Driving Nice Cars and on a Sliding Scale

I was talking to a holistic practitioner who shared his frustration about people telling him they can’t afford what he charges.  He said Person Driving Car Imagein frustration, “I don’t understand.  The people who pay on the lower end of the sliding scale sometimes are the same ones who drive really nice cars.  People just don’t care about their health.”

Which brings up the question – do you think there should be sliding fee scales?  Sliding scale fee schedule for chiropractors, naturopaths, or acupuncturists especially. Because aren’t we supposed to be able to help people who can’t afford services be able to get healthcare?  What’s your take?  (scroll down to the bottom to find out mine & comment on yours)

Here’s the simple truth if someone tells you they can’t afford it:

1.  They don’t see the value in your services as a priority compared to something else they want to spend money on.
2.  They want to work with you, but they really can’t get the money together right now.
3.  They don’t want to work with you, and they don’t know how to say no because they don’t want to hurt your feelings (or they don’t want to give you the opportunity to try to convince them)

But what do we usually do when we hear “I can’t afford it?”

Believe it without question.

A yoga instructor who is also a coach said to me the other week that she had a client who would often say she couldn’t afford it.  At a recent event she held, that same client stood up and said “I don’t need to work actually, because I have all the money I need.”

We can never pre-judge what people can or can’t afford.  When someone says they can’t afford it, most of us just hear “they can’t afford it” and we believe it.  The real truth is that it could also be reasons #1 & 3 above also.

Instead of immediately feeling sorry for them and lowering your prices because you really want to help them, ask additional questions to find that out what the real story is.  Why?  It can help you uncover whether it’s really about the money, or if it’s about something else (such as whether they saw the value in working with you vs another option they have).  If it is really about the money, sometimes you can offer someone a different service that’s a better fit to get started with instead.  But you wouldn’t know how to help them if you never found out the real reason.

But how do you ask additional questions without coming across as pushy?  How do you handle the “I can’t afford it” conversation, so someone who’s actually a “maybe” decides it’s actually a “yes!”?  Listen to this FREE training on what to say to “I can’t afford it.

What about the sliding fee scale thing?  My personal opinion is that in situations outside of healthcare, the sliding scale is not a good model at all.  In healthcare, though, I am undecided.  There are people who do have a harder time accessing healthcare, although in the end, I don’t think it’s the best model.  It’s one of those things that can work in theory, but the system doesn’t always support the people in need.  And there’s a chance that someone would’ve paid you more because they actually saw the value in it, vs. you assuming they would’ve paid less because they make less.  They might have paid you for making them healthy when conventional MDs had no clue what to do for them (instead of for a nicer car).

What is your opinion about the sliding scale thing? 

Comment below, then register for the free training on what to say to “I can’t afford it”, so more of your no’s & maybes become actual clients: Click Here to Register NOW

1 Comment

  1. Erica Straus on August 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    i offer only 2 sessions a week that are sliding scale.I don’t offer them to all my clients but those I realize are on a low income or financially challenged. Most of them pay me more than the minimum and some will pay the minimum one week and more than the maximum another when they get more cash flow. Several are really struggling with money but insist on paying the full amount. I tell these people that if they are ever not getting the work they need because they haven’t got enough money, to please ask for the sliding scale rate. Sometimes people have to make a choice because the spots are filled whether to wait or pay the full amount. I can easily cover the discount on 2 sessions and it makes me feel good about myself and my practice.

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