My Clients Can’t Afford Me
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 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 thinking about joining me for my Get More Clients Saying Yes! 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 that aren’t actually suitable for where she’s at in her business right now. 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 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 Get More Clients Saying Yes! course?
Yes, that’s right: “I know I need to do this, and I want to do it. But I simply can’t afford it”.
Something else I hear a lot is this: “I’m going to go away and earn the money so that I can join you next year” (this is usually from someone who has earned very little in the last 12-24 months).
So you 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 in the way that would make the biggest difference to her.
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 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.
If you specialise in healing long-term exhaustive health conditions your clients may not feel “ready” because they are too exhausted to make the decision and engage in the work.
And then of course there’s the fear of change that people so often have – even of very positive change that they know they want.
Can you recognise something similar in your own business?
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 clients’ 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 heart-centred business owners 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 regularly and confidently enrolling new clients 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 making that investment 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 the results that are possible for her.
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. But here are a few things you can start thinking about now:
First, identify your client’s most common concerns. The best way to discover this is to have lots of sales conversations or conduct interviews or research calls with 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 that help guide the client to see the various options before her more clearly.
- Building it into your “solution” when you make your 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 Alice could tell the story of a previous client who felt she didn’t have time to work with her but within a month was consistently finishing work in time to pick the kids up from school every day.
- 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’s also a “No” to making an important and lasting change, or to achieving a vision, or to breaking free from struggle and frustration. And part of your job is to make sure the client sees that clearly.
If this resonates with you, and like me, you find that the very problem you solve is often the reason your client says no to working with you then I’d love to hear from you – please share in the comments below.
And if you’d like a peek at how I help business owners like you help clients to say ‘Yes’ rather than ‘No’ then sign up to my free ‘7 Steps to Yes’ video series here.
With Love & Gratitude,
Yes ! this is what I fear the most, that the clients I want to help the most will not be able to pay for my services : but reading this gives clarity, and more energy to do what I am planning to today, which is work on my customer persona 🙂 Thanks Catherine
This is amazing to read, we’re so pleased that this has inspired you to move forward with fresh confidence, good luck and keep us connected on your success!x
I signed on to the course precisely because I won’t be able to afford it for much longer if I wait!
Fantastic words Catherine. And I know it works because I have leaned so much from being sort of your on line course. Catherine just gets customers / clients. But she isn’t pushy or salesy. She has a gentle, warm personality but really an endless pit full of knowledge.
Thank you Catherine you are awesome.
Thank you Wendy – it is so important we don’t just give up on our clients but instead work that bit harder to prove that we really can make the difference – and there is a fine line between doing that and being pushy – but one we all have to work to get right, for the sake of the people we are in business to help.
Thanks for the email/blog Catherine, very helpful and food for thought as always!
Happy New Year to you
Brilliant. Yes this really resonates with me and it definitely comes from the heart.
Yes Catherine it really does resonate and I would love to work with you but with all that has happened recently I just do not have the resources to begin! I am that person who keeps saying – next year!
Ah Liz, so you are exactly the person I’m talking about! It’s that catch-22 sometimes of knowing you need to invest to get to the next level. Sometimes it requires a deep breath and a huge leap of faith to make this sort of change. Other times it’s just too risky. And it depends on so many factors. So glad it resonates. And yes, I would love to work with you further – even if it’s next year 🙂