Resistance: The action of opposing something. Resistance is typically a limiting belief or attitude about what is being presented. As a sales representative, you will want to relax these restrictions those limitations impose, and a simple, effective way to do that is with proven language techniques and processes.

All of our thoughts and actions are undertaken within a frame of reference of which we may or may not be conscious. Sometimes these frames lock customers into very restrictive thinking that limits the choices they have. Using the following techniques can assist your customers to get a different perspective on a problem and potentially other possible solutions.

These techniques offer the potential of “softening up” the resistance so a resolution is more plausible, as well as opening up the customer to the solution you present. These language patterns and techniques focus on influence by challenging, and thus changing, customer beliefs. In persuasion, it’s vital to help customers open up to what you’re saying. The techniques I will discuss will help you to do just that and you will be able to do it in what seems like a normal conversation.

This technique is called reframing.

Reframing involves helping customers to reinterpret problems and find solutions by changing the frame in which they perceive the problem. So, you will want to change the frame from which the customer is viewing a particular issue to loosen up the resistance and make them more open to listening to your solution. That is reframing.

Let me give you a picture of a reframe. Picture a small little fish happily swimming along. Now pan the picture back and notice a bigger fish directly behind the little fish with its mouth wide open. Pan the picture back even further and notice an even bigger fish behind both fish with its mouth wide open. As you can see, as I changed the size of the frame, the meaning of what you perceived changed. That is reframing; you change how the customer is framing the issue and you change their perception of the issue.

Reframes focus on changing how a customer views an issue. Their statement to you is framed as a problem frame, for example: “expensive” or “too new”. The problem frame leads to focusing on the negative: Undesired symptoms and their causes. You need to shift that perspective by changing the frame to the outcome frame, for example: “wants greater access to the product” or “wants confidence in the product,” which lead to focusing on the positive: goals and results, which are easier to address and resolve.

For example, “too new”. You change the frame from a problem frame, “too new,” to an outcome frame, “wants to have confidence in the product”.

So, Mr. Customer, how do you verify a product will work before you actually use it?

As you can see, this starts the discussion down a more productive path to resolving the issue.

Another type of reframe is to use an analogy, either from outside of their industry or within the industry. Let’s take the statement: “It’s expensive,” and your product has more to offer than your competitor, for example: Greater options. You can use the analogy to buying a particular model of car.

You usually have a choice of options for that model of car and the more options you want, more you have to pay because you are getting a greater value.

Or you could relate it closer to home by discussing the cost of health insurance.

You can pay a little or a lot for health insurance; if you want greater coverage and more options, you will be paying a higher premium.

The best way to use this skill is to take the time to develop a number of reframes and/or analogies you can use from both within the industry and from outside the industry to address the negative beliefs about your product and have them at the ready.

Sometimes, it may take more than just one analogy to loosen up the customer’s belief.