Do you find your clients can’t afford you?
This is a story about me and my business. But it is also a story about you and your business.
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, she is female and she’s struggling with her business. She started her business because she’s passionate about what she does, wants to make a difference through her work, and has unique gifts for helping others. 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 too quickly because she doesn’t see instant results. Or she spends too much time plugging away at marketing that isn’t yielding any real results.
She also feels uncomfortable about the whole idea of “sales”. If she’s really honest she might even admit that she sometimes avoids inviting potential clients to find out more for fear of appearing to be “salesy”.
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 the consistent income she’d hoped for.
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 get the help she needs until it’s really truly crunch time.
So by the time she comes across my “Get More Clients Saying Yes!” course, she has often got to the bottom of her savings pot, or has racked up credit card debt on a whole library of online trainings – often on topics that are *way* too advanced for where her business is right now. She might have a partner who tolerates her “hobby” but doesn’t take it seriously enough to let her spend any of the family money learning the skills she really needs if she’s going to make the difference that her soul is yearning for. Worse, her confidence is likely at rock bottom and she’s started to question whether she really ever could make this work – even though she sees that others seem to have success doing what she does.
So what do you think I hear, over and over at this time of year when my “Get More Clients Saying Yes!” course is open for enrolment?
“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 try to get it working on my own so that I can join you next year”
So you see, the very nature of my “ideal client”, the very fact that she is someone I am so uniquely able to help, means that very often she believes that she can’t afford to work with me.
And that’s why this isn’t just about me and my business – this is about you too.
Because it’s quite possibly exactly the same for you.
The very reason that your client most needs your help is the very same reason they give for not working with you.
So if you help people with their money or finances your clients will say they can’t afford your help.
If you specialise in helping over-busy business owners automate and systematise their business so they can get their time back to spend with their family, they will say they haven’t got the time to work with you.
If you specialise in helping people overcome anxiety, the very act of making a decision can put them such in a spiral of decision anxiety that they can only get relief from by deciding to say no.
If you help people with chronic health conditions they can’t afford to work with you because they’ve been off work for six months and are terrified of their savings running down, or because they don’t believe recovery is really possible.
If you help people with weight loss or health, your clients will want to lose a few pounds or make some progress on their own to prove to themselves they can do it, before they decide to work with you.
Can you think of another example specific to your own business? If so let me know in the comments below!
It’s a tough one isn’t it? And I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t.
Because yes, this is a constant challenge for me too
So what should we do?
- Should we pack it all in, throw in the towel?
- Go and find something easier to sell?
- Maybe choose our market more strategically, based on their ability to pay?
Well, yes, we absolutely could do that, they would be very valid solutions.
But in my case the answer has always been “No way!”
You see, working with these women is my calling, and I feel that clearly. And I know I’m uniquely gifted at it. Not only that, but seeing a business owner going from struggling to get clients and not making any money, to enrolling paying clients and then 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 commit to serving them.
You learn to get good. And I mean REALLY good. At sales conversations, and at attracting people to those conversations.
As part of this you get to understand your clients and their most common concerns about working with you. Until you know them inside out.
And then you learn how to address those concerns, openly and up front, in every single conversation – in a way that feels supportive for the client and comfortable for you.
And finally, 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 lives and their financial situation – the sort of stuff we Brits don’t tend to talk about 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 at other times 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 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. But here are a few things you can start thinking about now:
1. Identify what your clients most common concerns are. You do this by interviewing people in your client market. Or even better, have LOTS of sales conversations.
2. It’s then essential that you address these concerns during your sales conversations. You might do this directly or indirectly, depending on what you feel the client needs.
3. You can do this through examples, anecdotes, directly or by asking questions that simultaneously help you get a better understanding of the situation and help the client to see the various options before them more clearly.
4. You might also need to “coach” your client around the issue. Sometimes gently challenge. And don’t be afraid to do this – this is how you fully serve your client.
Because it’s easy to forget that a “No” isn’t only saying no to investing money in your service. It is also a “No” to change, or “No” to moving into a better future. And part of your job is to make sure the client sees that clearly and understands exactly how you can help them.
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 read your comments below.
Ready to learn how to have those difficult conversations so you can serve your clients fully?
Join the Get More Clients Saying Yes! course
If you would like to learn from me how to master the process of guiding someone to a decision to work with you, including specifically how to explore and address concerns like “I can’t afford it” or “I haven’t got the time”, but only when you know it’s in their best interest, my Get More Clients Saying Yes! course is now open for enrolment until the end of this week: Sunday 15th October: Click here for details of the Get More Clients Saying Yes! course
Live Q&A Today 6.00pm: How to handle your clients common worries and concerns
You can also join me for a Live Q&A at 6.00pm (UK) TODAY (Wednesday 11th October) in the Selling from the Heart Facebook Group. I’ll discuss how your clients most common concerns can actually be the deciding factor in working with you instead of a reason not to work with you. And I’ll answer your questions about how to handle the most common concerns your clients have. I’ll also answer any questions you’ve got about the Get More Clients Saying Yes! course.
Simply click the link above to join the group – then come back at 6.00pm. You can bring your questions, or just listen in!