Today I’m answering one of your listener questions, and this question comes from the fabulous Justine.

We’re going to be talking about what to do when people say they cannot afford to work with you, and addressing the value proposition of your work.

Super juicy topic, amazing quality question.

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Let’s dive on in.

Today’s listener question comes from the fabulous Justine Dean. You can find out more about her at or on Instagram at @justinedeanofficial.

Justine writes in and says:

“Tash, what do I do when people say they love what I’m writing and they need what I do, but they cannot afford it? I’m guessing my value proposition isn’t clear?”

This is such a great conversation for us to have, and thank you so much for writing in with your question.

Quick note: If you also have a question you’d like me to answer here on the podcast (and I’ll give you a shout out as well), then just go to, pop your question in there and all of your details, and I’ll answer your question on a future episode.

For Justine’s question, there are two elements that we need to address here:

1. What to do when people say they cannot afford to work with you
2. Looking at your value proposition

I’ve got three areas that I want us to explore in answering this question.

1. Effectively qualifying and confirming through your sales process the need your potential clients have

If you are having a conversation with someone, and they love what you’re writing about and your work, but then you start talking about how you can work together and they say that it sounds great but they can’t afford it, first of all, always respect that ‘no’ when you get it, but also make sure that you don’t pitch until you know it is a good fit and you have clarified the value proposition.

This is where qualifying and confirmation come into play.

In the sales call process, I’m not starting the process by straight-up saying how much it is to work with me. I am starting the conversation by clarifying and qualifying: Is this what the person actually wants?

can't afford to work with you questions business start-up

Asking qualifying questions can help determine whether someone can or can’t afford to work with you.

In the qualifying process, I ask lots of questions about:

  • What the person is looking for
  • What it would mean to them to be able to work through this
  • If they’ve tried anything in the past
  • What it was
  • Why it didn’t work

Then before I go into any pitching, I use a confirmation statement.

I will say something like ‘It sounds to me that if we could do …, then that would address …’, or ‘What I’m hearing you say is if we could do …, then you would feel …. Have I got that right?’

For you Justine (Justine is a relationship specialist), you might say ‘It sounds to me like if we could address all of the baggage and the stuff that you feel like you’re carrying, then you would feel more confident to step back into the dating circles. Have a got that right?’ Just get really clear and specific about what they are needing.

By doing that qualifying – asking the questions and finding out what the priority is for the person individually – and then making that statement of confirmation and making sure that you’re both on the same page before you prescribe what you think the solution would be for them and whether that is working with you or not, you’ve already confirmed the value proposition.

2. Create links in your value proposition to your ideal client’s current priorities

The value proposition isn’t just more stuff. So many people think that they improve the value of their products and services by adding more sessions, more bonuses, extra access to them, unlimited voxer support or unlimited email support in order to try and improve the value proposition.

But ultimately, the value of your work isn’t just the process, it’s also linked to the outcome.

What we want to make sure we’re doing is confirming for your audience the value proposition of the before and after that you are facilitating.

The best way to confirm that, especially for VIP work, is in a one-to-one conversation.

This brings me to the second part of what I want to talk about, and that is really looking at your sales process and whether it’s giving you the insight and information that you need to really scale and grow your business.

We can work on our messaging, value proposition, how we sell our products and services, our packaging on a broadcast level, (ie. putting it up on social media, talking about it consistently, sharing it with your audience, posting offers into groups or on your social media page, you can post great content that has a call to action to talk to you about whether you should be working together or not), but at the end of the day, if you’re getting mostly crickets and people commenting saying that it sounds really great but they can’t afford it right now, then you’re not actually confirming or qualifying:

  • Are these people actually my ideal clients?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of the value proposition, and have I connected it for them?
  • How do I adjust my messaging and my audience growth as I move forward?

One of the things that I’d really recommend for anyone who’s experiencing lots of comments saying that it’s great but they can’t afford it, is to actually set a goal for yourself to have as many conversations with people who might be your ideal clients as possible.

The more of those conversations you have, the more opportunity you have to qualify, practise that confirmation statement and really confirm and understand how your ideal client expresses the value that they are looking for in terms of before and after.

Then you can effectively translate that back into your broadcast marketing.

One of the things I want to say here is that even for myself, as I am scaling beyond the half-a-million-dollar mark in my business and I’m now having six-figure launches of my group program, I still have lots of sales conversations.

The reason why I continue to do that is not just because it massively improves my conversion rates, but also because it gives me really beautiful and powerful insight into the value proposition that my audience is looking for, and how to articulate and express that from multiple angles.

Even in the last launch of the Take Off program (which was not quite six figures – it was $99,000), out of the 45 people who joined the Take Off program, I had email conversations with about 20 people, and I had 15-minute chats with about 6 or 7 of those people as well.

I love having these conversations with people.

I don’t see that as a chore because I have to put more work into making that sale, I see that as an opportunity to find out what didn’t hit the nail on the head with my value proposition for this person. Of course I want to make the sale if it’s the right fit for this person, but I love to talk with them and find out what’s missing in my messaging and what their concern is.

When you’re working on your value proposition, you really want to make sure that you’re having as many conversations as possible. It is through the conversation that you really clarify that value proposition – not through throwing spaghetti at the wall with messaging.

The other thing I want to say with value proposition is, as I said before, it’s not about having more things in order to improve the value proposition, it’s actually to improve the priority level that this person places on that outcome. The way that you do that is not by telling someone that this should be a bigger priority for them.

A great example of that would be if you worked in the health and wellbeing space.

I see this all the time. I understand you’re really passionate about health and wellbeing, but when you just keep yelling at the internet that people should prioritise their health and wellbeing, you’re not actually connecting with your ideal client where they are, and you’re also not connecting to their priorities.

If they put their health and wellbeing at the bottom of the priority list all of the time, it’s going to be really difficult for you to shift those priorities simply through broadcast marketing and content.

The way that you help people to really prioritise the work that you have to offer is to link it to what their priority is.

For you Justine, if getting back into the dating space and having a great experience of dating could link to your ideal client’s current priority (which might be to have a really enjoyable lifestyle and travel a lot), then you’re going to help improve the value proposition of that outcome that you are offering to people.

The other thing I love is for a lot of people when they’re going through relationship work or getting themselves ready for dating or getting back into the dating space, it’s a real journey of self-development and growth, and often, it’s an opportunity to practise manifesting what they want in every area of their life.

I know that there are relationship coaches out there who link:

  • Having a great relationship with meeting your health goals and manifesting your ideal health goals
  • Manifesting your ideal partner with manifesting great self-awareness
  • Manifesting your ideal partner with manifesting money in your business

By linking those things together and actually showing and demonstrating that by addressing one certain thing, you’re also going to address this other thing, it actually improves the priority and therefore value proposition of working with you.

The caveat on this is that for different people that priority is going to be different.

For different people, the link between the work that they do in terms of dating and relationships and another area of their life is going to be quite different.

That is why I absolutely adore having conversations with people.

When I’m talking to people about making more money in their business, I don’t just talk about making more money in their business for the sake of making more money in their business.

I ask people:

Why do you want to make more money in your business?
What would this mean to you?
How would that impact other areas of your life?
What’s your priority other than making money?

If someone’s talking about the fact that they could have more time with their children and they can have that more spacious lifestyle, I’m always sure to talk about that in my confirmation statement. I would say something like, ‘It sounds to me, if we could get you hitting that $10,000 a month mark without having to do more than the 25 hours a week that you’re doing right now, then that’s not just going to help with the growth of your business, it’s also going to allow you to have the lifestyle and the time with your children that’s really important to you. Am I getting this right?’

That’s really where value proposition comes into its own – linking it with the priorities that your ideal client has.

Whilst we can make sweeping generalisations and make statements about what we think is going to be the priority for our ideal clients, that is most powerfully linked in a one-to-one sales conversation.

There are definitely lots of conversations to practise when it comes to value proposition.

3. Take a shiny detox

This is a really out there point, but I think this is a really important one when it comes to value proposition and particularly having lots of people following you saying how lovely your work sounds but it’s not a priority for them right now.

I know for a lot of people when it comes to building and growing their business on broadcast channels, and wanting to get those sales, we can start to feel like to improve our value proposition, we need to look more expensive, valuable and professional.

This can actually veer you in the wrong direction when it comes to getting that connection and conversion in your business.

If you are someone who feels like they always have to use the same six perfect pictures in their posts on social media, and you’re constantly doing pictures with words over them, and it always looks like you’re writing ads, then that can actually be part of the disconnect for people (and I don’t necessarily think this is you, Justine, but I just wanted to cover on this for everyone reading).

If you look all polished and professional and perfect, then it can imply to people (consciously or subconsciously), that in order for them to get the same outcome, they also need to be perfect, professional and polished.

I know for you, Justine, that’s not what your core message is actually about. Your core message is about that beautiful journey of self-exploration and letting go of some of that baggage whilst still being human in the process.

What we need to do is give our audience permission to be real.

We need to give our audience permission to be human. We need to give our audience the confidence to believe that even if they don’t do it correctly, they’ll still move closer to their goal. Even if they don’t show up perfectly, they’re still able to access the transformation that you facilitate.

In our marketing and messaging, and particularly when we’re trying to encourage people to go over that tipping point of having a conversation with us and investing in getting this outcome, we need to make people feel like they can get that outcome and that it’s totally accessible to them. They don’t need to have some kind of magic formula or show up perfectly or be hyper-professional or any of those things in order to be able to get that outcome.

A little exercise that I would recommend that you do is:

Go and look at your Facebook page.

I want you to go and look at the last 20 posts on your Facebook page, and I want you to assess how many of those posts invite people to connect and have a conversation with you in an unthreatening, no strings attached kind of way.

It’s all well and good to say ‘obligation-free chat’, but that sounds so sales, that people gloss over the fact that it’s obligation-free.

I want you to start looking at when you’re doing your call to action, is it really conversational, connecting and unintimidating? Or is it really formal?

Have a look at that call to action. I want to know how many times you’ve had a call to action, and how conversational that call to action is on your Facebook page.

I also want you to have a look and see, when you look at this from an objective perspective, does your Facebook page look polished and manicured, and like you’ve got a series of ads (ads for your free content, ad-style tips, ads for your products and services, ads for your freebie)? Does it look like a sequence of ads? Or does it look like an engaging conversational, let’s-all-be-human kind of space?

If you can improve that sense of connection, engagement and that feeling of being allowed to make mistakes on your social media platforms – not just your page but also when you’re posting in communities – then you’re going to make that resistance point to jumping in and working with you a little easier for people to overcome, because they don’t have a perception that they need to have their ducks in a row before they even come to work with you.

They don’t need to clean before the cleaner.

They don’t need to do the groundwork or do all the practise work before they’re allowed to have this outcome and work with you as well.

Hopefully that’s been really helpful for you Justine and everyone else reading along as well.

I would love to know what you think about qualifying in the sales process, dealing with people saying that they can’t afford it, and also that value proposition and dialling up that value proposition for your audience.

Come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 237 and let’s continue the conversation over there.

I also want to encourage you if you have a question for me, go on over to, pop your details in there and ask me your question.

I would love to answer your question here on the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.

Thank you so much for joining me today.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist