Cold Feet? How to Warm Up a Hesitant Client!
Several years ago, I enrolled in a 3-day live workshop with a mentor I had been following online for a while. Every year, when she announced this annual workshop, I read her email and cried, because I wanted so much to go and thought I couldn’t afford it!
And every year the cost went up. By the time I finally enrolled, the fee had tripled!
On the last day of the workshop, my mentor persuasively pitched her very expensive mastermind program. Swept up in the enthusiasm of the moment, I signed up for this pricey year-long program.
A couple of hours later, when we returned to the workshop from our lunch break, I actually had a full-blown panic attack! I didn’t have the money for this costly training and didn’t know how I would get it. But I had signed a binding contract.
A colleague saw that I was upset, coached me through my distress and I went on to successfully complete the year-long program. (How did I get the money? It was a miracle! But that’s another story for another day!)
I sometimes have prospective clients who go through a similar process. They come to me seeking help for their problem and get excited about the solutions I offer. Then when the time comes to pay, suddenly they get cold feet and say they can’t afford it.
I used to find this so perplexing and frustrating! Later on, after studying marketing, I learned the reasons behind this resistance, and what to do about it. If you sometimes have this happen with potential clients, keep reading!
When you’re on the verge of enrolling a prospect and then encounter resistance, this does not mean “end of story” with this person. They might actually be saying “Not this” or “Not now.” There’s a lot you can do to get them back on board. What should you do when a prospective client starts to get cold feet?
First of all, show understanding of their viewpoint. Suppose they say, “This sounds great, but I just can’t afford it.” Don’t negate their concern with: “Of course you can, it’s not that expensive.” This is likely to alienate them.
Stay in agreement with them. “Yes, I understand your concern about the cost. Paying up front for a series of 10 sessions is a big investment! May I offer you another perspective on that? What is it worth to you to not have [name their problem]?”
This will remind them that it’s an investment, not an expense. Make it about the value, not about the cost.
What might stop them from getting the help they need?
- Is it money? Offer payment options.
- Is it time? Have some evening/weekend hours.
- Is it fear? Familiarize them with what to expect from you.
- Is it value? Focus on results. Share testimonials.
Whatever their resistance is, be understanding, supportive and ready with solutions, so that their real and imagined obstacles can be overcome.
You need a Plan B when a prospect tries to back out. Here are more suggestions to help you handle this situation.
Ask if they would be willing to move forward with a treatment program if their obstacle did not exist.
- “If you felt you could afford it, would you want to start taking care of your problem?”
- “If time wasn’t an issue, would you want to take care of [problem]?”
When people have resistance, it can mean they have not fully grasped the value of what you offer. They are actually asking for more clarification, asking to be convinced. They also want to know that they will not be wasting their money and time on something that doesn’t help them, so you need to emphasize value, benefits and results.
“Well, that’s fine for some people, but I’m different.” If someone expresses doubt that your services will actually work for them, here’s a script to help clarify their thinking:
“Based on how many clients I have helped with the same problem and what I know is possible, I can’t see why you would be the only person that my tried and true methods wouldn’t help. Is there a reason you think you would be the one exception?”
Point out the cost – the physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual cost – of staying stuck and not moving forward. You could still put a monetary amount on their situation, such as: “How much work and income do you lose because of [problem]?”
But even more important – paint the picture of what another year would look like if they are sick, in pain, exhausted, depressed, in a bad marriage, have an unruly child or whatever their issue may be.
How should you respond if someone asks for “more time” to decide? You could say: “There’s really nothing more you will know about this program next week that you don’t already know right now. I’ve told you everything about it. Do you have any more questions?”
Alternately (or in addition), you can share: “Of course it’s up to you. If you truly need more time to decide, that’s ﬁne. The program is well worth the regular investment. But remember – you will miss the Quick Decision savings if you wait.”
It is a positive step if someone voices an objection. If she says it is too expensive, it means she is interested, and she is asking you to help make it work for her. If she wasn’t interested, she wouldn’t have come to you in the first place. You can ask “On a scale of 0-10, how important is it to resolve this issue, that you get from [where you are now – be speciﬁc] to [where you want to go – be speciﬁc]?” Their answers will almost always be in the 7-10 range, indicating strong need for your solutions. Again, you can remind them of the value they will get for their investment.
Remember… they came to you because they wanted help. You offer something that the person will benefit from, something that they need, something they asked for. You are selling from the perspective of their needs. Help them see why this is a good decision for them. Show them the value and they will show you the money!