The “B” word I am referring to is of course “B” for Budget.

I recently had a situation where a potential client called and wanted to create a new website. We reviewed the general scope of the project at which time I asked the “B” word. This was over the phone but I could feel him “squirming” and he came up with a feeble and vague statement such as “I don’t really have a specific number – but why don’t you meet with our stakeholders and create a proposal for me?”

My spidey sense told me this was a price check – and that this opportunity could be flaky, however, I continued the process as they were in a vertical we had been targeting. I met with their stakeholders and expanded the original scope based on what they told me their needs were. I sent the proposal with two options.

Sure enough – after several un-returned phone calls later he finally sends me an email to tell me that he has chosen to go with his wife’s agency. I emailed him back with a “good luck” comment.

The reason I bring the “B” word up is basic. It has been and always will be a great harbinger of things to come. I equate it to driving a car and you are stopped at the intersection (in this case a discovery meeting) – you wait for the light to turn green when you get the “B” dollar range answer) – or you get the “we haven’t established a budget yet” answer – which is a yellow light and proceed with caution.

Sorry for the traffic metaphor but it is certainly accurate in this case.

So, continue to ask the (sometimes uncomfortable) “B” question – upfront – as it may save you a great deal of time and frustration in the long run.