If you’re in sales, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as having a prospect who clearly needs what you provide and clearly prefers to buy from you, only to find when you present pricing that you’re far beyond their budget. This is true whether you’re making a small sale to a consumer or a big one to a business. So early in the conversation, develop a comfortable way to ask what the prospect has to spend. That way, if you’re clearly out of their price range, you can both know right away and not invest fruitless time going further. Here’s an added bonus. Occasionally, the thought that they can’t afford you will make a prospect want to do business with you all the more, and they’ll somehow make the budget work. But ask early.