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I Can’t Afford It

January 15th, 2016

When a sales prospect tells you they “cannot afford” your product or service, or that it is “too expensive, what do they really mean?

If you don’t know, then you cannot take effective action. Furthermore, when someone tells you “I can’t afford it, they often don’t know what they mean themselves!

So when a potential buyer tells you they like your product or service, but can’t afford it, you have a huge opportunity to learn, clarify, understand, facilitate discovery, and differentiate.  

Here are four of the most likely possibilities of what a prospect thinks they might mean when they tell you you’re too expensive:

1.    -  They have interest, but perceive your offer (service or product) is “not worth” the “value” you might deliver.

2.     - They have interest, but they really believe that they “cannot afford it.”

3.     - They want to negotiate to get you to reduce your price.

4.     - They have no intention at all of buying from you, but would rather tell you they can’t afford it than to simply tell you “no.”

Let’s take possibility #3 (negotiation) first. In this scenario, the buyer wants to buy (or is willing to buy) from you, but wants to feel better by getting you to offer a lower price.

Possibility #4 is a form of “maybe.” A waste of your time.  

Possibilities #1 and #2 do not live in intention, they live in perception. “Value,” “Worth,” and “Afford” are all perceptions. Prospects who fall into the first two categories represent tremendous opportunity for you to dramatically increase your sales volume. They perceive that something needs to change in order to do business. These prospects simply have their own “self-talk” that prohibits them from taking action. They represent huge opportunities.

Perceptions can be very easy to change; doing so requires a bit of skill and patience.

When most salespeople hear, “I can’t afford it,” they either give up and leave with their tail between their legs, shift into convince-aholic™ snake oil sales mode, or begin to “sharpen their pencils” to drop price, offer discounts, and cut into your company profit. What they should do is learn exactly what the ambiguous phrase, “I can’t afford it,” really means. 

So the next time you hear “that sounds good, but you’re expensive,” do yourself a favor and please learn what your prospect really means, then help to facilitate discovery to create clarity, build trust, improve perceptions, help more clients, and generate a lot more business.

If you have other thoughts or challenges, or if you need help in managing conversations to grow your sales and profit, I’d love to hear from you…

Best wishes for a prosperous 2016! 

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2016.   All Rights Reserved.