I’ve realized something recently — I’ve been swayed too easily by my kids’ frustrations…
And if I don’t get this in check, it will leak through and impact my ability to sell — in person and in print.
In fact, the way that I can correct this… is ALSO the secret to closing more sales!
Let’s dive in…
Life is hard.
In fact, the Buddha said, “All existence is suffering.”
This is a guy who grew up sheltered, as a prince. He had everything he wanted. All the riches. All the luxury. Anything he wanted, was his. And by the time he was a young adult, he was miserable. In fact, simply being around him made everyone else miserable, too.
Turns out growing up with everything made him a big nobody.
Out of frustration, he left home — to live with nothing. With all the riches and all his desires fulfilled, he wasn’t happy. So he decided to try living without all the accoutrements of royalty, and instead live a life with nothing.
His suffering changed, but it persisted.
With money, one kind of suffering. Without, another kind.
And so the story goes, he sat under a fig tree. Some stories say seven days, others much longer.
He wanted to understand why, both with and without material objects, he suffered.
His realization then teachings grew into the Buddhism we know today, and parallel realizations from many great thinkers, philosophers, teachers, religious icons, and gurus throughout history.
Basically, living involves wanting and needing. The gap between what you want or need and what you have is an acute source of suffering. But fulfilling one want is not enough to eliminate suffering. Fulfilling one want and closing that gap simply opens another, until you die.
To exist, to live, is to suffer.
What the heck does this have to do with 1. The story of my kids, and 2. Marketing and selling?
Let’s start with the kids.
As kids, without wisdom and experience, we see things in the world and we want them.
And we don’t get everything we want. And even when we get what we want, it only provides a temporary source of happiness, never permanent satisfaction.
To make matters worse, there’s the enemy: parents!
Sometimes, it’s just that we can’t have something we want. That’s frustrating enough.
But when it’s parents intentionally withholding something (e.g. screen time, or the next toy), or forcing us to do something when we want to do something else (e.g. making us clean up our mess when we want to sit around)…
It’s incredibly frustrating!
Maturing is the process of becoming more and more okay with not getting everything we want.
To accept that we can’t always get what we want…
We try sometimes…
And we get what we need!
But maturing is not a straight line…
Often our best wisdom does not translate to all situations!
For example, I know that there’s a handful of things I’d love to do all day long. And while I enjoy my work immensely and find it incredibly fulfilling, I could probably find things that provide more immediate gratification than work.
And yet, I go toward work and away from immediate gratification because I’ve learned to accept that embracing the suffering of work (maintaining the language from above) provides richer rewards than other things that may be more immediately gratifying.
In other words, in some areas of my life, I feel pretty darn enlightened. (Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)
But NOT all areas!
This same realization, wisdom, and embracing of hard work doesn’t necessarily translate to how I respond when my kids are frustrated with me asking them to clean up, for example.
They get frustrated. The hard but more richly-rewarding work is to actually engage with them with love and kindness, and use that to direct the situation to the ideal outcome. The immediate gratification? Fight back, matching frustration with frustration. An argument ensues, and everyone goes to bed angry.
My suffering there comes from my attachment to trying to get them to do what I say, when I say it.
But life doesn’t happen that way!
The only way I can control the situation is to own my frame, and use that to reset the outcome…
And stick with me, because we’re going to pivot to talking about an incredible secret of the world’s best salespeople in a minute…
“Owning your frame” is terminology from NLP, or Neurolinguistic Programming.
Basically that means controlling the perspective you have on the situation. And through controlling your perspective, you control your interpretation, thoughts, feelings, and reaction to the situation.
Put the situation in a different frame — in your mind — and you change the outcome.
But even more important, when you CHOOSE the frame, it means you’re taking control of the situation, not letting the situation take control of you.
So, for example, when I tell the kids to pick up, they get frustrated, and I let that frustration control my response? They own the frame. I’m giving them control.
When I tell them to pick up, they get frustrated, and I choose not to get frustrated, but instead pivot and respond in a different way that lets me keep control (of myself, at the very least)? I own the frame. I maintain control.
In this particular instance, one thing I’ve been experimenting with is humor. Starting the fight, but in a playful way, that makes fun of my own frustration. Being silly-angry, instead of really angry. Being the butt of my own joke.
There’s a lot of ways to take ownership of your frame — no matter how you do it, the outcome is the same…
Every moment of your life is dictated by the frames you hold.
Yes, there are external forces that will always be acting on you. But you choose how you respond to them.
This is why rich kids can become miserable, broke adults, and why poor kids can change the world or make a fortune.
It’s about the frames they control.
It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it.
But here’s the thing.
Most people have no freaking clue how to own the frame of a situation.
Most people let life happen to them.
Most people are miserable, and experience endless suffering as a result.
If it’s not all the things they don’t have and wish they did, it’s all the things they have and wish they didn’t.
This includes everyone you’re selling to.
This means it’s actually easy to take control of a situation by defining your own frame, and thus the frame of the entire interaction…
Yes, occasionally you’ll run into prospects who are in control of their frame in such a grounded and powerful way, that at best you’ll meet them in the middle…
But for the most part, we’re all running around like I unfortunately have when asking my kids to pick up and being met with frustration…
Behaving like kids in a grown-up body.
A really good salesperson? By defining and owning their frame, they become the grown-up in the room.
They take a natural position of authority.
They control themselves, and so they control the room.
Which means they also have the capability to close the sales.
Please only use this on two conditions…
First and foremost, I hope you’ll only use this to sell when you are selling something that you truly believe, with good reason, will make your prospect’s life better. This is a powerful principle that can be used from a place of good or bad morals. Please use it for good.
Second, this can be used win-lose, as well as win-win. The world’s most persuasive people know how to use this very same principle to get people to do what they don’t want to do. For example, they can close a sale that’s not in the prospect’s best interest. Not good!
Here’s one example of a frame I like to use for selling, courtesy of Jay Abraham. And yes, it meets the two conditions above.
I work hard to make sure I’m selling products and services I believe in, that are among the best possible solutions to whatever problem or challenge it is my prospect faces. With that in mind, it becomes my moral obligation to make my best possible pitch, for that product or service, and do everything in my power to move that prospect to action.
This is Jay’s Strategy of Preeminence. Be the best solution, and make damn sure the prospect knows it.
When you adopt this as a frame, it will not work every time, but you will close more sales.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,