Whether you want to supercharge your sales or convince your spouse to take that overseas vacation, changing the frame of reference to your advantage is a powerful technique. Using the re-framing method, you can be the top earner in the office, or buy those new pair of shoes you’ve been pining for. This is for all the positive people who want to have fun buying things or convincing others to buy and to enjoy it. This is for when you want a break from the savings and frugal drudgery.
- Divide the time-frame – Instead of a monthly payment of $30, re-framing this to a daily time-frame, that’s about a dollar a day! This is an easy way to get over the initial shock of a price. Many charities use this method. “Support a child for just pennies a day!” The lower price that you talk about, even though everyone knows it is on a shorter time-frame, subconsciously work to give you the idea that this is a “good deal.” It can work for you too.
- Re-frame which bucket the spending occurs in – If you can re-class the mental accounting “bucket,” the conversation about an item or idea to purchase as an investment instead of “normal” money or money set aside for fun, you’ll be able to access a much larger pot of money that has been programmed to be “invested” in up or down markets.
- Re-frame the feelings from negative to positive – If you re-frame the discussion from spending money to all the great benefits that you get from the product, service, or idea, and you’ll increase the likelihood of getting what you want. This is the related opposite of number 4.
- Re-frame a gain as a loss – Research into the stock market shows that people feel the pain of a loss 4 times greater than they feel joy from a gain. If you can re-frame a gain of a product into the loss of an opportunity, you will have better results. This is the underpinning of the ubiquitous “for a limited time only” sales pitch. With a bit more class this can be a great method to convince someone to buy now.
- Re-frame by changing the units – Changing the cost of something into another unit, such as time can help overcome a price-based objection. This works better for high-income individuals or companies where time really is money. Someone wanting to take a trip to Hawaii for $1,500 who makes $10 an hour needs to work for a full month (before taxes and any other expenses) may not want to hear it.
- Re-frame the frequency – When selling benefits, you can re-frame things so that a onetime benefit becomes an ongoing benefit if continuation is simply assumed. That one-time bike trip to Europe could lead to a lifetime of healthy cycling around town.
- Re-frame the bundle – Adding or taking things out of the bundle can certainly help. You can have a candy bar because you had a salad for lunch. You’ve expanded the bundle of eating to the entire day.
- Re-framing Combo – Use more than two or more of the above re-framing techniques together. Instead of thinking about spending all your money on a $400 pair of shoes, think of all the great days that you’ll have (negative to positive) after you invest in a solid pair of shoes (mental accounting buckets) for only about 9 cents an hour over the next year!
Whether you want to take an amazing vacation, or convince your spouse that diamond earrings really are a great investment, these techniques will help you put the best possible frame on your argument.
See my previous article on re-framing to save money and supercharge your savings.
Readers, do you have any tips or tricks that you use to justify your spending either to yourself or others? What about keeping yourself on the straight and narrow and keeping that wallet in your pocket?
Karl Nygard is the original founder of Cult of Money and created the website to share his ideas on investing, personal finance, and more.