A question I am often asked by clients and groups I do talks for is: “What if a potential client doesn’t have the money – is it right to get them to put it on a credit card?”
Speaker and trainer Christopher Howard had a great way of explaining what goes on when a potential client tells you they can’t afford to work with you: he used to say if there is a genuine need, that your product can definitely satisfy, then someone always buys. Either they buy your solution, or you buy their reasons and excuses!
Here’s the thing: if you know that getting what you can do for them will improve their life far more than what you are charging them, you are doing them a grave disservice if you allow them to put it off any longer than necessary. If that means putting it on a credit card, so they can get the benefit right now, so be it.
BUT … and it’s a big but (hence the shouty capitals), when you allow them to take on debt in order to finance what they are going to gain by working with you, I believe you also take on a responsibility for ensuring they get that outcome as soon as possible.
Many in the personal development and healing world take the view that you cannot make guarantees, and that you should not take responsibility for other people’s actions because you cannot control whether people do what is necessary to get those gains. And I agree – up until they make you aware that they are spending money they do not have. That changes everything.
Before you deliberately allow someone to go into debt to pay for your stuff, and definitely before you actively suggest they do that, you had better be damn sure that it will work – and that it will work for them.
Does that mean you take over their responsibility for getting results? No, that would serve your prospective client even less than allowing them to use lack of money as an excuse. But while you cannot take on their responsibility for their own results, you can add your professional responsibility to support them fully in achieving those results.
So, to sum up my view on this, there is often a very good reason to borrow to invest in the right solution, so we do not need to dissuade potential clients from ‘putting it on the plastic’. But when people take on debt to pay you for something, it’s up to you to do everything possible to make sure that’s a wise decision, and not to give up on them until it is.