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The Beginning: Setting Frames Right From The Start

Jan 1, 2008
Beginnings are everywhere all the time. Everything has a beginning, middle and end. And when we begin with clarity and intention, it sets our path for what we can expect. Sitting down to start a presentation with a new client or prospect, how do you begin?

What are your frames? Do you frame it as a mutual cooperation? Or frame it as 'I'm right, you're wrong'? Do you frame it as, 'You need me to satisfy this particular need'? Or do you frame it as 'I am going to help you figure out what you want and need in this transaction and I intend to give it to you'?

Before you begin, take a moment to identify the frames you are starting with. Don't come up with the frame you *think* you should be starting with, but the *actual* frame that you have been starting with. It is probably different from person to person, but ultimately, you have your own agenda set from the get go and by identifying what exactly this is, you have the power to change it if necessary.

The following are two frames which my students came up with.

"I'm here to help you get what you want."

And, "I want to find out what you need.'

And here's some insight into these two frames:

'I'm here to help you get what you want', puts you directly in the picture, you are in the frame. 'I want to find out what you need' is theoretical, it's information, but it is not action and does not put you in the frame.

The key is to insert yourself into your prospect's mind so that you are equated with the answer.

Life without action isn't much of a life. You must be taking action. One of the best ways to take action is by setting your frame in the beginning right out of the gate. That frame is: I'm going to help you get what you want.

Now maybe what they want is not to do business with you because you're not a good fit. Fine, I'll help you not do business with me. I'll help say goodbye and part friends. Nice. No problem. I appreciate you not wasting my time.

But if you don't insert yourself right into the frame to begin with, then you end up running the risk of having a bigger issue. And that bigger issue is that you're not seen as a person that they are going to take action with.

This is a subtle distinction but one that counts in a big way. The person who sets the frame from the start, wins. Consider this when you begin.

If you leave yourself out of the frame, your prospect will know this. The may simply thank you for the information you've given them and then leave.

There's nothing manipulative in my opinion about inserting yourself into the frame. After all, they came to see you, or you came to see them and they let you in. It would be manipulative if you tried to give them something they didn't need or want.

As the saying goes, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression.' I'd go even further and say, 'You never get a second chance to powerfully, persuasively, positively set that first frame with yourself as the solution to your prospect's needs and wants.'

As you begin, let this be your intention.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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