The Power of Prizing in Sales

Understanding this will Dramatically Increase Your Sales Success

What is prizing in the sales world? More importantly, how can you take advantage of it to win more business? I believe the best definition of prizing comes from Oren Klaff, author of the best-selling book, Pitch Anything. Prizing is a way to deal with threatening and fast approaching frames that are likely to push you into a low status position. Klaff elaborates that when you prize, you frame yourself as high value in the eyes of your prospect. Prize correctly, and you target will be chasing you.

Before we go any further let me explain what a frame is for context of our discussion. A frame is a cognitive shortcut that people use to help make sense of complex information. Frames provide meaning through simplification by filtering people’s perceptions and providing them vision for a problem. Whether you know it or not we all use frames in every encounter we have with people. Klaff describes a frame as the following. “Imagine looking through a window frame that you hold in your hands. As you move the frame around, the sounds and images that you encounter are interpreted by your brain in ways that are consistent with your intelligence, values and ethics. This is your point of view.” People can look at the same frame as you but see something entirely different and what they hear may be different as well.

This is a key point in any sales communication because it can make or break your success. When frames come together in a business setting, the first thing they do is collide. They collide and the stronger frame wins. Frames don’t mesh or mingle together – one frame out-duels the other – it’s that simple. When you own frame control you run the meeting, your ideas are accepted and ultimately you are in the position of power. This is where we bring in prizing which is a type of frame. To utilize the prize frame, you are making your prospect/customer qualify himself to you. I’ll provide some examples but first let’s look at this from the perspective of sales people.

From the beginning of time, sales people are taught to be needy. I need your business. I need to make quota. I need to kiss your ass to get the business. I need to you to disrespect me. The customer is always right, etc. We are in a new age of business and selling. This approach is weak and doesn’t work anymore. It puts you in a position where you’re the beta and the prospect owns you. Prizing turns the tables on old school sales. I’ve been using prizing for many years and it has certainly served me well. It is basically asking the prospect - why should I do business with you?

Here are some good prizing questions and statements to set the stage. These are questions and statements sales people should be asking their target.

    Can you tell me about yourself and your company?
    We are really selective with who we work with.
    I only have 30 minutes to meet with you today.

What this does is psychologically make the prospect want you. It is human behavior similar to people wanting what they can’t have, chasing that which moves away and placing value on things that are difficult to obtain. They have to earn the right to do business with you. Let’s go back to neediness and sales people because this cannot be understated. If you want a successful career in sales, you cannot thrive using the old techniques from 15-20 years ago. First of all, it will make you hate selling and that will lead to failure. If you choose a career in sales it should be fun and lucrative, not boring and demeaning. In order to utilize prizing, you need to practice it, and just as important, use it in real sales situations.

This article does no good for anyone if it’s read a couple times and filed, or worse, thrown away. You cannot be scared, although it will feel scary, especially at the beginning. You will be asking yourselves questions like… Am I doing the right thing? Shouldn’t I be a “yes” man? I need to be really polite to win the prospect’s business, right? I’m not saying be impolite and mean to your prospects. I’m saying level the playing field and respect yourself, your time and your business. I also understand that you have competition and quotas but prizing works based on experience and historical data. If you set a meeting at 9 am and your prospect shows up at 9:20 stating they only have ten minutes, I’m saying cancel the meeting. Why would you go through that when you traveled to meet him, and he disrespected you and your time?? Unfortunately, we’re trained in sales to smile and say, “no problem, I just appreciate you meeting with me. I know you’re busy.” What prizing does is change your status or as Klaff calls it in his book, creating “star power” – you have the upper hand.

The way I look at my business is there is only one me and a thousand of you, prospects. Why should I do business with you? If you want to make sales fun and develop meaningful relationships, you need to incorporate this frame into your sales arsenal. If you want to keep plodding along, cold calling, and using weak closing tactics, that is fine. If you enjoy that, more power to you. I am a believer that if you commit yourself to be a successful sales person, your relationships need to be based on mutual respect. I’ll talk more about prizing in upcoming blogs as one blog can’t cover all aspects of this frame. Don’t be an eager beaver - take power back from your targets.

Greg McKinney is a respected sales leader and is nationally know as a speaker, sales coach and consultant.  He believes in helping others and serving the good of humanity.  His phenomenally popular website is a must see for all sales leaders, small business owners and sales professionals.

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