The “I can’t afford that!” Myth

How many times have your clients told you, “I can’t afford that!”

This is one of the most common objections you’ll get when presenting proposals to your clients. The interesting thing about this objection is that it’s a myth. I’ll give you three examples that prove that this is a myth being used as a defense mechanism. Then we’ll talk about how to bust that myth – both in your mind AND in your client’s mind – so you can win these clients and protect them from low-budget developers who just want to take their money.

Author’s Don’t Have Any Money, Right?

For a long time, I’ve been interested in writing. I’ve also been interested in helping author’s build their audience. I’m actually interested in both fiction and non-fiction writing and, for a long time, have been very curious about what it takes to be a successful (or at least somewhat successful) author.

So, I looked up our local writer’s guild, saw they were having a meeting coming up, and I went. I got there early so I had time to talk to some of the other authors before the actual event started. There was a panel about how to handle the passage of time when writing novels – keeping the setting clear without having to be overt about dates. Pretty interesting stuff.

The one thing I have always been told is that writer’s don’t make money – and it’s true. If you look up the stats the majority of writers earn below the poverty level for their work. So, they all have other jobs as editors for sports, news, advertising, etc. So, the assumption is that authors can’t afford to pay for a website or anything like that. I wanted to explore that and see what the truth really is about that.

$10,000 Of Apple Products Costs Less Than A Website?

As I’m signing in to attend this panel presentation I get to talking to the woman who just signed in right before I did. She and her husband had moved to Richmond a couple years ago after her son graduated from college. They were starting a new chapter in their lives, living downtown, walking to coffee shops and really enjoying themselves – and doing some writing along the way.

As we were talking, I noticed she was wearing an Apple Watch. So, I said, “Hey, that looks like an Apple Watch! What do you think?”

She then proceeded to tell me that it was the 3rd Apple Watch she’s owned and has loved every one of them. She also mentioned that she had two iPhones. Her husband had an iPhone and a Google Pixel.  She loves her two iPads – a mini and a Pro. She’s also got an iMac and two MacBook Pros! I’ve never been on The Price Is Right, but I’m playing the Showcase Showdown in my head and I’m thinking, “Whoa! That’s over $10,000 of Apple products!”

I like Apple products too. So now I’m all excited as we’re having this energetic conversation. Then the conversation turns and she asks me what I do for a living. I told her I do web development and internet marketing. Her eyebrows raised and she looked interested.

“So, you build websites?” she asks.

“Yes, among many other things. The heart of what I do is help people build their online presence and that revolves around a website – but the idea is to use all the online tools we can to build your platform.”  I tried to briefly explain.

One thing lead to the next and she asked how much I charge. I mentioned that the price starts at about $3,000.

It was like I untied the knot on her balloon. She gasped. Took a few steps back. Waived her hands to regain her balance and said, “I could never afford anything like that!”

It’s Not The Money, It’s The Offer

She literally just finished listing her inventory of Apple products which well exceeded $10,000. She obviously could afford that. So, the money is there. She’s just choosing to spend it on other things. Even “broke” authors have the money. The problem is NOT the money. The problem is the offer.

The root of the problem was that she immediately rejected the idea that she would get a positive return on her investment. In her mind, there was no way she would make more money than she would spend on her “website.”

If you can drop $10k on Apple products, you could have decided to take a piece of that – maybe 1/3 of it – and invest it in your business. The problem is NOT that she doesn’t have the money. There are much deeper underlying issues and she used the money as her escape route.

Now, I wasn’t trying to sell her anything. I wasn’t looking for clients. So, I didn’t dig in to see if the issue was confidence, fear, vision, commitment, or whatever. But she said, “I could never afford that!” Myth Busted!

Are Dog Trainers Broke Too?

Over the last week, I’ve spoken to three people who are animal behavior specialists. It’s rare that I speak to anyone in this field so connecting with three in one week has caught my attention. All three of them have told me the same thing. Dog trainers are broke.

So, I’m talking to the WordPress developer who is telling me all about his experience pitching a website to this “animal behavior specialist.” I’m hearing about this client has leased a building large enough to holds group training classes and she is selling all sorts of products. She’s even got a couple people on staff helping her get all of this done. Somehow, she’s managed to come up with the money to lease a building, stock shelves, and hire a few employees. That seems like an awful lot of things to do if you’re broke, right?

But, when the conversation turned to talking about the price on the proposal which was only about $2,000 he got the, “I can’t afford that!” objection.

Once again, the problem is NOT that the money isn’t there. The problem is something else. It’s not a financial issue even though that’s what is being used to reject the proposal.

What About Doctors? They’re Rich Right?

I get a call from a doctor in Denver. He’s leaving a traditional practice and going out on his own. As we were talking, he and his wife were driving to the airport to fly to Florida to scope out where they want to live and where they want to set up their new practice. He starts telling me about how his office is going to be right on the Gulf coast overlooking this beautiful harbor. It’s an upscale area of town and he’s really excited about the potential. He’s getting his business name frosted onto an 8-foot long piece of glass that will hang in the entrance. He’s building out the office like an Apple store complete with iMacs to run his booking and billing system. It is definitely going to be a high-end, elite experience for his clients.

Then he tells me that he doesn’t know what I normally charge, but he’s got a max budget of $1,500 and if we can do it for even less than that then he’d really appreciate it. He starts telling me how he is going out on his own, he doesn’t have any clients yet, he’s trying to fund it all himself, and he’s basically broke.

But what does that office on the harbor cost? What about the 8-foot, frosted glass logo thing? The new house? The plane tickets to fly back and forth across the country? Again, it’s not that he’s broke. He is just choosing not to spend the money.

Address The REAL Problem

All three of these examples, clearly illustrate that even when clients have the money, everybody says they are broke. The price is too high. I can never afford that!

The real problem is that clients – when left to their own thinking – simply do not believe websites have a positive return on investment. Buildings do. Plane tickets do. Apparently, 8-foot frosted glass logos do. But not websites.

The truth is, most websites do not represent a good investment. Most web developers don’t even think about whether or not their clients will make more money from their website than it cost them to get it. Most web developers are too busy doing the work and trying to make the client happy. If they think about it at all it’s just a thought in the back of their minds, hoping it works out. They launch the site and move on to the next client.

Everybody knows that doesn’t work. I know it. You know it. Your clients do too. That’s why they aren’t willing to spend their money on it.

If you want to break free from low-budget, high-stress, nit-picky clients you MUST present an offer with a positive return on the investment. Simply building a website and offering some WordPress hosting and maintenance isn’t going to do it.

Develop A High-Ticket Offer

Developing a high-ticket offer is a very individualized thing that obviously depends very heavily on what type of client you’re working with. But, if you’re tired of getting the price objection even though you know your client could afford your work if they wanted to, then let’s talk about how to break through that.

That doctor I was telling you about, he signed a contract with me for a $5,500 project.

Here’s the truly awesome thing. If you can break through these objections then you can genuinely help your client. You create an opportunity where everyone wins. You are freeing your client. You are protecting them from low-budget web designers who are selling crappy investments. Don’t be that guy. Be the person who leads your clients into success.

To do that you need to have two things. First, you need the business skills to create a vision that you and your client believe in. You need a powerful business development stack. Then you need the tech skills to pull it all together. That’s your tech stack. That’s exactly what DoubleStack is all about. Giving you those skills so you can make a difference. So you can have an awesome impact with your clients.

Does This Sound Like What You’re Dealing With?

If that sounds like something you’d like to talk about, then I’m here to help – for free. We can get on the phone for 45 minutes and you can tell me about your clients, the objections you’re getting, and what you think the problems really are. I’ll help you break through all of that so you can do your best work for the clients you really want to work with.

It’s a totally free call. If you want my help implementing the stuff we talk about into your business, we can talk about it. If not, that’s totally fine too.

Ask yourself this… How many more times do you have to hear, “I can’t afford that!” before you figure out how to deal with that in a way that will end with your clients thanking you for giving them something that actually makes an impact for their business?

How many more leads are you going to let slip away?

How much more money are you going to leave on the table?

Where else are you going to find someone with 16 years of experience running a web agency offering to talk to you about this stuff for free?

I love talking about this. I love to see people step up lead their clients into success. I’m looking forward to talking with you!

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