Events Confidential: Should “What is Your Budget” Be The First Question You Ask A Potential Client?

Learn from event mentorship program expert May Yeo Silvers as she shares how to discuss the budget with a potential client.

So a potential client contacted you because they want to plan an event. What’s the first question that most event planners ask? I bet you more than 50% of the event planners out there will ask, “What’s your budget?” Unfortunately, several event planners fall into the trap of asking this question when they first meet their potential clients.

What Does Your Client Need Help With?

How could that be the first question to ask when you don’t even know what the potential client requires you to do? Yes, they told you they need help planning their wedding. But what do they need help with, exactly? If you don’t know what they need from you, how do you know if the budget they share with you is realistic or not?

Qualify Your Lead

I mentioned in one of my YouTube videos that we must first qualify the lead, even before we start talking about money. You can watch that video here. Once you qualify the lead and you have come to the conclusion that this lead is indeed your ideal client, then we can start talking about money.

Guide Your Client

The reality is how do you know if the potential client is actually telling you the truth when they share their budget with you? Sometimes (and often), they have no idea how much things cost (that’s why they are talking to you). That’s when we run into the “champagne taste, beer budget” situation. 

It is imperative for event planners to find out what the budget the client has for the event is before we agree to plan the event, otherwise, you and the potential client will not be able to agree on ANYTHING because again, the potential client has unrealistic expectations based on how much they want to spend. 

Ultimately, it is our responsibility as event planners to educate and guide our potential clients when planning their events. We need to be able to bring these potential clients back down to earth by sharing what things actually cost to make their dream event a reality. Having said that, we never want to make the potential client feel “small” or “inadequate” or downright humiliated. “What’s your budget” is a sensitive question and one of the main reasons potential clients feel reluctant to share with you their “real” numbers because they don’t want to be judged as being “cheap” or have their ego hurt. 

Alternate Ways To Discuss "Budget"

There are several ways that we can go about asking that question without getting into the tap-dancing routine or offending anyone. Here are a few tips:

1) Have you looked at any venues to have this event?

If your potential client is looking at venues where you know the venue charges a high room rental fee or food and beverage minimum, then you know the client has a champagne budget. But don’t be afraid to ask the potential client if she/he knows how much the venue charges for rental fees and food and beverage minimum. 

2) How many guests do you plan to have at the event?

The more people they plan to invite, it’s logical to assume that the host will  budget more to feed these guests 

3) Can you share photos of how you want the event to look like?

Encourage your potential client to share with you their vision of what they want their event to look like. When you go over the images with them, ask them what items in the photos they like. Then you can politely ask them if they know how much those items (the items they pointed out to you) cost. 

4) Is this a repeat event? If yes, where was it held last time?

If this is a repeat event, you want to find out how much they budgeted for the last event and how much they ended up spending. That will give you a ballpark figure of how much they will budget for this year’s event

5) If the party is at the host(ess) home, find out where (city, zip code) the house is located

If the house is located in a high-income area, that also indicates that your potential client may have high earning power.

6) Who are the people who are coming to this event? 

If you are planning a corporate event, you want to be very specific about this. If the people who are coming are top executives and C-level executives, the event will need to have a healthy budget because this group of people are well-travelled, have discerning taste, and are used to the finer things in life. 



The above tips are just part of some of the strategies we teach inside our Unstoppable Eventrepreneurs Mentorship Program® that helps event planners start and grow their event planning company into a 6 figure profit business. 

Want to hop on a call to see how we can help you propel your event planning business? Click the link here, let’s chat!

Standing By You,

May Yeo Silvers

I’m May!

Event Planner & Strategist,
EVENTrepreneur, Coach & Mentor, Wife, Mom.


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