Frame of reference: noun, plural frames of reference.
1.a structure of concepts, values, customs, views, etc., by means of which an individual or group perceives or evaluates data, communicates ideas, and regulates choices and behavior.

When you say, “Selling,” for example, I immediately need to evaluate that concept in my mind in order to understand it, so, instantaneously, all the files in my memory relating to my experience of that subject are pulled and evaluated, so I know what I understand by the term. That doesn’t make my perception and understanding accurate, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’re talking about the same thing!

So when I talk with someone about my product or service, or any concept, for that matter, he is limited by his experiences and memories regarding that subject, and in many cases we’re talking about two different things entirely. National cultures, age, philosophies, and types of business involvement further muddy the waters of communication. An example is arrogant, ignorant North Americans arguing with me about the state of things and people in Africa, when I lived there for 45 years and everything they know is based on politicized media and other misinformation. It’s like me trying to understand the Israel / Palestine situation; we need common ground and guidelines.

The simple way to overcome this when selling any concept or idea, persuading anyone to do anything, or helping someone to understand something, is to see it from their perspective, obviously. And, while that can be nearly impossible in many cases, it’s the only way that really works, because in many cases the understanding required is progressive after the initial buy-in or consent. 

Take for another example the case of a young missionary trying to convert / proselytize someone who belongs to a religion he doesn’t understand, or is an atheist, and has arguments and questions that the missionary can’t deal with or understand, much less answer and address.

Here are a few guidelines:

1. What does HE believe and understand about the concept / solution I am offering?

2. What got him to that belief?

3. What does he really want?

4. WHY does he want it? What will get his attention? What is his Hot Button?

5. Do I believe my concept will solve or alleviate his problem? (If not, walk away or refer him to someone else who can help him / relate to him / understand him.)

6. Can he afford it?

7. Does he have / will he make the time to use it?

8. What is his level of motivation?

9. What is the lowest entry barrier to get him to take the first step along the journey of buying in?

10. Does this initial step / buy-in match the prospect’s abilities, understanding, lifestyle, personality?

Just look at all the clues you good gather about me by simply looking at this picture of a small section of my office. Be a detective – learn all you can about your prospect before barging blindly in to a sale.

Then, of course, comes the all-important CLOSE, that’s a whole other subject, but if the presentation is effective, the prospect will often close himself.

Robin Elliott