I don’t blame prospects for hedging. The policy for far too many ad agencies is (1) learn the client’s budget and (2) take it all. If your agency works that way, you are wise not to disclose your budget. Instead, give them an objective, and have them tell you the cost to attain it.
So I guess we’re a little weird at the RESPONSE Agency. If I can hit your objective for less than you’ve budgeted, I’ll tell you so you can keep the difference. Maybe that’s why, unlike prospective ones, our established clients answer the budget question without hesitation.
While I hope my policy will encourage you to entrust us with more work in the future, that’s not why I work that way. (Which is just as well, since experience shows that karma doesn’t believe in me any more than I believe in it.) I work that way because I feel that’s the right way to do business. After all, when you ask your hair stylist the price for a cut, the stylist doesn’t look in your wallet before answering.
The client-agency relationship is a relationship of trust. At least, it should be.