Getting Someone to Give You a Estimate

Have you ever asked a client for an estimate–as in a ballpark number–and he responds, “I have no idea,” but you suspect that he does at least have some idea.

Picture is courtesy of

Picture is courtesy of

For instance, you’re talking with the revenue director of a December year-end client and you need an estimate of April revenues. So you ask, “What do you think your April sales were?” and your client says, “Oh the revenue numbers change so much, I don’t know.” You are in a hurry, so you don’t have time for the director to look the number up.

What can you do?

Try this: Throw a number out there (or a range of numbers).

For example: “Do you think the April revenues were more than $150,000?”

Most of the time, a question of this nature will elicit a response. Now the client is likely to respond with something like, “No, it was less than that.” My next question is, “so maybe around $125,000 to $135,000?” The client’s response might be, “well yes, that’s probably in the neighborhood.”

Now you have your number.

It may not be a perfect estimate, but at least you have some idea–and that’s all you wanted.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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