The $10 Million Question
Volume 1 Issue 4 - December 14, 2011
Getting people to actually pay attention to your sales message can be a daunting challenge these days.
Even if they do listen, will you be able to convince them that you and your product or service aren't just like everyone else?
In today's issue of the Six Secrets Newsletter you will learn how (and why) asking the $10 Million Dollar Question can radically shift the mindset of your prospective customer and separate you from the pack.
Share your thoughts on this issue. Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
To your success,
Publisher & Editor
Six Secrets Newsletter
The $10 Million Dollar Question
Framing Your Sales Message for Maximum Results
by Andrew Seltz
People tend to be price shoppers - we are hard-wired to compare stuff. Most of us believe that there is little to no difference between the many products and services we shop for, so the decision comes down to price. Getting the typical visitor to your online sales page to really listen to your message, and believe in you and the value of your product, is a big challenge.
The meaning and value we give to something depends heavily on the context in which we see it. Power persuaders control this context (also known as a frame) when presenting a sales message.
Let me show you what I mean with a quick example. This simple (but effective) question provides a very good illustration of the power of contextual frames.
The $10 Million Dollar Question:
"If I offered to give you $10 million dollars to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, would you do it?"
STOP: Before you read further, decide yes or no to this simple question - Would You Jump?
Now that you have made your decision, I have a couple more questions for you that might make you rethink your choice.
In your mind...
- How high did you imagine the airplane would be flying?
- How fast did you imagine the airplane would be flying?
- What surface did you imagine landing on after your freefall?
- Were you planning on spending the money yourself or did you think that you would be leaving it to others after your death?
- Did you imagine that I would only be willing to give you so much money in exchange for doing something very risky?
Your answers to these questions created the frame you used to interpret the original question about jumping out of an airplane. This frame led to your conclusion about what would happen to you if you jumped.
Usually people assume the airplane would be flying high and fast and that they would die on impact (splat) if they jumped...
...when I used this question in face-to-face selling situations, that is exactly what I wanted them to think and I guided them toward choosing this frame! (Cue evil laugh...bwahahahahah!)
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Would You Change Your Mind If You Knew...
I'm going to assume you chose not to jump (as a member of the Six Secrets Newsletter, you probably knew there was more to the story and wouldn't answer without asking more questions - but, just humor me and pretend you chose not to jump.)
I have asked this question many times in face-to-face selling situations. I never had someone tell me they would jump from the plane without a parachute.
When asked why they would give up $10 million dollars so easily, the typical response was something like: 'I can't spend it if I'm dead!!!'
That response was gold!
Why was it so valuable? Because it confirmed that the person had assumed the plane was flying high and fast and I could confidently re-frame the question by asking...
..."would you choose differently if you knew it was a small single-engine airplane that was parked safely on the ground?"
Would that new information have changed your initial decision?
The Secret of the $10 Million Question
The whole point of this question is not to play games with prospective customers. I asked it for an important reason. The purpose of the $10 Million Dollar Question is to break the price-shopping frame a prospect uses to interpret a sales message and give them a new one that allows me to separate my product from the competition and establish it's value.
The marketplace encourages people to be price shoppers. They are conditioned to believe there is little or no difference between various products or services in the marketplace. If they don't think you are different from your competition...
...why should they pay a premium to work with you?
Step one in the process of making a sale and getting top dollar for your product is to interrupt the price-shopping frame. You can do this by dramatically illustrating the importance of knowing more information before making a decision.
The $10 Million Dollar Question helps shift people's contextual frame by getting them thinking about large sums of money, matters of life and death, and the importance of knowing all the important facts before making a decision. And, it raises these ideas in a non-threatening way.
Change the Frame and you Change the Game
When I ask this question one-on-one, re-framing the question with the new details usually brings a laugh. I make sure to laugh with them and say that I would probably make the same choice if it weren't for the experiences I have had as a seller (never give anyone the impression that you think they are stupid.)
Nobody will pass up the $10 million dollars if they know the airplane is parked safely on the ground. Knowing that, I can re-frame the whole sales conversation with one more question.
Once their guard is lowered , I can easily focus their attention to my sales message by saying:
"You just missed an opportunity to get $10 million dollars because you did not have all the information you needed to make the best decision.
Think of all the things you could have done with that 10 million dollars.
Now, if I simply give you a price for my product without taking time to tell you exactly what you will be getting for your money, you won't know whether you are getting the best value for your investment - you might miss out on another opportunity because I failed to share the information you need to make a wise decision today.
Does it make sense to take a few extra minutes to find out exactly what you will get when you invest in our product today?"
This process worked over and over again for me. It got people focused on the sales message, it broke the ice a little, and it got people to accept the reality that they were going to need to devote some attention to my sales presentation.
Bonus Benefit: Re-framing a sales message this way also casts doubt on any other person who quotes a price without giving a full sales presentation. After all, if they didn't bother clearly explaining what they were going to provide for the money, it could be because they were going to cut corners - right?
There are a few other sales techniques (like embedded commands) at work in this little example, but the power of framing is front and center. Controlling the frame through which your message is heard is critical - specially online.
The most carefully crafted sales message can be completely undermined if seen through the wrong frame.
Putting Frames To Work For Your Online Business
Interesting technique, but you are selling on the Internet - not face-to-face. So, what can you learn from the $10 Million Dollar Question that will help you frame (or re-frame) your online sales message?
The Power of Questions and Stories
Asking questions is a great way to frame a message. When you ask a question the listener has to consider it in order to reply. And, you can ask questions loaded with presuppositions, embedded commands, and other language that primes the mind of the reader to be receptive to your message.
Embedding your re-framing questions in stories is a powerful method of slipping past people's defenses to engage them on an emotional level.
When you tell a story, the listener/reader naturally puts themselves inside the story in the place of the main character. They feel the emotions of the hero. Then, when they are engaged in the story, you can direct a question to them.
I have used this approach in this article. I told a story about a tactic I used during a face-to-face sales situation. As I described the question I would ask a prospect, I turned to you (figuratively speaking) and asked how you would respond - a question embedded in a story.
Don't Forget The Subliminal Frames
We have talked a lot about using words to frame your sales message, but there are other frames that are equally important (and easy to implement.)
Pay careful attention to the format and visual design of your websites and emails. If your site looks like the spammy hyped-up websites that people associate with con-artists, they will assume the message they are reading or hearing is coming from a con-artist.
Follow the standards set by the elite figures in your market, and people will unconsciously associate you with them. Model the people your prospects admire and then separate yourself from them with your brilliant sales message.
We'll talk more about subliminal frames in future issues.
Pay more attention to your frames and watch the performance of your persuasion efforts explode.
Do you have a comment or question about using contextual frames then leave a note in the comment section below.