Branding Blog

CEO Marketing Mistake #2: Getting hung-up on cost

Written by Dale Berkebile | Sat, Nov 22, 2014


Marketing Mistake Number 2: 
asking… "so let's cut to the chase– 
how much is this going to cost?

This often goes back to Marketing Mistake #1, being short-sighted. I will tell you though that this question came up in nearly every recent sales meeting I've been on. Here's the deal… the prospect gets impatient, (s)he is hearing tough questions, prodding and a lot of high-level conversation and in the back of their mind all they can think is, holy crap how much is THIS going to cost?

The problem with this is that you have mentally checked out. You are in your mind thinking of all kinds of garbage and fear is setting in. Because of this, you are no longer listening. This means there is a good chance you are missing thoughts on how this firm (if they are good) can help you. Understand though, that I can not give you a price until I know a few things:

  1. Does your company have a problem?
  2. Is it a problem I can help you fix?
  3. Have I built trust with you, the decision maker?
  4. Do you have a compelling reason to fix the problem?
  5. Do you want MY help fixing the problem?

If I give you a price before I answer all these questions then I really have no idea "what it will cost to DO a website or FIX your website", and honestly I am doing YOU a disservice as the buyer. Don't rush pricing until you get all the details worked out. It is common for a prospect to want to use PRICE as a deciding factor on if this is the right company to help them.

Here is the problem… When you get hung-up on cost, you miss opportunity. When I work with my clients I only take them on if I feel like they have a problem I can solve. If we haven't fully flushed out the root of your problems I can not help you. I take this very seriously because in my mind I am becoming highly invested in your organization. As I take on clients I look at their company as if it were my own company and I am always determined to get them ROI. I hold myself accountable to reaching success for my clients. A good advisor/partner should be like this and only doing things they know will help you grow and build your business.

When marketing is looked at as an expense instead of an investment there is a problem. This probably stems from being burnt by marketing people who over-promised and under-delivered. This is the sad state of marketing. There are a ton of snake-oil salespeople. They are well intentioned, but have no idea how to tie marketing to sales.

What is the solution to getting hung-up on marketing cost?

Instead of talking cost, start talking returns. Start asking marketing salespeople a few questions, like…

  • How will they prove that you are getting results? 
  • How will their marketing efforts support your sales team?
  • Can you tell me a story of how you did this for a similar client? What were their results?
  • How long will it take to get traction on a program like this?
  • What are the best vs. worst results we can expect by implementing a program like this?
  • What is the long-term value of this program? Once we stop the campaign is it gone forever or will it continue to add value and become a brand asset?
  • After you help us build a foundation will you be training us or helping us hire someone internally to continually run and mange this type campaign in the future?

Asking these questions should help you seriously flush out firms and quality salespeople. If they can not answer these questions then you might want to jump ship and end the meeting or sales call. I hope these tips and this series is offering ideas and new ways to get what you want out of your organization and the growth you are looking for. Good Luck!


Stay tuned for the next topic in this series "CEO Marketing Mistake #3: Looking for ROI too Soon.