Maybe you’ve done something like this. I’m hearing the same story lately from so many professionals.

A web designer creates a jump-start package. Basic sites at a bargain rate for business owners who are just starting out and sticking to a budget.

A marketing consultant sets up turn-key marketing communication packages for people who don’t want to spend much money to get their message to their market.

A speaker puts together a low-cost group program for entrepreneurs who won’t invest in one-on-one coaching to develop a talk and a way to talk that will pull in clients.

Results? Those business owners who are just starting out complain that the lower-cost websites are still too expensive.

People who don’t want to spend much money to get their message to their market actually won’t spend any money to get their message to their market.

And the entrepreneurs who won’t invest in one-on-one coaching to help them boost their business … turns out they won’t invest in less costly group programs either.

So what are we supposed to do to bring in the business?

A lot of fancy-pants online business gurus push the Premium line – they’re always saying you should concentrate on selling high-end products and services to people who will gladly pay for luxury items or concierge service or platinum programs. Those free-spenders supposedly can’t wait to pull out their credit cards and hand them over to you.

I tend toward skepticism. What about all those people who won’t gladly pay for the top-shelf goods and services? Who’s supposed to serve them? Don’t they have value, those people who aren’t making the big bucks (yet)? Shouldn’t there be something at a price point they (which is to say we) can manage? Especially when it comes to the kind of training and coaching that will help them get to that next level so they can pop for the platinum experience.

Well yes, but it turns out there’s a catch. And I’m dying to hear how this plays out in your business.

Because the stories at the top of this article are real. Good-hearted women have gone out of their way to accommodate the budget-conscious among their potential clients. Only to find that the budget-conscious still say: “I can’t afford it.” “I want to, but I’m paying for [fill in the blank].” Or the corker: “Maybe I can do that after I get more clients.” (Never mind that they’re refusing to invest in the very thing that will get them more clients!)

Now this could be a gender thing. One service professional told me she just doesn’t get that I-can’t-afford-it push-back from business-MEN. It’s only the women who tell her (over and over and over) that they’re too broke to get the help their business needs.

Or maybe it’s a question of fishing in the right pond. If you associate mainly with people who are already fairly successful, it’s probably easier to connect with customers who have money to spend. And it’s bound to be tougher if you’re networking with newbies. Or with people who really have a hobby that they’re calling a business.

Perhaps it’s all about your money mindset. How much you value yourself and your work. And the resulting message you’re sending out into the Universe.

Or it might be that those fancy-pants online business gurus are right; we should all just forget about even trying to serve anyone other than those platinum-level clients who are eager to pay for your highest-level and most expensive work.

I’m curious. How does “I can’t afford it” show up in your quest for clients and customers? And how have you handled it?

Have you found a way to serve people at a less-than-premium price? To put together something that works for them and for you? Or did you blow those people off and focus your marketing only on folks with more money to spend?

Shoot me an email and fill me in. I know a web designer, a marketing consultant and a whole bunch of coaches who are eager to hear your secret.