*This content was originally shared on February 15, 2018 with business owners on The Seasoned Marketer email distribution list. To receive my most recent content, join the email list here: Add me to the List
Have you ever met someone that could sell ice to an eskimo? It seems that some people are just born with a 'knack' for framing information in such a way that even an eskimo who is surrounded by ice, would want to BUY ice! But the truth is that framing, whether used in direct sales or marketing, is an art that only gets better with practice. And just like any true artist would tell you, continually learning new techniques will help your art form.
Which do you prefer? 75% Lean Beef or 25% Fat Beef?
For many customers, when given the option, they will choose the option that is framed positively. In this case, they'd gladly choose the 75% Lean Beef because a) it has the bigger percentage and b) it has the word lean and not fat.
*I'm smiling as I write this because a few years ago my husband called me out on how I 'lightly' suggest that he do things "Don't you want to turn here...", "Wouldn't you like to do the dishes.." Trust me, it works - 95% success rate LOL
Framing a statement can not only help you recruit help for your chore list, but can also influence your customer. Yes, it is THAT powerful.
As you already know, as humans we are naturally assumptive by nature. The way in which information is delivered helps us shape our assumptions and can positively influence the way we look at the information at hand.
Please do not read this as me telling you to LIE to your customers. Framing does not feed people misinformation, it just takes the information and delivers it within a certain context. You see it everyday in grocery stores with the "Buy One, Get One Free" ads. Truth is (at least for Bi-Lo's and Publix), if you buy ONLY one of the particular item - it will ring up at half price. But by framing it as "Buy One, Get One Free" they know that customers will perceive it as 'hey, I would be spending $3 on this box of pasta and instead I now get 2 boxes of pasta for $3'. If the ad was written as "Half Price Sale on Pasta", you would naturally be less prone to buy 2 boxes (especially if you only needed 1 to make dinner tonight). Ta-da...framing!
So, let's get into the nitty gritty...
There are 3 main types of Framing techniques that you can use in your marketing & sales:
Psychologically, people take losses worse than gains. Think about it ...if you score high on your annual performance review and receive all compliments but receive one criticism, which do you remember? The criticism, the "loss".
You can motivate customers by replacing a potential gain with a potential loss. For example:
- Instead of stating, "You will save money by replacing your tanning bed with our self-tanner spray" try "You are losing money every month by choosing a tanning bed instead of our self-tanner"
Pointing out the current loss of money is far more compelling to a customer than pointing out a potential gain.
Showing your customers that there may be a potential negative to your product or service isn't always a bad thing.
Researchers have shown that when it comes to persuasion mixing a minor negative detail in an otherwise positive frame can make a powerful impact. (Keyword here is MINOR!)
For example: If your self-tanner is maybe more expensive per bottle than other options but lasts longer than you could approach the sale as "While you may be thinking that our price per bottle is a little steeper than what you would find at your local CVS - it is also not an item CVS would carry. Our self-tanner is higher quality, only needing one application (not two or three) and will lasts twice as long as any self-tanning spray bottle on CVS shelves".
Identify the potential 'blemish', acknowledge it and turn it into a strength.
It is natural for us to talk about past successes when trying to sell to a new customer. "Our acne face wash helped Jane with her acne in 6 weeks".
Instead consider spending less time talking about past successes and more time building a vision with your current customer. Emphasis the promise of what you and your customer can do together as a team. Potential is much more attractive.
- Instead of "Our acne face wash helped Jane with her acne in 6 weeks" consider framing the message as "You and I can work together to figure out the best combination of facial products for your complexion so that we can effectively manage (and even get rid of) your acne"
Building a potential 'future' with your customer is far more alluring than just telling them what worked for Jane.
This brief, but effective, overview of framing techniques can help you with steering a potential customers decision. The funny thing is our mama's have been teaching us this since we were kids, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it!"
Did you find this content useful? Feel free to share your thoughts with me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave me a comment below!