Language for Sales

By Trevor Coltham

The Agreement Frame is a useful language pattern to redirect a person’s argument or objection rather than attempting to persuade or justify the merits of your offer or point of view.

Agreement Frames are one of the best methods to reduce or refocus resistance when communicating with people, especially during negotiations.

In a sales or business context, the agreement frame can take one or more of the following forms:

I respect……..and……..

I appreciate/understand……..also……..

I agree……..also……..and……..

So how does the agreement frame relate to sales?

Here’s an example for when presenting a sales proposal to a prospect. The proposal contains a labour rate of $100 per hour. The prospect objects to this proposal by saying “I can get the job done $20/hr cheaper elsewhere.”

When the salesperson tries to justify to the prospect why the rate is more expensive, the prospect closes the conversation by saying "I will go away, think about it and come back to you."

At this stage, the salesperson has difficulty continuing the discussion. This makes the sales process longer and lose momentum in the opportunity.

On the other hand, if the salesperson used an agreement frame like:

'I AGREE that there are different rates in the market AND I'm sure you will agree that you often get a better job done in less time by a professional team with more expertise.’

It is important to:

Acknowledge the prospects words upfront. This allows the prospect to feel heard, reduce emotional tension and creates an open mind.

By using the word AND:

You link what they said to where you want to take the conversation.

Then you can value add:

"Our professional and experienced team save you time, hassle and money over time"

There are many ways to use the Agreement Frame language pattern. When used well, it even allows professional salespeople to get excited by objections because it enables them to develop deeper rapport, instil curiosity and deal with potential stalls now while remaining fully present in the conversation.

Here are few more examples you can use when you engage with a sales prospect:

  • I appreciate that you want the best price ALSO can I ask what else is important to you?

  • I hear you saying you feel you need more information AND how will you get a feeling you have all the information you need to make your decision?

  • I understand you need more quotes AND I’m curious. Other than price, what criteria will you use to differentiate us?

Learn how you can assess your sales team’s agreement frames with SG Partners Sales Evaluations.