In today’s episode, I’m going to answer the question, “What should you do if someone that you’re speaking to in a sales conversation says that it sounds great but they can’t afford it?”

Oooooh, it’s a juicy episode.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Nail Your Niche free training:

Let’s dive in!

First and foremost, I just want to say that this question and this podcast episode stems from a conversation that I had with someone many months ago in the Take Off program.

She came along to our live group call and said that she was having a sales conversation with someone and they said that it sounds amazing but that they couldn’t afford it.

The person who raised this felt like she should have said, “What’s it costing you to NOT invest?”

No, no, no, no, no. We do not need to say that at all.

In this episode, I want to make sure that I explain what I would do if someone said they can’t afford it, as well as how to never ever make yourself or someone else feel gross. You never need to invalidate someone’s statement that they can’t afford to work with you.

Here are my four key steps:

1. Validate and congratulate

How many times do we get gaslit when we say things like ‘I can’t afford that’?

For me, if someone says to me that they can’t afford what I’m offering right now, then I will always start by congratulating them on making a strong financial decision.

If it doesn’t work for them then I’m not going to encourage them to put themself in financial jeopardy just to invest in my program.

What that does is it validates peoples’ feelings.

I want to contribute to helping women trust themselves more and more, and I also want to contribute to the groundswell of coaches, mentors and online business owners who refuse to make people feel bad because they can’t afford something or they’ve decided not to prioritise that investment in something.

I think it’s absolutely abhorrent to make someone feel bad or in any way invalidate their statement.

That is always step number one. I will always validate that statement.

2. If it’s appropriate, ask if a payment plan would help

Sometimes people don’t realise that there’s an opportunity to pay it in monthly instalments.

If there’s something that I have a payment plan for, and I’m not sure whether they know about the payment plan, I will ask them if they think that a payment plan would help.

Don’t just say that you have a payment plan, because that also then puts the person in the space where they have to say, once again, that that doesn’t work for them.

Do it from the space of asking.

Say something like, ‘I absolutely understand, and congratulations for looking after your money and making a sound financial decision. Just before we move on, do you think a payment plan might help?’

If they say no then that’s totally fine, we can move on from there.

3. Respect them

It’s not really a step, it’s more a feeling… respect them. 100% respect to them.

I think this is something that we tend to see a lot of shaming about on social media.

People come into groups (especially in paid program groups where they feel like it’s safe for them to behave this way) and will complain that they had someone sign up for their sales conversation before giving them the age-old excuse that they can’t afford it.

You’re completely disrespecting that person as a follow-up to a conversation that you’ve had with them.

It’s a huge red flag for me if I see anyone online shaming people for not having enough money.

I hate that sense of entitlement and that sense of elitism around making the decision to invest in something.

People have their own journey that they’re going on.

You wouldn’t do it to their face, and you wouldn’t do it if their card declined at a supermarket. Why is it okay to go and do it online about your products and services?

I just don’t think it’s okay, so I wanted to include that one as a step.

4. Direct them to free resources and book in a follow-up (if appropriate)

I can't afford it free download business start-up

Provide free resources for potential clients that can’t afford to work with you (yet!).

For example, if someone enquires about joining my Take Off program but they can’t afford to work in the Take Off program yet, I will give them the links to my free trainings that will help them to at least get started.

That can be a really great way for you to ensure that you’re still feeling like you’re supporting people who might not be ready to invest yet or might not have the cash to invest yet.

It’s also a great list growth strategy, and it’s a great business growth strategy.

There are so many benefits to having a few free resources that people can go and access.

And more importantly: Free resources that are built to get people an outcome, not those dodgy free resources that are simply made to set people up to feel like they will not succeed unless they buy your paid thing.

I also recommend follow-up.

It might be that you offer to catch up with them in a couple of weeks.

That can sometimes be what I will do as well.

Especially with VIP clients, I will respect their decision, give them some free resources so that they can continue to move along, and I will refer them to someone else that they might like to work with.

I’m absolutely happy to refer them on to someone who might be more within their budget.

If appropriate, again, I will just seek permission to follow up with them in a few weeks’ time to see how they’re going.

Most people say yes. Others say no because they just don’t feel like it’s the right fit for them.

That’s totally okay as well.

5. If it’s a pattern, review your value proposition (bonus tip!)

If a few people here and there are saying to you that they can’t afford to invest, but most people are cool with it, then I wouldn’t suggest that there’s a problem.

But if more people are saying they can’t afford it then are not, then what I would be looking at is your value proposition in your business.

Your value proposition is the level of perceived value between where people are, and where you take them to, from the lens of your ideal client.

A value proposition is completely subjective for different people, but value proposition can be something that we look into and make sure that we are very clear on.

If you’re finding that there is a bit of a pattern here and more often than not people are saying that they cannot afford it, that is when I would be focusing on looking at your value proposition and seeing if there are any improvements that could be made.

They are my five tips/steps on what to do if someone says they can’t afford it.

1. Validate and congratulate

2. Where appropriate, ask if a payment plan will help

3. Respect them

4. Direct them to free resources and book in a follow-up (if appropriate)

5. If it’s a pattern, review your value proposition

There are a couple more things that I want to say you do NOT do if someone says they can’t afford it.

1. Do NOT decide you need a low-cost offer

For most people, that’s derailing your business.

Instead, just create some freebies.

Do not make it mean you need a low-cost offer. That is how a lot of people suck the cash flow out of their business.

If you’re having people say that they can’t afford to work with you, don’t decide that you immediately need a low-cost offer. Instead, look at the free resources that you could be creating that move people forward, and then also attract in the people who are ready to invest.

That’s number one.

If there’s an issue where it’s a pattern, you don’t have a pricing issue, you have a value proposition issue. That is what we need to be addressing.

2. Do NOT make it mean anything

It does not mean anything!

If someone says that they can’t afford it, it doesn’t mean that you:

  • Are mean
  • Have a pricing structure that’s wrong
  • Have magically created and manifested an audience who will never invest with you
  • Are never going to succeed
  • Are doing anything wrong in your business

Do not make it mean anything.

It is simply a matter of that person cannot prioritise their money to invest in that thing right now.

That’s it.

We do not need to give it any further meaning.

3. Do NOT un-niche

I see this happen so often where people have a few clients or potential clients who say that they can’t afford it, and so they decide they need to either change or broaden their niche because they feel like the niche that they’re attracting doesn’t want to invest the money.

That is not true.

The niche that you have does not understand the value proposition. That’s it.

Don’t use this as an opportunity to un-niche.

You want to make sure you keep your niche super narrow.

If you have a value proposition issue, sometimes it’s because your niche is not narrow enough, not that you need to broaden your niche.

That brings me to the free resource that I have for you today.

If you are struggling with value proposition, if you are seeing this pattern, if you would like to really nail that value proposition and get it working, my nail your niche training includes how to get your niche nice and specific, and then how to start expressing that as a value proposition and message.

If you’d like to grab that free training, gain instant access here: CLICK ME

As always, if you’ve had any lightbulb moments or follow-up questions as a result of this episode, come on over to the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, and share using #podcastaha and the episode number (274).

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

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist