What to Do With the "I Can't Afford It" Objection
Here are some ways to turn around the sale or, at the very least, keep your company at the top of the prospect's mind.
We’ve all arrived at that moment at some point in our selling expeditions: You just had an amazing conversation with a prospect, they’re the perfect fit for your product and service, and they’re convinced that they need what you’re selling. So, you state the price, and then the dreaded, “I can’t afford it” response is stated.
This objection is particularly hard because, unlike other common objections like, “I need some time to think about this” or, “I’m already working with someone else,” it’s harder to get the prospect to budge. The topic of money tends to make the whole conversation one-dimensional. They either have the room in their budget to invest, or they don’t. Right? While sometimes that’s true, here are some of the best ways to handle the financial lack objection to turn around the sale or, at the very least, keep your company at the top of the prospect’s mind if their financial situation changes.
1. Bring the focus back onto what they’ll gain from the purchase
Once a price tag comes into the equation, prospects can be too concerned with what they’d lose (i.e. the rest of their budget or a larger chunk of change than they were willing to spend) rather than what they’d gain. If the sales call is done correctly, they’ll be so excited about what purchasing from you helps them to do that it can override the negative emotion of feeling that they can’t afford it.
Ciarra Wagner, a content marketing specialist, simply stated on Great America that “value justifies cost.” She went on, “You must have the ability to prove that this solution is not about money. It is about the efficiency and productivity gain, along with the relief of the areas of pain you learned about during the discovery phase."
Ideally, you should go into a sales conversation ready to build the foundation for your rebuttal to these objections. This means taking careful note of their current problems, their desire for a solution and anything else you need to know to bring their focus back onto what they’ll gain when buying from you.
Then you can say something like, “While I understand that your budget doesn’t currently have room for this type of investment, how much do you think your financial stability will change once your problem with gaining media exposure is eliminated?”
Take them on a mental trip to the future — a future in which you’ve helped them solve their problem and achieve what they’re looking for.Related: 5 Ways to Keep Moving Ahead After a Rejected Pitch
2. Attempt to understand why they don’t believe that they can afford it
Because sales should primarily consist of listening, allow the prospect some time to elaborate on the reason they can’t afford it. In an article for Copper Chronicles, Dann Albright encourages that a sly way to do this is by providing a few seconds of silence on the phone. So, right when you hear the dreaded, “I can’t afford this,” don’t respond immediately.
"It’s understandable to balk at this idea,” writes Albright. “People get uncomfortable during lulls in conversation. No one likes awkward silence, and people will do anything to fill it. Prospects will often give you valuable information to relieve that awkwardness. They might tell you their true objection to the deal. Or reveal that they’re willing to pay a bit more than they let on at first.”
Albright also added that these few seconds of silence are a great way to avoid the commonly felt pressure to immediately offer a discount. Let the prospect explain more first, then see what you can come to.
3. Offer them free resources in the meantime
When in doubt, give, give, give. Even if you think this prospect is a lost cause and won’t do what it takes to find the money, see how you can be a resource to them. We can all remember times in our lives when we were on a sales call and we really didn’t feel like we could afford the product or service at that time. If the person we were talking to never contacted us again or became overly pushy, we definitely didn’t want to even consider working out the budget. But, if they continued to be helpful and reminded us of the value they could offer, it’s a different story.
Edric Zheng is the founder of MedicalPatientReferrals, and he teaches that having free resources to offer potential clients with the budget objection is a great way to show them that you’re there for them regardless. Specifically, Zheng works with physical therapists, and he advises them to give resource packets of certain stretches and exercises that a potential patient could use.
“In addition to the free resources, I tell them to refer them to someone at a lower price point,” Zheng explains. “This may seem like just giving away everything for free and passing on a potential client, but it helps to build trust, which they’ll remember if their financial situation changes in the future.”
Sometimes, that’s all you can do: hope that something someday changes in their budget and they’ll come to you when it’s time. When the objection continues, lay down your strategies, and consider price qualifying before future sales calls.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor