How to respond to a potential patient/client saying “I can’t afford it” – Part I


As a naturopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist, health/spiritual coach, massage therapist, or other holistic health practitioner, how do you respond when a potential patient/client says “I can’t afford it”?

Do you let them off the hook, or do you hold them in the space of deciding from their highest good?

Most holistic health practitioners let their patients/clients off the hook.  You don’t want to seem pushy, so you just say “ok, let me know if you want to do it later.”

Yet the truth is– by letting them off the hook, you are actually not serving them because they came to you for a reason.  The only reason to let them off the hook is because it is truly not a match, or that person is better off to be helped through other ways right now.

Just look at how often you tell other people you can’t afford it, when there was actually a deeper truth to your excuse.  Deeper truths like –you don’t feel like it’s enough value for what they’re offering.  Or that you want to do it, but you are worried about spending the money.  Maybe you are skeptical or not sure about what the solution can do for you. Sometimes in a non-logical way, there’s comfort in being stuck because at least you know what to expect, vs. go for the unknown which can be dramatically different.

Or perhaps even though you are interested, when evaluating your priorities, you decide that other priorities are more important right now.  The truth is that we can afford it if our commitment to getting the solution is greater than the cost.

The world would be a better place if we all spoke our truths.  We all think that we are hurting someone else if we tell them the truth.  But the truth is that no one benefits– the person who’s trying to help you doesn’t benefit because they don’t know how else to help you; you don’t benefit because you have just spoken a subconscious limiting belief and made it more of a reality.  So the first place to start attracting patients/clients who happily afford your services is seeing how you can be more congruent with your own truth, because what you attract will mirror the truths you experience for yourself.

How do you respond to a potential patient/client telling you “I can’t afford it” or “I have to think about it” without being pushy?  Learn secrets of how to handle that excuse.  Get some key tips on what to say so you are not pushy, while giving them an opportunity to work with you without lowering your prices.  You will receive these much awaited tips in an upcoming More Clients Now eNewsletter.

What do I do when a holistic health practitioner tells me they can’t afford to work with me, when I know I can help them create a dramatic growth in their practice?  If I sense that they want to be stuck in their story, I let them (because they’re not a match to work with me right now).  But if I see the potential in them– because they feel their commitment to growing their holistic practice is greater than their story of not being able to afford it, I hold the space to find out more about what the real truth is.  Then I answer any remaining questions they have & allow them to decide for themselves whether they truly want the dramatic change  I can provide them, or let an excuse get in the way of their dreams for helping more people with their healing/work.

Are you ready for a dramatic change in your holistic practice, so you can stop struggling with not having consistent patients/clients you love working with & who happily pay for your services?

See if you qualify for a free strategy session to explore your next step to a big leap in your practice.  *This is not for everyone.  It’s only for those who are serious about helping more patients/clients, making a lot more money, and are committed to do what it takes.

Comment below on how you respond to a potential client’s “let me think about it” or “I can’t afford it” and what happens.


  1. Elsbeth Tate, CPCC, PCC on October 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    And to add on to my above comment, we all have our “stories” – our stories of, I don’t dare charge more, the economy won’t bear it, people won’t pay, and perhaps if a lot of people show up on our dashboard who say they can’t afford it, it just might be an opportunity to look at what our limiting beliefs are. 🙂

  2. Elsbeth Tate, CPCC, PCC on October 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Great article and great comments! I agree that the potential client has to see the value of what they are getting is greater than their story of “I can’t afford it”

  3. Wendy Buckingham on October 20, 2012 at 5:10 am

    In my experience as a life coach it’s about priorities and commitment. People find the money for something they really want to do even when funds are tight.

    I’ve been caught out in the past discounting or delaying my fees when somebody says they can’t afford, only to learn after coaching starts they are going on an overseas holiday or renovating their home or simply didn’t want to dip into their reserves.

    So I have a lot of coaching programs they can choose from at different rates and if there is nothing there they say they can afford then I am not keen on taking them on.

    However, I do offer to coach pro-bono sometimes, but that is for not-for-profit organisations, or where I feel there is a real need and willingness and a genuine lack off funds. In the latter case I make sure there is real commitment and some exchange is offered, even if it is not $$s.

  4. Christina E. Smith on October 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    You ask them how much money they spend on their health in a day? Then you ask if the smoke, how many latte or cups of tea or cokes they buy in a day. Then you multiply that by 30 days. Then you ask if they really care about their health

    • Chen Yen on October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Christina, good point. It’s about their commitment to getting their issue solved through what you have to offer vs what their circumstances are. If their commitment is greater than their circumstances, then they will move forward. Help them see the value of what you offer and how it serves their commitment. Also, show them they have a choice regarding their circumstances.

  5. Peri on October 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I just had a patient who has been coming for adjustments and not getting his prescribed massage therapy because it is “too expensive”. He has been saying he will get it at a place that offers a steep discount for college students, but he hasn’t been getting it. Then he comes in complaining that the adjustments “aren’t getting” the pinching pain in his neck.
    Today, I cranked up the table and spent 15 minutes doing DEEP specific neuromuscular work to his neck muscles. He felt better afterwards and I told him he needs to be getting the massage therapy in order for the adjustments to work. Because he was concerned about cost, I messaged the front desk to charge him $10 instead of the $25 I would normally charge for this service.
    He got up to the front desk and pitched a fit. He paid, but then demanded to see me and complained about the charge. I took $10 out of my purse, handed it to him, told him not to come back again, turned to the receptionist (who witnessed this exchange) and asked her to print him a complete copy of his records.
    I guess my point is, that sometimes the patient’s agenda IS not getting well…sometimes the patient’s agenda is to abuse and devalue you because that is an emotional pattern that works for them. The kindest thing you can do as a provider is refuse to participate in that dysfunctional relationship by “trying to understand” and “rescue” the patient.

    • Chen Yen on October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Peri, to make sure I understand the exchange, had you provided the deep neuromuscular work without mentioning that there would be an additional charge before moving forward?

      If you hadn’t mentioned the additional charge before doing the work, my suggestion is to be upfront with that. Let your patient know that based on what you see, you can do some deep neuromuscular work on them which can benefit them in XXX way and if they would like it, it is normally a $25 treatment. But given that they are getting a chiropractic session, you will include it for only an additional $10.

      If your patient chose to move forward at that point, then he would be clear about the charge at the end. If not, then the patient misses out on having his issue fixed. At the same time, you’ve held your boundaries about your value.

  6. Hugh Liddle on October 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    The short answer is to answer the objection using 4 steps:
    -Ask a Question
    -Try to help your prospect find a solution
    -Ask for the Sale Again

    Remember that we are our prospects’ partners in solving their problems and helping them get what they want and need.

  7. Suma G Nathan on September 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I have now decided to lower prices and only charge a 1 time fee for Consultation and will do a Portfolio for the Research and Instructions, 1 time fee for that too, then I am always with the client on the phone and do all the orders for them with the companies I work with as affiliate, so I get a little compensation from the order.. and that’s it!!! 32 yrs professionally specializing in Auto-Immune & Anti-Aging and people still don’t getit!!!

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