

It doesn’t matter who is most responsible for developing the dysfunctional buyer-seller relationship. All you can do as a seller is recognize the root cause – the lack of trust caused by a lack of transparency – and attack it with something that looks radically different.

Transparency may be in everyone’s interest. This does not mean that a buyer wary of being lied to will act first. This burden is on your shoulders.

The bottom line is what happens next. Where if you do what you say you will do, for the price you said you will do it for, you are not temporarily solving the bigger problem in a potentially dysfunctional relationship. You can also create one possibility that isn’t and that lasts a very long time, while leading to referrals to more new customers.

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