Should You Drop Your Prices for Clients Who Can't Afford You?
Tuesday November 28, 2017
In one of the business groups I frequent, I recently saw an interesting question: "Do you believe in meeting a customer where they're at financially, or charging full price and sifting through the nose to get that customer?"
Many business owners are faced with this question, and there are several valid answers.
Which answer is right for you will depend on the client and the scenario, and it's important that you choose one that will create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Today, I'm going to share some principles and strategies for determining whether or not you should enroll the client, and if you decide you should, for turning "I can't afford it" into "yes".
Principle 1: Start by determining if it's a good fit.
Regardless of what price you sell at, one principle holds true: you shouldn't try to enroll a client who isn't a good fit.
If you don't sincerely believe that you or your products can help them, and that that help is more important to them than the money they'll spend on you, then trying to get them to buy is a disservice to them, and will only make you look and feel greedy and disingenuous.
Remember, you aren't obligated to sell to every prospect you meet.
Don't pressure yourself to sell to someone who doesn't need you, or who doesn't want the outcome you offer badly enough. That will just make you seem pushy, and even if you succeed, you'll be stuck with an uninterested and uncooperative client who probably won't get very good results.
In your sales conversations, your first move should NOT be to talk about your product.
Instead, ask questions and learn about the pain they're experiencing, their needs and desires, and the obstacles that are keeping them in pain and holding them back from their goals.
Find out if they have the problem you solve, and if overcoming it is important to them.
Discover how badly they want the outcome you offer, and make them aware of the side effects of not having it. For example, if they're having trouble in their relationships, that could affect their self-esteem, business and health as well.
Once they're aware of how big their problem is, how much it's affecting their life, and how great things will be once that problem is solved and they have the outcome you offer, they'll be more inclined to find ways to afford your product rather than simply saying "no".
Principle 2: "I can't afford it" is sometimes a cover for other problems.
Sometimes, when people say "I can't afford it", they're actually using that as an excuse not to buy something they don't want. Their real reasons for not buying could be:
1. They see the value in your product, but they don't care enough about the problems and goals related to it to prioritize it right now. They might have enough money, but they'd rather spend it on other things.
2. They care about the problem, but you haven't fully communicated the fact that your product is the right solution to it.
3. They don't think they have the time or energy to implement your solution.
If money isn't the real issue, but you spend the rest of the conversation trying to help them find a way around their nonexistent money problem, it will just cause wasted time and frustration on the parts of everyone involved.
Because of this, before you start to explore the issue of whether or not they can or should afford your offer, it's important to ask them this question:
"If you COULD afford it, is this something you'd want to do?"
If the answer is "yes", then money is probably the issue, though it may not be the only one.
At that point, you can start to explore what their problem is costing them compared to what they'd pay you, what assets they have available to them, and whether and how soon their investment in your services would pay for itself.
And if the answer is "no", reply, "Thanks for your honesty. To make sure I understand you right: is this because (the problem you solve) isn't a priority to you right now, or because you don't feel that my offer is the right solution to it?"
This will open a dialogue in which you can explore what the real obstacle is, and find out whether you can overcome it or it simply isn't a good fit.
Principle 3: Stick to your prices, but give them options.
Even if someone needs you but sincerely can't afford you, dropping your price can actually hurt more than it helps, for several reasons:
1. It can make it look like your first offer was inflated and you were trying to rip them off.
2. People often don't value what they get for free or cheap. If they pay little or nothing for your product or program, they're less likely to implement it and get the results they desire, which makes you look bad because you didn't create the changes you promised.
3. If the product requires an expenditure of time on your part, you can start to feel resentful because you aren't getting paid enough for the work you do.
4. You're validating their belief that they don't have the power to afford the things they desire. This can be very disempowering for your client. Instead of saying "you can't afford it", explore "HOW can you afford it?"
If someone sincerely wants and needs to work with you, but they're in a financially tight spot and can't afford your best offer, it helps to have some cheaper options that will enable them to start making progress while they're building up their finances.
These can include:
1. Smaller products that don't require time or effort from you.
For example, I do sales funnel strategy and done-for-you educational marketing pieces like emails, blog posts, website pages, etc., but I also have a free downloadable questionnaire to help people figure out what items they need for their sales funnel, and a $19.99 ebook that walks them through the process of figuring out what to say in their marketing materials.
If people want me to spend my personal time on something, they need to pay full price, but items that don't require extra work on my part can be sold for less money.
2. Using a payment plan.
If your offer is worth $5,000 up front, you could let them do 5 or 6 payments of $1,000.
Some people offer a lower price to those who pay in full and up front compared to the payment plan; whether you do that is up to you.
Sometimes, it just isn't the right time.
If someone is in the middle of a financially tight situation, but they would normally be able to afford your full price, ask when would be a better time to follow up.
Put the appointment in your calendar. If possible, book a follow-up call and get them to put it in their calendar as well, rather than simply making a note to send an email that they may or may not read.
People often aren't as poor as they think.
When you're dealing with people who say they can't afford it, remember that people can often afford more than they think they can, and some products pay for themselves.
You might know of ways they could afford your product that they themselves haven't thought of.
If you know of assets or money sources people often have but don't think of, you can recommend those sources to your potential clients in case they DO have a way to afford your offer, but don't realize it yet.
Want to make your potential clients eager to buy your product?
Even if people can afford your product, they won't buy it if they don't realize how badly they want it.
If you frequently hear things like "I can't afford it", "I'm not interested" or "not right now", even when you KNOW that the person you're talking to needs your product, it's time to change the way you talk about your offer.
Fortunately, I have a simple, easy way to do that.
I've coauthored an ebook, titled Get More Referrals and Make More Sales: How to Get Your Referral Marketing Done For You, and Turn More Leads Into Paying Clients.
In chapter 3, I walk you through the process of creating product descriptions that make people eager to buy your product, step by easy step.
This book will also reveal how to get other people to help you sell your product, so you get a huge boost in credibility and sales.
Click the button below to get the details and grab your copy.