How to deal with 'I can't afford it' on a discovery call
Updated: 6 days ago
Yup, your own money story might be sabotaging sales calls.
You know, when you’re on that discovery call, and your prospective client asks, ‘so how much is it?’
(They say it tentatively because we’re not supposed to speak about money.)
You tell them your price and then hold your breath a bit. Why? Because your brain is so busy empathising with your client - and guess what? It's not working in your favour. Your brain is saying: ‘It’s too much for her. she’ll never be able to afford me, she’s already told me she’s struggling.’ And the classic: ‘What made me think she can afford my high ticket price? I should have just told her about the £15 workshop!’ Shut up, brain! Stop. It’s nice to be nice, but your brain might be wrong. Has your brain been wrong before? Okay then. I’m going to invite you to think about this conversation in a different way, and to go a bit deeper and get creative. Ready? Your customer isn’t you.
They didn’t grow up with you in your house. They're not married to your spouse. They haven't had the same jobs as you. Their parents have different opinions and phrases about money. It may not feel like it but let's be clear. Your money rules are not facts. Your potential customer feels differently about money to you, they feel differently about what they spend their money on, and here's the thing: The person you’re speaking to may have a worse money mindset than you do (you’ve done work on yours so she probably does!). That’s why I suggest that the point at which someone says ‘I can’t afford it’, isn’t the end of the conversation. I’m going to invite you to do ‘the money bit’ in a different way, and to start using this immediately.
Here's what I suggest.
What we naturally start out doing on discovery calls is trying to put ourselves in the position of the person we’re speaking to and make assumptions about what they can’t afford. They're nice assumptions. We’re being nice. It feels nice to be nice.
To put yourself in someone else’s shoes is something we learn early on as a social skill and it's great to empathise when you work with people. If you’re a coach or you’re in the 'helping' industry, empathy is your standard. You’re being considerate, sympathetic, walking a mile in your customer’s fearful, pre-sign up boots. 'She must be afraid of the cost', you tell yourself. Because you know how she feels - everyone feels the way you do about spending on things that aren’t absolutely necessary, don’t they? A bit vomity? 🤢🤮 Yes? Well, no. Here’s where sometimes your brain is wrong. By believing as though you can easily put yourself in your client's position, you’re projecting what you feel about money onto them, because you can’t help it. And you’re not giving them a chance to tell you what’s actually going on.
The moment she says she can’t afford it, we withdraw. 'Of course, I knew she would say no', we think, with a slap to our own forehead. 🤦♀️ 'How stupid of me to think otherwise.' Thanks, inner critic! 🙄 You might do one of three things next. Justify the cost, walk away or discount. Because you need to fix it. The price is too high so you fix it with a discount, or you run away from the discomfort – ‘you know where I am, let me know if you need me in future…yada yada’. Or you feel defensive. Pause and think about it before you do any of these three things next time. ‘I can’t afford it,’ she says. This is a phrase we use when we feel triggered by money. It can be true, or it could be something we use when we want to run away, to get the hell off that zoom. Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes it just means you feel fearful about the idea of spending that money. Consider how the client feels – because here’s where you get to really step into her shoes. She’s feeling all the feels because you just threw a number at her that’s higher than she was expecting. It doesn’t mean she can’t afford it necessarily, but it does mean she’s triggered. She has a money story the same as you (but hers is different, remember?) Do this. Stay with her – she needs to talk it through, and she might as well do it with you, while you’re there to ask questions about your service. Keep talking after the 'I can't afford you' statement and you might be surprised. And finally...'Sales' is not a secret. And you still get to be lovely, empathetic and understanding. How nice is that? You already know how to be a lovely, helpful, empathetic, non-slimy person. (Yay you!) But given our own money story, it’s no surprise that we feel backed into a corner when we have to talk about our own prices. The moment we do, we forget what’s important, and our number one priority – the customer and how she feels. We make it about us and our own money stuff. And we run away from the customer and from the sale.
Marie x PS - Download my free guide to get in the right mindset so you can happily raise your worth - 3 Steps to Confidently Raising your Prices
PPS - And, if you think your money beliefs are holding you back and you're ready to uncover and release them for yourself, book a free 30 Minute Breakthrough Chat with me.