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”.

See also:

  • Door in the Face Negotiation

    The door-in-the-face technique is a negotiating tactic is when you ask for something rediculous so that your next ask is more likely to be agreed to. This has been proven to be effective in a psychology study in 1975 and then replicated in 2021.

  • It’s Hard to Sell If You Have to Convince People There Is a Problem

    Selling something is already difficult enough but when you have to sell the problem first, it’s even hRder. That’s because convincing someone about a problem they didn’t know they have is like trying to push the bolder uphill. Sure it’s possible, it just takes a lot more effort.