Objections are what most often paralyse salespeople and prevent effective sales - especially when the client says the price is too high. How can you argue with that when the price is already as low as it can be? Or when you don’t want to start a price war with the competition, when you care about profits? So how do you convince the client that you offer the most value, even if your price is higher?

You have to be aware of the fact that objections almost always appear. Even if the client doesn’t say so out loud, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. These unspoken objections make it harder to convince the client and meet their needs. One of the effective techniques for disarming objections is the “You can’t afford that” technique. The best part about it is that you can apply it even when the client isn’t talking about their objections.

The “You can’t afford that” technique step-by-step


Demonstrate what consequences the client will face if they don’t choose your offer

By presenting your product or service from a long-term perspective, you show the client that making a purchase - or not - has certain consequences.


You sell car insurance. The customer is hesitating about whether to buy only the obligatory liability insurance, or a comprehensive package. He says that since only the liability insurance is required, he doesn’t see why he should add to his costs and buy a comprehensive plan. Present the customer with a realistic scenario of a fender-bender a few miles down the road from his house. Without buying comprehensive insurance, he would be responsible for finding a tow truck and a mechanic to repair the car. He can forget about getting a replacement car while he waits. In addition, he’ll have to cover the costs of repair himself.


Show what costs the client will incur if they don’t choose your offer

When you describe specific, realistic events, you influence the client’s psyche and imagination. If they don’t feel that such events are realistic, then you can move on to the next step in the “You can’t afford that” technique - using hard numbers to demonstrate what could happen if they don’t choose your offer.


Cost of a fender-bender for those without comprehensive insurance:

  • car repairs - 500 euro
  • tow truck - 200 euro

It only takes one little bump. And what if you have more than one in a year?

Use real numbers. It’s best to ask your client about them. They have to believe that you know what you’re talking about and that you aren’t stretching your calculations.


You sell printers. The starting price of the equipment you offer is 30% higher than the competition. The client has done a quick calculation in their head, and of course they want to buy the cheaper equipment. Show them how much more they’ll have to spend on toner (which has to be replaced much more often in cheaper devices), as well as how much they’ll spend on service and replacement parts.

Even though your offer is more expensive up-front, if you put it in the perspective of the cost over several months or several years, the client will still save money, as compared to buying cheaper equipment. To present the client with such calculations, you have to find out how much they intend to use the equipment. Using that as your base, you’ll be more credible.


Compare the up-front cost of your solution with what the client will lose if they don’t choose it

The first two stages of using the “You can’t afford that” technique focus on expanding the client’s perspective and demonstrating costs and savings over the long term. The third step is to compare the purchase price of your solution (product or service) and the consequences associated with it, expressed in monetary form.


The client hesitates between two printer models, the first of which costs 300 euro and the second only 40 euro. In this case, you should compare the options in terms of purchase price and operational costs. If the client uses the more expensive printer, they’ll have to change the toner once every two months. The toner costs 25 euro. With the cheaper printer, they’ll have to change the toner every two weeks. Changing that toner costs 50 euro.

  • Option 1 - the more expensive equipment, plus one year of operation: 300 euro plus 6 x 25 euro = 450 euro
  • Option 2 - the cheaper equipment, plus one year of operation: 40 euro + 24 x 50 euro = 1,240 euro.

Full access available for logged users only. Log in or select the best subscription option here..

Log in Order a subscription

Also check

"We've gone to too much trouble to give up now!"


You probably know the saying: ‘give a finger and they’ll take your whole hand’. It’s often said by parents who are trying to explain to their children that they’re crossing the line. This saying can also apply to sales. Let’s start from the beginning.

Read more

What does an elevator have to do with sales?


It’s no secret that - unless you live in the middle of nowhere - you come into contact with about three thousand marketing messages a day. This is the necessary minimum that we absorb when living in the so-called civilized world. As a consequence, we can devote less and less time to acquiring new information about possible business offers. That is why a good, short ‘pitch’ is now of premium importance. An ‘elevator pitch’ is just a short, several seconds-long presentation which is supposed to encourage your audience to learn more about your proposal. How should we prepare our pitch to best interest our listeners?

Read more

Don't tense up with tenses. How to become the master of the past, the present and the future. Part I


In the last issue of the magazine I initiated a new thread in the Skills Academy column. The article covered handling a communication breakdown caused by our temporary inability to express ourselves due to a lack of the necessary vocabulary. There is of course another, equally important area of language where such breakdown may occur—namely the usage of tenses. Even those learners of English whose native languages contain more than just three tenses (the past, the present and the future) encounter problems with building and using English ones, let alone those who distinguish only three tenses in their mother tongues. In this article I would like to outline the basic rules and logic governing English tenses so that you can use them with greater confidence and therefore mitigate the risk of being misunderstood.

Read more

Go to