Sales Framing and Sales Reframing are at the heart of influence, persuasion and selling.
Let's look at Sales Reframing first ( illogical as that may be ).
We reframe when we shift how we think about something and use a different reference structure. Then we put a piece of experience or information into a different classification or category. We look at it from a different perspective.
I'll give you an example of this.
I recall one night burning the midnight oil with two colleagues, each of us working on separate projects. One of my colleagues piped up with a problem they had.
Colleague: " I'm not really looking forward to contacting the overseas supplier again. This is the third time I've had to modify the order. They are not going to be happy with me !"
Me: " What's the problem ? Are you changing shipping dates or switching product grades or what ?"
Colleague: " No, the client keeps changing the quantities"
Me: " How much have they cut back their order?"
Colleague: " No. They increased their order, again !"
Me: " Wait a minute, that's not bad news !
Surely, the supplier would be happy to learn of an increased order ?
You could even say you've negotiated with the customer to take more to reduce the customers shipping and customs costs.
This would also be more economical for the supplier, wouldn't it ?"
I thus Reframed the scenario for my colleague.
Powerful and elegant reframing occurs when we reclassify a piece of behaviour, experience, or emotion in such a way that it makes even more sense, and leads to much more effective thinking, feeling, and acting.
My colleague was dumbfounded that they had allowed themselves to get into that mindset.
But isn't that what we all do, from time to time ?
Can you honestly say you've never been so fixated on a result that you overlooked an obvious and simple solution ?
And how many times do your clients do exactly the same thing ?
When your prospect has a negative viewpoint about some aspect of your product or service you can use sales reframing to change that to a positive or at least a neutral.
And you know what ?
If my colleague had gone back to this supplier apologetically and expecting an unhappy response, I'll bet that's exactly what they would have received.
This demonstrates a very important fact about setting frames.
When it comes to frames of reference, whoever sets the frame controls the subsequent experience.
Every frame controls what we pay attention to and how we order our attention. Every frame also controls how we feel, talk, and respond.
It often pays to Frame the selling process before you start.
I often used to use this method.
I'd warn the client that a price rise was in the pipeline. I didn't know the exact increase yet but he'd better allow for about a 10% increase.
I'd promise to get back to them as soon as I had the figure.
When I came back to them with a 5% increase they were often relieved.
And the price increase was more readily accepted.
This particular type of sales reframing is often called Pre-Framing.
In so doing you directionalise your client's mind to think about the aspects of your offer you want them to pay attention to.
This is a very elegant example of sales reframing.
I know of no better example of pre-framing than the letter below.
It is also a very elegant example of the contrast principle.
"Dear Mother and Dad:
Since I left for college I have been remiss in writing and I am sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before.
I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down.
You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down.
Well, then I am getting along pretty well now.
The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out the window of my dormitory when it caught on fire shortly after my arrival here is pretty well healed now.
I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get those sick headaches once a day.
Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory and my jump, was witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance.
He also visited me in the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him.
It's really a basement room, but it's kind of cute.
He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married.
We haven't got the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.
Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant.
I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child.
The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has a minor infection that prevents us from passing our premarital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him.
I know that you will welcome him into our family with open arms.
He is kind, and although not well educated, he is ambitious.
Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I know your often-expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by that.
Now that I have brought you up to date,
I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire,
I did not have a concussion or skull fracture.
I was not in the hospital,
I am not pregnant,
I am not engaged,
I am not infected,
and there is no boyfriend.
However, I am getting a "D" in American History, and an "F" in Chemistry, and I want you to see those marks in their proper perspective.
Your loving daughter,"
Sales reframing in indeed a valuable skill and can allow you to easily respond to any objection.