The Power of Pre-Framing

By, Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

Even if you haven’t heard of pre-framing, I’m sure you have experienced it.  Think about when you are having a discussion with a prospective client and at the end of the conversation, you realize you have allowed yourself to be put in the position of having to defend how you charge — and you did not even plan to get into those details at this time.  That prospective client has “framed” the conversation — which puts them in control.

Pre-framing is one of the most valuable secrets of those in sales, whether selling products or services. You are creating in your mind and in others’ what a particular situation, experience, etc. will be.  The key is to word your pre-frames in a way that indicates the outcome is a “fait accompli”.

So how do you control the discussion and eliminate objections before they come up?  You use pre-framing to have that prospective client focus on the value — helping to avoid any perceived negatives before they even become an issue.  They key is to have a strong example which you spell out of how the prospective client can get a great ROI (return on investment).  Remember that “investment” is a term that paints a much more positive vision in the client’s mind than “budget”, etc.  You want them to view what you have to offer as an “investment” in their home.

They may be interviewing other firms and you want to pre-frame their view of your firm as the obvious choice for their needs.  By addressing the positive side of any perceived negatives, you are dealing with objections in advance.  You are showing them how your design firm can best address a return on their investment in the project and so you have “pre-framed” a positive response to your proposal.

In the interview you want to also be a good listener and share that of course the clients with whom you work are serious about making an investment in their homes to create an environment that … and insert here what you have heard them say is important to them – the reason for their project.  Whatever has come through in the discussion as important to them, you want to effectively paint the picture of creating that environment.  Help them see themselves in that picture.

People tend to want what they can’t have or what is difficult to have.  Because it is more difficult to acquire, it seems more exclusive.  If your approach is as the expert in your field and the impression is that you are not able to take every job, or at least not immediately because your firm is in demand, you automatically become more desirable.  You create in their mind that you are the “prize” they desire, and you are much more in control of the proposal.

A good pre-frame has the power to change the way people think and respond to you. Use pre-framing to influence the results you get in any situation and experience you have each and every day.

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