How to gauge whether a consumer can afford your service?

Clay Nichols Helping other startups grow after launching 2 successful startups.

Last updated on July 16th, 2020

I typically spend 30 minutes giving a tour of our speech therapy software. They almost always signup unless they simply cant't afford it. And a fair number of folks out assume speech therapy of any sort is free b/c healthcare for seniors is generally free.

Any suggestions of how to diplomatically find out whether they can afford it? ($25 to $60/month).

I currently ask whether they are seeing a speech therapist. That tells me that they are at least putting in sweat equity and possibly paying a copayment.


  1. This is a B2C product. Often sold to retirees who have had a stroke.
  2. We have a questionaire and video demo. So they select what they need, they see videos on those needs.
  3. I can tell who will benefit from the product. I cannot tell who is on a fixed income living. Doesn't matter how much it benefits them if they have zero disposable income. I've had customers cry when they realize it's not free. (Many assume, understandably, that it's free because healthcare is free for them).
  4. I do not mention price because as soon as I do, they tend to think ONLY about price. As soon as I mention price, I become a Salesman in their eyes.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 1st, 2020

This is a numbers exercise all around. You need to take some time to calculate the customer acquisition cost and lifetime value of customers. My guess is that you're offering a product demonstration much too early in the sales process.

Consider what capacity you are losing by offering demos to unqualified prospects. What else could you do to improve your business in the time spent talking to unqualified customers?

Can you create a digital product tour or video that both showcases the benefits, explains the value, and addresses the common objections for future customers? Why are you not upfront about pricing before speaking to prospects? How can you help them calculate the return on investment, or methods by which the software can be made affordable?

Maybe you need some screening questions that prospects can use to determine if your software is right for them, or what it will cost based on answers they give.

Like all products your software needs to clearly communicate its value. I don't think you're having trouble demonstrating value. I suspect you're just feeling the burden of handling unqualified leads by not having an appropriate qualification method in place before they can get a demonstration.

Beyond the automated product tour, some kind of pricing tool will probably be helpful. If you do have a range of prices, just be up front about what they get for what price, and talk about how they can use HSA for FSA money (if they can) or insurance or whatever considerations may be involved, as part of the pricing discussion they can explore before they get on the phone with you.

Good luck!