Don't Step Into Someone Else's Frame

When negotiating, it’s important to control the frame in which the conversation is happening. The frame constrains what kinds of ideas can be explored and the rules that govern evaluating them. When you step into someone else’s frame in a negotiation, you become bound to the constraints they set.

For example, in a sales call, you might be speaking with a customer about pricing. They might ask why you are charging per employee and what the value is. By responding directly to this question, you inadvertently accept it’s frame (incremental value per employee) and the ideas you share to justify value now need to fit within that frame or it won’t make sense.

In the example situation, if you feel like your position is weaker in that frame, it would be better to pop up a level and establish a new frame that plays to your strengths. “Pricing this way enables us to provide $THING_THEY_WANT for a fraction of the cost of $ALTERNATIVE”.

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