I find it amazing how often sellers start a conversation with "what's your budget?" It is also a tell tale signal that you should run - what is about to happen is nothing but hard sell. Anyone whose primary concern is how much you are going to spend is trying to sell you something. Run. You might argue that if a real estate agent is tasked with finding you a home, she must first ascertain how much you can afford. Wrong. Run. If a web developer asks first what budget you allocated towards updating the web, run.
Purchase decisions are made when a buyer feels that there is distinct value in the transaction. Sadly, value is frequently associated and wrongly perceived by sellers as affordability. The only value that matters is how the buyer feels about the seller and what she has to offer.
Sales techniques that are based on “what is your budget?” are centuries old. To make matters worse, asking the “money” question upfront is downright insulting – you don't get to peek into my wallet unless I can trust you, or at least feel, that you have a genuine interest in solving my problem.
Too many sales techniques,and your sales Guru-du-Jour, still preach that you must qualify the prospect by finding out if she has money and how much she will spend. Nonsense. Qualifying isn’t about the seller. Everything in sales is always about the buyer. Qualifying a prospect is a process that uncovers problems not a financial audit.
You may go through a diligent process of qualifying and find out that your buyer cannot afford your product or service. That’s fine. Your professional conduct leaves a great impression, and as often happens, affordability will change and if you spent more time listening than selling, you will get the order.