Why Do Prospective Clients Say No?
The Success Alliance


Why Do Prospective Clients Say No?

Do you understand why prospective clients don’t sign up for your mastermind group, workshop or coaching program?

You’ve design an amazing mastermind group (or a winning class, or a brilliant coaching program). Prospective members step forward and express interest.

And everyone who expresses interest becomes a paying client, right?

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.

And you get freaked out when they say no.

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

I understand. It’s happened to me, too.

Whoa! Hold on there!

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

Want to learn how to start a mastermind group? Click here to get my free video tutorial on how to create a mastermind group of your own.

Let’s look at why prospective members 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 share knowledge and experience with others. And 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 member 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 and a Call to Action that encourages them to get in touch if they have questions. 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 conduct an interview with the prospective member so you find out their goals and needs, and hear their questions and concerns.

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 the most important benefit or result each individual prospect is interested in? (It’s not the same for everyone!)

A few years ago, a prospective member for one of  my mastermind groups contacted me, wanting more information. She was hesitant to sign up. When she first said, “I’m not sure that I can afford it,” I asked more questions to understand truly what she meant by that statement. While we spoke, two things became apparent:

  • First, she was concerned that my mastermind group would have too many members. She was afraid that she wouldn’t get any personalized attention and wouldn’t have an opportunity in meetings to talk about her problems and get solutions. I assured her that we were capping each group size to six members and that she’d get a hot seat in each meeting 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 this particular mastermind group was built for people just like her 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 (both her time and her money) would give her the outcomes she desired.

When prospects say, “I can’t afford it,” find out if there’s a deeper underlying reason. Always ask questions to find out what’s going on in their minds. Is it really about the money, or about something else entirely?

Blog Post: 7 Guidelines to Finally Unravel Your Pricing Problems

What if they don’t have the time?

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

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

Imagine you design a mastermind group that includes 2 mastermind group meetings a month plus a private consulting session each month, a total of five hours a month. You ask your members to commit to a 6-month program because your experience taught you that it takes that long to see results. But a prospective member resists a 6-month commitment and worries that he has to carve out a lot of time each month from his already-busy calendar. He asks, “Can I get the mastermind group without the consulting sessions?”

This is when I start asking him questions:

  • How motivated are you to get the results you want?
  • How much available time do you have each month to work towards your goals?
  • Do you have a deadline for when you want to achieve your goals?
  • What will you do to solve your problems if you don’t join my program?
  • How will you feel if you can’t reach your goals as quickly as you want?

Some people worry that joining a mastermind group or taking a workshop will simply create a bigger To-Do list. And the answer is that it probably will … if they choose to apply what they’re learning in each meeting.

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 to marry a workshop with a mastermind group, which supports the students as they implement what they’ve learned.

We’re all busy. 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 meetings or class sessions.

Is it a good fit?

Prospects hesitate to join when they’re not sure that your program is a good fit for them. If you’re promoting a mastermind group or one-on-one consulting, you will likely have a personal 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 your audience’s typical needs and make sure you address these common needs in your marketing material and sales page. It helps to ask previous members, 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 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 focus. When we were finished with the class, I had what I needed to start my own mastermind group for my clients.

Blog Post: Have your prospects take the Mastermind Group Readiness Test

Don’t forget the small stuff

People don’t always consume all your marketing materials. Sometimes they don’t read what you’ve written on your sales page or social media post. Sometimes they don’t watch the video you’ve created about your offer. They have simple questions but are too embarrassed to ask. Create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list to help them quickly with simple questions like:

  • Will this be recorded?
  • What time do we meet?
  • How do I sign up?
  • Does the mastermind group include private coaching?
  • 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.

Want to learn how to start a mastermind group? Click here to get my free video tutorial on how to create a mastermind group of your own.

8 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. L.D. Sewell says:

    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.

  4. Nick says:

    Well done!

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Thanks, Nick, I’m glad you found the blog post helpful!

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