Admittedly, the fact that reframing supports health is not the main justification for the method of perspective shift. So, what does the sentence “When faced with objections and negotiations, ask the doctor or reframe” mean?
Reframing is a method to prevent your blood pressure and emotions from boiling over during negotiations. If you have to engage in sales offers and negotiation conversations with customers, incorporating the magic of reframing into your sales activities can help keep your blood pressure unaffected by excessive demands, insults, or reprimands. You remain cool, capture the heightened emotions of the other party, and use the perspective shift for your own goals.
But what exactly is reframing, and what magic lies behind it?
You probably know those unwavering optimists who see something positive behind every apparent problem. My father, Kevin, is one of them. As a child, he would ask me, “Where is the problem?” and repeatedly show me the sunny perspectives behind the apparent difficulty.
Later, for example, if my business model was hit hard by the pandemic, he could say, “Where is the problem? You’re currently working from home. Adapt your business model and come up with new training programs.”
Or in the case of an energy crisis and rising costs, he might say, “Where is the problem? You have a roof over your head, and every damn crisis has an expiration date. Things will improve again.”
To establish a connection to sales, reframing changes the other person’s perspective on their initial viewpoint. I first learned about this technique in the early 2000s when I came across the Whish Technique for handling objections.
Imagine each objection as a “one” on a scale from one to ten. Now, imagine that this “one” would much rather be a “ten.” (Please help me, I really want to be a 10 instead of a 1…)
So, if the objection is “I don’t have time,” that would be the “one” on the scale. Now, it may seem a bit absurd, but this “one” wants to be the “ten.” In other words, it sees a flaw in its position.
Question: How can the “one” (I don’t have time) become a “ten”?
Answer: By suddenly having enough time.
Now, envision the conversation between the customer and the salesperson:
Customer: I don’t have time for a meeting with you.
Salesperson: Dear customer, I completely understand that you have a tightly packed schedule. With your role as a managing director and simultaneously also being the sales manager…
<And now, sprint from position 1 to position 10 on the scale>
You would need to understand the benefits within a very short time for you to agree to a meeting. Am I right?
You would need to quickly grasp the advantages you have with our offer. That’s the only way it would be a worthwhile investment of your time. Am I right?
<The customer cannot deny this question if the objection is genuinely sincere…>
Customer: Yes, you’re right.
<Now, continue the conversation with an open question>
Salesperson: Tell me, what is your biggest goal that you want to achieve with the installation of the new software?
Tell me, what are the most significant requirements you have for an advertising medium?
Tell me, what are the major requirements that need to be fulfilled when purchasing the machine?
(With these questions, you keep the conversation going and obtain new information that you can use to secure the appointment.)
Let’s consider another objection: “It’s too expensive.”
Customer: Dear salesperson, that is simply too expensive for me.
Salesperson: Dear customer, I understand that investments of this magnitude need to be carefully considered and budgeted.
<And now the sprint from position 1 to position 10 on the scale.>
So in this case, for every euro invested, at least two euros would need to be returned, am I correct?
It is important to you that this offer has a highly attractive price-performance ratio, isn’t it?
Have I understood correctly that you would only make this investment if there is a significant added value? Am I seeing that right?
Of course, you can address this Wish Technique with any objections.
(Your solution is not usable for us vs. Prove me wrong)
(I am really not interested vs. Make it interesting for me)
(We already have a business partner vs. Show me that you are better)
(… vs. …)
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this technique doesn’t make you sweat or make your pulse race. Because the magic of reframing can be seen not only in handling objections but also in difficult situations, alpha behavior, stalled negotiations, and even disputes that go below the belt.
a) Dealing with alpha individuals
The goal of reframing is not only to reevaluate the matter but also to reassess the person.
Usually, the alpha individual sets the framework, and in most cases, the customer sees themselves as the conversation leader. To make matters worse, the salesperson often has to enter the lion’s den. This is reason enough for many salespeople to accept the customer as the alpha individual.
As salespeople, we can simply turn the tables eloquently and meet the customer on an equal footing. It’s not about “the superior surpasses the subordinate,” but rather “equals meet.”
Therefore, create conditions that immediately show the customer that you are not a pushover. And in this context, the time allocation and the rules for naming the framework conditions of the upcoming meeting (whether digital or face-to-face) are particularly suitable:
- The time frame of the meeting
Salesperson: Ms. Customer, I had mentioned a time slot of just under three-quarters of an hour for this meeting. That should be enough, and I assume it is still fine for you.
- The rules of the meeting
Salesperson: I had mentioned in advance that I would like to ask some questions to better understand your current situation and your goals regarding ___. That way, I can determine if our proposed solution is truly the right one for you.
And of course, you probably have some questions as well, which I will answer for you.
At the end of our meeting, there are usually two possible outcomes. Either you realise that I am not the right provider for your needs, or you realise that I can definitely deliver a top-notch solution for achieving your goals.
May I make a request in this context?
Customer: Go ahead.
Salesperson: If you realise that my solution is not the right cooperation partner for you, please tell me directly. I will do the same if I realise that I cannot help you achieve your goals. Does that sound fair to you?
Honestly, how would you react as a customer if the salesperson started the conversation by setting the framework conditions?
I, for one, would feel immediately engaged by him/her.
b) Dealing with exaggerated demands and unpleasant verbal conflicts
“That is an absolute rip-off that you are proposing. I’m sorry, but that makes you totally untrustworthy.”
Well, is your pulse racing faster, and are you starting to sweat?
Admittedly, there are rarely verbal hits below the belt in customer conversations. However, if you pay attention to the body language of the other person, even friendly formulations have the ability to hurt!
My tip at this point is to reframe the negative statement into a positive one.
It may seem impossible at first, but you create a distance between the negative comment and yourself. With some practice, you can do it without batting an eye.
Remember the “One” that desperately wants to be the “Ten” on the scale (wimper wimper).
You approach the other person’s “unpleasantries” in the same way and look for a positive formulation.
For the above rant, for example, you can respond with:
- “It is completely understandable that price and performance go hand in hand. Which aspect of performance do you think is missing to justify this price?”
With this question, you manage to get your counterpart to specify their concerns.
- “I completely understand that the price-performance ratio plays a major role for you. For what reasons do you think many companies (of your size, in your industry, etc.) choose this premium solution?”
Following the motto “A thousand flies can’t be wrong!”, you can now specifically point out the benefits of your offer, which are, of course, related to their goals.
- “The fact that you value maximum performance at the given price shows that you think and act very commercially. I find that commendable. The real question is how you can significantly minimise idle times and thus have hardly any additional costs due to production downtime. Isn’t that right?”
This wording is strongly based on example 2. You redirect the customer’s argument by addressing another one of their goals.
Reframing is a wonderful method to guide the customer towards a new way of thinking or perspective.
Write down all possible objections and think about the reframing possibilities you could respond with.
This will give you a thicker skin because you have an answer to every objection.
And, of course, it will save you from taking blood pressure tablets.
If you would like further information on different reframing techniques and their beneficial applications, please contact us.