The Toughest Objection Of Them All: “We’re not hiring and we have no budget.” Blog Feature
Dan Fisher

By: Dan Fisher on May 12th, 2009

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The Toughest Objection Of Them All: “We’re not hiring and we have no budget.”


If you are like most sales professionals in the staffing industry you’re probably sick and tired and frustrated with hearing your prospects and customers tell you “we’re not hiring and we have no budget.”How does one overcome such an objection?Better yet, how does one even engage in a meaningful conversation when you know your prospect or customer is operating under those circumstances?Here is an idea that has worked for me, and hundreds of others.

As we all know, the employment market is currently very challenging and many or most organizations do not have budget to hire consultants.But rather than hoping our prospect or client doesn’t bring up the “no budget/not hiring” objection, we need to do the opposite.We need to bring it up.Yes, you read that correctly.We as sales people need to bring up that objection and address it head-on.If we don’t address it head on and wait for our prospect or customer to bring it up (which we know they will), then we’re stuck in objection handling mode.And coming up with a rebuttal for this objection is much more difficult and challenging to overcome than if we address this objection on our terms.Here is an abbreviated sample conversation:

Sales Rep: (Immediately following introductions/pleasantries) “John, can I assume you’re business circumstances are similar to most of my other customers in that you’re not hiring and don’t have budget to hire any additional help now or in the near future?

Customer: “Yes Dan that is the case. I wish I could but the funding is locked down.We are currently not spending any.Try me back in 6 months.”

Sales Rep:Show empathy for his current situation “Gosh John, how are you and your team coping with that?”

Customer “Well Dan we are swamped but we are getting by”

Sales Rep“John, now that we understand that and expectations are clear that you don’t have budget to hire, let’s change gears and talk about your current projects and all this work that is keeping you so busy.”

Customer: “Uh, ok Dan, what specifically would you like to discuss?”


From here we steer the conversation to learn more about the specific details of their projects and more specifically the challenges and issues the customer currently faces.

By leading with the objection we take away the prospect’s excuse for not talking with us.Now that we have eliminated their objection from their “bag of objections,” we are able to move forward with the conversation and discuss their projects and challenges.Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would I want to talk with a manager who has no budget and can’t hire?”Because in a down economy you have to actually sell in order to generate job orders and make placements.And by selling I mean creating sales opportunities where no pre-defined, budget approved job order exists.More specifically, you have to identify the customer’s pain points or critical business issues and then convert that into a job order.And right now, in this tough economy, your prospects and customers have a ton of “pain.”The only difference between a down economy and a good economy is that in a good economy your customers would already have budget approved to hire consultants.In a down economy we have to remind our prospects and customers just how big their challenges are and the impact those challenges have on their organization if left unattended.In a good economy your customers have these very same issues and challenges but you never know about them because you never have to ask.They just give you a job order. But now, in a down economy, you have to uncover what those issues are and sell to them.You have to offer a solution to their problem.In a good economy they do that for you by developing a pre-defined job order. If you’re not familiar with this style of selling (it’s the only way to sell in this market) you should try reading my industry white paper Effective Sales Strategies For Selling IT Staffing During A Recession by clicking here

In a tough economy you need to stop seeking out pre-defined job orders and instead seek out customer problems.It’s only when you find a customer problem that you have an opportunity to make a sale.

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About Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.

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