They say “YES” then disappear
Today I’m addressing a very common complaint that I hear from small business owners: That their potential clients say, “Yes, I’m going to work with you,” or, “Yes, I’m going to buy your programme,” and then they disappear. They don’t book in, they don’t pay, you can’t get a hold of them, and you don’t hear from them again. And you are left feeling confused because you don’t know what went wrong.
Watch more in the video below or scroll down to read.
I have a really important messsage that I want you to take on board today…
A “yes” is not a “yes” until your client has paid… ever!
Really, I mean ever!
Somebody might say yes to you, but until there has been an exchange of money, it’s not really a yes, because they haven’t fully committed psychologically.
Because no matter how committed they might feel in the moment, there are lots of things that could happen to cause them to change their mind and become “uncommitted” in between speaking to you and actually paying.
I see this so often. Clients come to mentoring calls full of excitement, or they are celebrating and doing a “happy dance” in the Facebook group. “Yay! I’m so excited because I’ve just signed up a new client for my programme!” Now, much as I hate to throw cold water on a celebration, the first thing I ask is when I hear this is: “Have they paid you anything?”. Very often, the answer is, “No. They haven’t paid me anything, but they’re really excited for this reason or that reason”, or, “This is the [very good and convincing reason] they couldn’t pay me today.” I just think quietly to myself, “Okay. Maybe. Lets see.” And 9 times out of 10, it falls through.
I don’t want you to face this sort of disappointment, so I’ll say it again because it’s so important:
A client is not a client, and a yes is not a yes until there has been an exchange of money.
If you’re not convinced by this, I just want you to pause and reflect. Think about your own thinking and behaviour when you’re in any buying situation, whether you’re buying a product or a service.
Here’s why they disappear
In fact I’m sure that you’re probably a lot like me, and a lot like most people. In that, no matter how serious you think you are, and no matter how committed you might think you are to making a decision, until there has been an exchange of money, there’s always that bit of wiggle room.
The wiggle room comes into play, for example, when you’re completely sure about your decision and feeling excited, but then you mentioned it to a friend who says, “I worked with this other person on the very same thing and had amazing results. I think you should go work with her instead.”
Or you wake up the next morning and just a little bit of doubt has crept in. It feels like a lot of money to waste if it doesn’t work. So you decide to go online and Google what results other people have had with this particular type of service or programme, and you find information that causes you to doubt your decision.
Maybe you speak to your partner about it, and your partner says, “You don’t need help with that. You’re doing fine on your own, you know what you need to do. Anyway, I can help you with this.”
(This one is very common. I once had a full-blown row telephone row with a boyfriend for a full 60 minutes because I planned to join a mentoring programme and he thought I was wasting my money and should just be getting on with things on my own).
Or you might mention it to a colleague at work, and the colleague says, “I tried that once, and it was a complete waste of money. It just didn’t work at all for me.”
There are lots of different ways that the doubt and the questions can start creeping in. And of course, if you haven’t paid anything yet? Well, that’s your get-out. It doesn’t matter how committed you were yesterday, or that you told the person you were buying from that you’d pay them over the weekend. You know deep down that there is a get-out clause there because, actually, you haven’t paid anything yet. You can just walk away.
But once you’ve paid – You’re In!
However, things feel completely different once you’ve paid something. You know you’re in! The decision is made and psychologically you’ve made that commitment. (There’s also a principle at play around psychological consistency. You want to be consistent internally with your own actions so you are more likely to tell yourself it’s a good decision after you’ve paid).
Because of this you are a lot more likely to defend your decision both against other people’s well meaning advide and opinions, and also against your own internal doubt and criticism. Altogether, you’re just a lot more committed.
How to get the committed “Yes!”
As an example of this is from when I worked in the travel industry. We used to tailor-make these holidays for people that would be in the multiples of thousands of pounds. But all we asked the client for was a £75 per person deposit. Now, of course, a person who is spending £20,000 on a holiday can afford to lose a deposit of £75 per person, right? But we knew that once the deposit was paid, psychologically, they were committed. They were committed to going on the holiday, and they were committed to booking that holiday with us, rather than going to a different agent.
In terms of translating this to action for you and your business, the solution is actually very simple. At the moment the client tells you that, “Yes, I’m going to go ahead,” your job is to take a payment from them. In some cases, you’re going to take a full payment, but in many cases, a deposit is going to be enough to do the job. This deposit secures their commitment. Ideally, you want that deposit to be big enough to ideally represent a true commitment for the client. But any size payment will secure that psychological commitment.
When I’m selling my private one-to-one mentoring, the deposit to secure that place is £500. I do that because it’s a big enough commitment to ensure that the client is not going to change their mind about it. If they’re paying the £500, they’re fully committed financially, as well as psychologically. But it doesn’t have to be £500. I could choose to take a smaller deposit of £100. Somebody could afford to walk away and lose £100, but they probably won’t because even the lower amount serves the purpose of getting the psychological commitment which is so important.
The psychological commitment is just as important as the financial commitment.
I know you’ll probably have questions about how to take a deposit on a practical level in terms of payment processing, but I would hazard a guess that for most of you, the really important thing you need to do is just to start asking for one!
“Great. I’m so excited that you’re going to go ahead and I can’t wait to start working with you on this! The next step is to get you booked in. Before I do that, I just need to take a deposit from you of £250 amount to secure your place.” It really is that simple.
So the next time a client says yes to you, make sure you ask for that deposit because it removes so much of the stress, anxiety, worry, and confusion.
Because let’s face it, when somebody says, “Yes, I’m going to work with you,” and then they don’t book in, or you don’t ever hear from them again, it doesn’t feel good. This is where running our businesses can start to be quite an unhappy experience at times, and it just doesn’t need to be.
Not only that but it removes a lot of stress and anxiety for the client too – who now doesn’t have to agonise about whether he or she is going to go back on their decision.
Over to you
I’d love to know your thoughts, experiences, and questions – please share in the comments below. Next time a client says to you, “Yes,” will you be asking for a deposit straightaway? Do come back and let me know how you get on!
Join me for a live Q&A on Facebook
I’ll be going deeper on this topic with a live Q&A session inside the free Selling from the Heart Community Facebook group. If you’ve got more questions about getting the psychological yes as well as the financial yes, or on how to take a deposit from a practical point of view, come along and join me at 5.00pm (UK) on Wednesday 28th March. I really look forward to supporting you further and answering any questions.
I look forward to seeing you there!