How Entrepreneurs Can Go From “I Can’t Afford You,” to “Sign Me Up.”

sales conversationOne of the first things I learned when I started my Mary Kay career more than 10 years ago was nothing happens until somebody sells something.  And since that day, I’ve come to realize that not only is that true but in everyday interactions someone is always selling something to someone else. Although it’s been more than 5 years since I sent my Pink Cadillac back to Mary Kay and started Incredible One Enterprises LLC, I still validate that saying every day. That’s why as a business owner, you automatically are a sales person who has to position your products and services as the obvious solution to the problems of your target market.

There is however a methodology to mastering the sales conversation. But you also have to be clear that everyone you speak with is not going to hire you. As with most things in business, it’s a numbers game.  To win the game, you have to get clear on your sales conversion ratios (how many people you close for every ten you talk to.) Now, if this number is low, you can improve it by improving the body of your sales conversation.

In my expert opinion, a sales conversation, which I affectionately call a discovery session, has 5 major components.  You must:

  1. Set expectations and establish rapport
  2. Learn your prospective client’s current challenge/situation
  3. Discover the cost of their specific problem
  4. Transform the specific problem into a possibility of a solution
  5. Offer your solution

If you miss any component, you may find yourself like Moriah, whom I’m helping in this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV:

“Hi Darnyelle.  I’m a fashion consultant and stylist and I work with professional women who desire to have a look that reflects their expertise and position in the market place. So I’ve been able to get discovery sessions scheduled but when I get to the investment part, I keep hearing “I can’t afford it”  What should I be saying to convert these contacts into contracts?”

Watch my response to her question here:

As I mention in the episode, if you’re getting the same response as Moriah it’s one of two things:

You’re not maximizing your discovery session and asking the right questions and positioning your solution effectively.


You’re talking to the wrong people.

All things considered, in all actuality, you should close 60-80% of the prospects you speak to.  Any less, there’s something not happening in your discovery session – meaning you’re likely not asking the right questions and helping the prospect to discover the cost of the problem.  If the problem is not deemed expensive, they will not have a sense of urgency to solve it.  If you’re closing more than 80% then your prices are too low and need to be raised.

Make sure that you qualify those whom you have a discovery session with.  Instead of talking to everyone who says they want to work with you, vet the prospect to make sure they are the right fit for your offerings. You can do this by having an application on your website with some questions you’d like to have them answer to BEFORE agreeing to speak with a prospective client.    You may also want to have them learn specific things about you before they apply for a session.

All of this vetting doesn’t mean that you won’t get the “I can’t afford you response,” however.  You’re still going to need to be prepared to overcome some objections. Personally, if I’ve done my due diligence and get this response, I likely remind them of what they want to experience and how vastly different it is from what they are experiencing right now.  I also show them how to afford to invest in their business.  If after reminding them of what they want they still maintain they can’t afford it, I cut them loose (in a professional way, of course :-)).  Keep in mind, if you have to drag them in, you’ll drag them the entire engagement.

Because we can afford anything we deem worth it, if a prospective client still maintains that they can’t afford your services, they fall outside of the Universal Law of Business and you just have to learn from the exchange and move on to someone who is ready, willing and able to invest RIGHT NOW in your services.

Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?: 
What do you do when you hear ‘I can’t afford it?”  What are the components of your “discovery session” that help to ensure that you are closing 60-80% of your ideal clients?

If you are in need of help on how to hold an effective sales conversation that turns a contact into a contract, consider our new home study program, Get Paid: How to Package, Price and Successfully Sell Your Incredible Factor.

©2014 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” just fill out the form below.

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