How often you have heard this from your prospects: “I can’t afford it.”
It’s happened more times than you can count, right?
And it hurts, because it leaves you feeling completely powerless.
You see this amazing person whose life you can change forever, and she just said that she doesn’t have the funds to hire you.
You want so badly to help her, but she just said it’s impossible and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Now, what if I told you she was lying to you?
Today, I’m sharing the cold, hard truth:
If your prospects are saying those four dreaded words, they’re often lying to you (even if they don’t mean to).
But there’s good news…
When you know this is happening (and exactly what to do about it), instead of your bank account bottoming out, it balloons. Instead of trust being destroyed, it’s built. And relationships blossom.
Once you know what to look for, this lie is pretty easy to spot, which means you have the power to turn these potentially destructive situations into wildly positive and prosperous ones.Click to TweetWhen your prospect says, “I can’t afford it” use these magic words from @jennyshih and @kendrickshope
We’ve all done it…
I know the topic of money can get messy, so let’s get out of your business and your clients’ bank accounts for just a second.
Instead, let’s focus on you:
Can you think of a time when you thought, “I totally want that [insert coveted object or experience, like a gorgeous purse or Hamilton tickets], but I can’t afford it”?
And then… maybe one hour, one day, or one week later, you splurge on that coveted thing.
Here’s the thing:
When you said, “I can’t afford it,” you totally believed it!
But the truth is, you had the funds available to you—whether as space on your credit card or money earmarked for savings—or you found a way to get the funds you needed (by squirreling away money, getting a part-time job, or selling old baby toys).
So what changed between when you said those words and when you made the purchase?
You rationalized, justified, and found a way to get what you really wanted.
Now, I’m not judging you. This is a pretty common human behavior, one you and and your clients are doing all the time.
I see it in my clients all the time. Smart women will say they can’t afford my program, then go sign up!
Their desire is so strong that they find a way to make it work.
And if they truly can’t afford it because they don’t have the funds, they wouldn’t reach out in the first place or they would suggest creative ways to pay you back.
So the question is, for the clients who can afford you but tell you they can’t, how do you help them make the shift from thinking they can’t afford it to realizing they totally can?
What people really mean when they say “I can’t afford it”
First, you need to know what people really mean when they say, “I can’t afford it.”
Here are some of the options for what they really mean:
Option 1: I don’t believe in your product or service.
If your prospect read your Work with Me page and/or chatted with you on a consultation call, and they’re still saying “I can’t afford it,” then it likely means they don’t believe your product or service will deliver on what you say it will.
It’s possible they’re not the right fit for the offer (which is fine!) but more often, the language you’re using isn’t connecting with their deepest challenges and goals.
Option 2: I don’t believe in you.
Again, if your prospect read your Work with Me page and/or chatted with you on a consult, it’s possible that you have the perfect offer for them, but for some reason, they aren’t connected with you.
There could be something you’re unintentionally projecting energetically. Maybe you’re being too pushy, coming across as desperate for clients, feeling insecure or uncertain of your offer (or of yourself), or maybe—like above—you’re failing to connect with the same language your prospects are using. All of these things will cause them to run in the opposite direction.
Option 3: I don’t believe in myself.
Think about it for yourself: How many times have you gotten in your own way when trying to make a big decision?
It happens to all of us, including your prospects. Your prospects might worry that they don’t have what it takes to stick with your program, or make the money back from their investment, or have the guts to put themselves out there.
Now you can clearly see how it’s way easier to just say, “I can’t afford it.”
On the one hand, it’s a culturally acceptable saying. It’s an easy out. And it’s something that almost no one will challenge when you say it.
When a friend, a sibling, or a client says to you, “I can’t afford it,” you’ll never never say, “I don’t believe you. Show me your bank statements, your credit card bill, and your monthly budget.”
Not only that, but people often don’t even realize that those three things are what they’re thinking!
That’s why it’s so easy to just say, “I can’t afford it.” It allows them to end the conversation without putting themselves in an awkward position.
This is also how your clients are using these words. Except…
It doesn’t have to end their conversation with you… if you know these super secret and powerful sales tricks, which I learned thanks to my dear friend and sales genius, Kendrick Shope.Click to TweetHere’s what your prospects REALLY mean when they say they can’t afford to hire you.
What to do when you hear “I can’t afford it”
Now that you know what’s going on inside your prospects heads when they say, “I can’t afford it,” what do you do about it?
The next thing you need to do is acknowledge what they said with empathy.
Again, as my smart sales friend Kendrick Shope taught me, use the exact words, “Thank you for sharing. I understand…”
This isn’t about acting empathetic to get the sale.
Use genuine empathy. I’m confident you can relate to your prospect’s situation. You might say something like, “I understand what it’s like to see an investment you want and not have the funds to invest.”
Another reason people say, “I can’t afford it” is because they’re afraid of being sold hard. When you thank them for sharing and express genuine empathy, you’re instantly building trust (instead of eroding it by trying to sell harder).
Once you’ve said those magic words, get curious. Ask questions to see if you can discover the real reason your prospect is saying these words.
Some questions you might ask include:
What would need to be included in the program to make this a no-brainer investment for you?
If money were no object, would this be a service you’d invest in (or would I be the kind of coach you’d want to work with)?
Digging deeper and figuring out what’s really going on with your prospects is also really helpful for when you need to write follow-up emails to close sales after the consult is over.
Use this idea on yourself
Before we wrap up this post, there’s one more thing I want to mention, because this is a powerful tool for your own personal growth as a business owner:
Use this on yourself.
Seriously, next time you find yourself thinking, “I can’t afford it,” whether it’s about a business investment or a vacation or braces for your kid, see what your real objection is.
Do you believe in the product or service?
Do you believe in the person you’re buying from?
Do you believe in yourself?
Where is the gap, and what needs to happen—if anything—to close that gap?
Do you have questions you need to get answers to?
Do you have some self-accountability that needs shoring up?
Get honest with yourself, and then you’ll make a much better decision, whatever that happens to be.
You tell me
I’m really curious…
How often do you hear “I can’t afford it” from prospects? What do you think their real objection is?
How often have you used that excuse in your own life or business? And what did you really mean when you used it?
How do you plan to use your new insights in your own business?
Fill me in below!