“I’d love to work with you but I can’t afford it.”
You coach a high-level leader.
They tell you they love your support.
They say they’d really love to work with you.
But then they say the words you dread…
“You’re an amazing coach but I can’t justify spending $10K at this time.”
What do you do?
Do you offer her a discount?
Do you offer her a friends and family rate?
As I was writing this, my 7 year old asked me, “What are you writing, Dad?”
“I’m writing an article about what to do when someone tells you they can’t afford to work with you.”
“Ooh, I know!” He replied. “They should create a lemonade stand and make some money.”
The wisdom of youth.
He nailed it.
If someone really wants to work with you, they’ll find a way.
If someone really wants to work with you, it may take them some time to create the resources but they’ll come back to you.
Most people don’t have a coaching budget.
They have a budget for their next vacation. They’re saving for a new car. They’re preparing to upgrade their flat screen TV.
But they don’t have a coaching budget.
Which means your job is simple. Serve people so powerfully that they never forget your conversation for the rest of their life. Then tell them how much it costs to work with you. That’s it.
How to respond when someone says, “I’d love to work with you but I can’t afford it…”
- Check in with yourself. Do you really want to work with them? Or is this a red flag that they’re not actually a dream client?
- Check in with yourself. Do they really want to work with you? Sometimes, “I can’t afford it…” is a convenient way out. For both of you.
- Ask them, “Is there any reason other than money why you might not want to work together, right now?”
Maybe the timing isn’t the best for them. Maybe their spouse wouldn’t be supportive at this time. Give them space for a way out…
- Don’t try to “handle their objections” like they teach in sales training 101. Instead, do the opposite.
Honor their objections. And serve them, no matter what, “I understand. Not everyone is ready to work with me the first time we meet. Would you like some ideas for how to move forward even if we don’t work together?”
- If you are clear that they genuinely want coaching, it’s ok to understand that not everyone is ready to invest a significant amount of money the first time that they work with you. But never offer a discounted price. That feels cheap and unbecoming of a professional.
- Say something like this,“Here’s what I get about you, Maya. You have 2 goals that, if you accomplished them, would have an enormous positive impact on your life—and the world.”[Then say those goals out loud. You should have discovered them during your coaching. If you don’t know them, that’s the reason they don’t want to invest in coaching with you].
“I’m excited to imagine you turning your talents towards the things you are most passionate about.
Not everyone needs a year of coaching.
If I could create a program to support you on those goals over the next 100 days, for $4,200, would that be of interest to you?
And, if not, that’s perfect, too.”
Do you notice that I bolded the word “if” in the penultimate paragraph above?
“If I could create…“
That’s a key distinction.
You haven’t offered another program to her. Yet. You’re asking whether she’d be interested, if you offered it to her…
If she’s a hell yes to a new and interesting way for the two of you to work together… And if you’re a hell yes, too… Then get creative.
Create a completely new program, with a new time frame and a different level of support. More in-person, less virtual. More virtual, less in-person. Include a deep dive. Remove a deep dive. Offer bi-weekly sessions, instead of weekly, etc.
Here’s what I require of you…
These are six of the most powerful words in coaching.
They establish your leadership.
Once you put out your new, creative way of working together, end with these words,
“And here’s what I require of you…”
If someone really wants to work with you and the only thing in the way is the money, get creative. (Hint: and most of the time it’s not the money, you didn’t yet serve them powerfully enough).
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