Erase the "I can't afford it" objection

BY Liz Wendling
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Objections are a natural part of the selling process, and they pop up for many reasons. Objections can happen in all stages of the process and are often nothing more than problems to be solved. But some  sales professionals are ill-​prepared and choke up when they hear the dreaded “I can’t afford it” money objection.

People say that they can’t afford it because they don't know what else to say. This tactic has been used for eons. It's the easiest way to get you to back off and retreat. The money objection creates a protective barrier around the customer to avoid making a decision or telling you no.

I can’t afford it, can also be customer code for “No.” It’s your job to decode and translate what that means.  When someone says, "I cannot afford it," it can mean any number of things. It can mean, "I don't want to change." Or it can mean "Someone else has a lower price.” Or it can mean “I don’t trust you, I can’t see myself doing business with you, I have gotten burned before or I can’t see the value in your offering.”

It could also mean that you haven’t given them enough of a compelling reason to buy from you. It may indicate that you have not satisfied all of their concerns.

Some professionals believe that the answer to the money objection is to lower their price.  Closing sales based on the lowest price is neither a long-​term, nor highly profitable growth strategy. Even in today’s marketplace, you can still be a solid competitor without being the cheapest. Price is not a barrier if the value is present.

Many professionals are taught that when the I can’t‑afford-it objection is deployed, they should push forward and immediately attempt to overcome it, to launch into a dazzling comeback with a snappy response loaded in the chamber and ready to fire. Doing so, however, fails to engage a prospect and creates more resistance.

Instead of wasting time figuring out an impressive response, spend time understanding what caused the objection in the first place. Identify what you are doing ― or not doing ― that triggered the money objection in the first place.

I can’t afford it” is a symptom of a much larger concern. It is usually an indication that you lack one all-​important ingredient in the process – value. No perceived value equals no sale, every time.

You have to determine if prospects need to have their concerns addressed. Ask a clarifying question. Gather more information before you dive into a response. Get a better idea of the prospects point of view. Asking a question, digging deeper, and gathering more information is better than having a smart response.

Money objections are value objections. People buy things they can’t afford all the time. I can’t afford it, simply means that you have not helped the prospect to see the value of the investment you are asking them to make. Step back, rewind and revisit value. The only way to obliterate the objection is to create more value in your sales process. Again, price is not a barrier if the value is present.

When you sell value, you erase the excuse. Spend your time learning to create more value than your competitors and focus on showing that you can create superior outcomes.

Objections are part of the buying and selling process. Your approach and how you resolve objections will either move you to a sale or out the door.

Liz Wendling is the author of two books (and counting) — The Unstoppable Business Woman and Everyone Sells Something, a columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, and one of the first nationally credentialed facilitators for Napoleon Hill Mastermind groups. Learn more at lizwendling​.com.