Every time an important election season rolls around we read how the candidates try to “frame the debate” to their advantage.
What they are attempting to do is get voters to look at issues in ways that benefit their candidacies and increase the number of votes they’ll get on Election Day.
They know something that’s very important: When you can control how people view a situation, you can more easily lead them to make the decision you want them to make. Read that last sentence again. It’s very simple but very important.
Accentuate the Positives
In sales you want to “frame” your time with a customer in a positive way that gives you the greatest opportunity to communicate the value, benefits, and advantages of your product or service and close the sale when appropriate.
Failing to recognize that every contact you have with customers occurs within a frame may be one of the biggest problems salespeople face. When recognizing, understanding, and being able to shift the frame becomes natural, that’s when you begin to realize your potential as a salesperson.
For the sake of clarity, let’s start with an extreme example. A difficult customer comes to you demanding to know your absolute lowest price. This person declares that he doesn’t want to hear any of your “sales spiel.”
Be a Frame Shifter
The challenge here is to shift the frame from a discussion that focuses only on price to one that focuses on the value of your product or service. There are a couple of approaches you can take here.
The first is straightforward. You say something like, “I’m here to help people find what they need to solve their problems. If I can’t help you like that, I’ll get another salesperson for you.”
The second uses a lighter touch. “Sure, I can do that, but sometimes price isn’t even the most important thing. If I knew a little about your needs and what’s important to you I could help you get the most value and utility.”
Your language will vary from what I offer here but however you phrase it, make sure you are truly communicating. Keep in mind that the idea is to move the frame of your interaction to the place where you want it to be. This is how you would like your customer to be mentally framing your encounter: Here’s a salesperson that cares about my situation, understands it, and can find the best thing for me.
In our example of the customer demanding to know the price and nothing else, he was completely focused on a negative, the money he would have to spend. Your job was to move that to a positive, the value you offer.
Anticipate the Negatives
When the customer doesn’t come in predisposed to a “negative frame” your task is to immediately frame the conversation in a positive way by communicating the value your product or service has. This allows you to head off the negatives. You can anticipate objections.
You might say something like, “You’ve probably noticed that we’re a little more expensive than the competition, but in the end you get a lot more.” Then you can detail other ways you save your customers money or give them more valuable benefits.
Just like the politician who best frames the debate in the eyes of the electorate, if you and your company do the best job framing your sales encounters with customers, you’re going to be the winner.