Why Do Prospective Clients Say No?
The Success Alliance


Why Do Prospective Clients Say No?

You design an amazing class, a brilliant coaching program, a winning mastermind group. Prospective clients step forward and express interest.

And everyone buys, right?

What happens next might freak you out. They tell you they can’t afford it, or that they don’t have the time right now. They say that it doesn’t feel like a good fit, or they’re confused about what they’ll receive for the investment they’ll make.

Your nervousness increases: what if I designed my absolute best offer and they simply don’t want it?

Whoa! Hold on there!

Take a breath. It’s not as dark as it appears.

Let’s looks at why prospects say no, so you can figure out what to do about it.

If you know your audience well, especially if you did your market research thoroughly, then you probably have designed a program or mastermind group they’ll want.

Most people do want to shorten their learning curve. Most people do want to learn from and by mentored by an expert. Most people do have areas of their lives where they want to make an important change. So the motivation is there.

What is their main concern?

When a prospective client is hesitant to say yes, find out what they’re really thinking about. There may be unanswered questions, or more importantly, questions they should be asking but they’re not.

This is why you always put contact information in your marketing material. Give them the opportunity to have a quick phone call or email with you to get those questions answered.

For larger investments, like a year-long mastermind group, always do an interview with the prospective member so you can hear their questions and find out what they need and what concerns they have.

Is it about the money?

Yes…and no. Some people are on a tight budget and money really is an issue. Ask them directly what their budget is, then provide them with alternatives that will fit their budget.

For others, they have a pool of money to invest but perhaps they don’t understand how working with you will give them the results they want for that investment. Have you clearly laid out the features, benefits and results? (And do you know which benefit or result an individual prospect is interested in the most? It’s not the same for everyone!)

For instance, a prospective student for my Power Up Workshop contacted me, wanting more information. She was hesitant to sign up for the workshop. While we spoke, two things became apparent. First, she was concerned that it would be a big audience and she wouldn’t get any personalized attention. I assured her that we were capping registration at 20 people, so she wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. Second, she worried that she was too new to mastermind groups and that the material would be too advanced. By reviewing with her that the workshop was built for people who were relatively new to starting their next mastermind group, she could see that she’d be a perfect fit. Now she knew that her investment in the workshop (both time and money) would give her the outcomes she desired.

Sometimes prospects say, “I can’t afford it,” but there’s a deeper underlying reason. Always ask questions to find out what’s going on in their minds.

What if they don’t have the time?

Like money, we definitely have a budget for time: 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.

How we spend our time is just as important as how we spend our money – perhaps more so.

Imagine you have a prospective clients for a mastermind group that includes one-on-one consulting. You ask them to commit to a 90 day program because your experience taught you that it takes that long to see results. But the prospect resists a 90 day commitment, worries that they have to carve out a lot of time from a busy calendar. They ask, can I get the mastermind group without the consulting?

This is when I start asking questions:

  • How motivated are they to get the results they want?
  • What will they do to solve their problems if they don’t commit to a 90 day consulting program?
  • How will they feel if they can’t reach their goals as quickly as they want?
  • What do they have to do to free up some time so they can focus on their goals and challenges and resolve them?

We’re all busy, and here’s the harsh truth: we make time for the things that are important to us. Have them look at their calendar to see if they can juggle things to attend your classes or meetings.

Is it a good fit?

Prospects hesitate to buy when they’re not sure what you’re offering is a good fit for them. If you’re promoting a mastermind group or one-on-one consulting, you will likely have an interview with them where you can ask questions. In a situation where you’re promoting a class or workshop, you won’t have the opportunity to ask these needs analysis questions.

How do you know if it’s a good fit? If you have the opportunity to have a conversation, you can simply ask them what their goals and challenges are, then draw a parallel between what you’re offering and what they need. If you won’t have the opportunity to have a discussion, then you’ll have to make some assumptions about the client’s typical needs, and address the parallel matching in your sales page text. It helps to ask previous clients and students to review your sales page and tell you if something is missing.

Remember to share testimonials and case studies that highlight how others got similar results by working with you. For example, a recent student from my Mastermind Success Accelerator class said this:

Karyn’s Accelerator was of great benefit, providing me with the basic tools and information to start a mastermind group. I loved the concentrated full-day focus. When we were finished with the class, I had what I needed to start my own mastermind group for my clients.

Some people worry that working with you will simply create a bigger To Do list for themselves. And the answer is that it probably will. However, assure them that you have a way to support them as they work through their To Do list, and that you’ll show them how to do things more efficiently and effectively, thereby reducing their overall time spent. (This is why I love when people marry a class they’re teaching with a mastermind group to support the students as they implement what they’ve learned your class.)

Don’t forget the small stuff

People don’t always see what you’re written, or watch the video you’ve created about your offer. They have simple questions about logistic, but are too embarrassed to ask. Create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list to help them with simple questions like: Will this be recorded? What time do we meet? How do I make my payment? Will there be coffee? (This last question, of course, is the most important one!!)

This is why people like you – who run classes, lead mastermind groups and provide one-on-one programs – understand that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean no. There’s a wealth of information underneath that no, if only you’ll explore for it.


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6 thoughts on “Why Do Prospective Clients Say No?”

  1. jane meagher says:

    As always, Karyn, your advice is spot on, well written, and helpful.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I’m glad you found the article helpful, Jane. We need to listen when prospects say “no” because there’s meaning there.

  2. James McEntire says:

    Karyn ,as always your writing is well thought out, clear, helpful and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      You’re welcome, James!

  3. Great info… and I especially agree with – no doesn’t always mean no. It just means not yet…

    Often if we stay in touch and learn more about our prospective customer, client or recruit in time they will say yes and become part of a long term mutually beneficial relationship.

    Too many people just give up at the first no and never even contact that person again. What a loss and what a shame.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I can’t tell you the number of times a prospect has said no initially, only to circle back around a few months later when they’re ready. You’re right, Derrick, we need to stay in touch and learn more.

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