This is a story about me and my business. But it is also a story about you.
You see, my clients can’t afford to work with me.
Let me tell you more:
There is a particular type of person who I feel most strongly called to work with and with whom I do my best work and get the best results.
Typically, this “ideal client” is female and she’s struggling with her business. She’s gone into business because she’s passionate about what she does and she has unique talents – but when it comes to getting clients she takes a hit and miss approach, doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, and often gives up on a strategy too quickly because she doesn’t see instant results.
As a result she might have been in business for a whole year or more (sometimes even 4 or 5!) without getting many clients or seeing any significant income.
Can you imagine what this has done to her sense of confidence and self-esteem? How much of a fraud she feels like when people ask her how the business is going? Not to mention the effect on her financial life.
And very often she doesn’t seek the right sort of help in her business until it’s really truly crunch time.
So by the time she’s entering a conversation with me about joining me for Business from the Heart – my 12 month business mentoring programme – she’s often got to the bottom of her savings pot, or has racked up credit card debt on a whole library of online trainings. Or has a partner who tolerates her “hobby” but doesn’t take it seriously enough to let her spend any of the family money on the sort of serious business education she really needs if she’s going to make the difference that her soul is yearning for.
So what do you think I’ve heard a lot from people considering joining my mentoring just recently?
Yes, that’s right “I know I need to do this, and I want to do it. But I simply can’t afford it”.
I also hear this a lot:
“I’m going to go away and earn the money so that I can join you next year”. (usually from someone who has earned very little in the last 12-24 months).
So see, the very nature of my “ideal client”, the very fact that she is someone I am so uniquely skilled and talented to be able to help, means that very often she believes that she can’t afford to work with me at the level that would make the biggest difference.
And that’s why I said this isn’t about me and my business – it’s about you too.
Because it’s quite possibly exactly the same for you.
The very reason that someone most needs your help is the very same reason they give for not working with you.
So if you are an abundance coach who helps people shift their mindset around money, then your clients will say they can’t afford to pay you.
If like my client Alice, you specialise in helping busy business owners automate and systematise areas of their business so they get their time back, your clients will say no because they haven’t got the time to work with you.
Or if like another client Linda you specialise in helping people overcome anxiety, the very need to make a decision in itself makes their anxiety worse and so they say no.
I could go on…
So what should we do? Should we pack it all in? Throw in the towel?
Go off and find something easier to sell? Choose our market strategically based purely on their ability to pay?
Well, yes, we could do that, they would be very valid solutions.
But in my case the answer is “No way!”
You see, working with these women is my calling, it’s my life’s work. And I know I’m uniquely gifted at it. Not only that but seeing a business owner going from struggle to thriving is what gives me a greater sense of fulfilment and satisfaction than just about anything else in my life.
So if you feel that passionately about your clients too then no, you don’t quit.
You step up.
You learn to get good. And I mean REALLY good. At sales conversations. Not just skimming the surface but Mastery.
You get to understand your clients and their most common concerns about working with you. Until you know them inside out.
You learn how to address those concerns, fully and openly, in every single conversation.
And you don’t shy away from difficult conversations.
I have difficult conversations with potential clients all the time. I ask them in depth questions about their personal financial situation – the sort of stuff we Brits don’t tend to share easily! But I have to ask those questions.
Because sometimes when a client has no money at all and is going backwards fast, the very best thing she can do for herself and her family is take a deep breath and invest in her future. Whether that’s her future business, financial wellbeing, health or family.
And sometimes investing in her business would put her family into genuine financial difficulty and cause so much anxiety and panic that she won’t be able to think clearly and take the inspired and courageous actions required to get her business working.
So I have to have these conversations because if I don’t I can’t congruently help the client through to a clear decision about the right way forward for them.
And you need to learn how to address these concerns too.
I cover addressing concerns in more detail in my “Get More Clients Saying Yes!” course for authentic sales conversations. But here are a few things you can start thinking about now:
- First you need to know what your clients most common concerns are. The best way to discover this is to have lots of sales conversations or interview people in your client market.
- When you’ve got a good handle on these common concerns you need to find ways to address them during your sales conversation. This might be:
- Having a set of pre-prepared questions that will help you get a better understanding of the situation and help the client to see the various options before her more clearly.
- Building it in to your “solution” when you make offer. So to use Linda with the anxious clients as an example, she might let the client know that their anxiety will make the decision difficult for them. She can then reassure them that this is normal and that by saying yes to the work this can become the last time making a decision is fraught with anxiety.
- Include a “social proof” story. So for example a personal trainer could tell the story of a previous client who felt she didn’t have time to work with her but soon had more energy and therefore more time to get things done.
- Be prepared to coach your client around the issue. And don’t be afraid to do this – this is how you fully serve your client.
Because a “No” isn’t only saying no to investing money in your service. It is also a “No” to change, or to having the specific problem resolved. And part of your job is to make sure the client sees that clearly.
I’d love to know if this resonates. Do you, like me, find that the very problem you solve is often the reason your client says no? I’d love to know – please let me know by commenting below.
Wishing you a very happy, joyful and fulfilling 2016, and may all of your business dreams come true.
With love and warmth,
P.S. There are still a couple of places available on the Business from the Heart mentoring programme for 2016 – we kick off on 16th January with a Vision & Planning weekend after which the doors are closed. If you think that 2016 might be “your year” for getting your business stable and sustainable then contact us for more information and an application form.