Tag Archives: overcoming objections

Sales Objections and The Contrast Frame


In terms of answering sales objections sometimes it’s good to use contrast to your advantage.


On my website I have some pages relating to Robert Cialdini’s influence patterns from his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. (A great book and a MUST read if you are serious about being a sales person)


Cialdini discusses the Contrast Principle at some length in his book.


The contrast principle can be used when you are dealing with price objections to make the cost of your offer look smaller. The idea is to compare your price to something larger so it doesn’t look so expensive. You may compare your price to the extra profit the client will make or to your competitors or to the much larger costs inherent in the client’s business.


Let’s explain the contrast principle and see how it works.


The contrast principle affects the way we see the difference between two things that are presented one after another.


Simply put, if the second item is fairly different from the first, we will tend to see it as more different than it actually is.


So if we lift a light object first and then lift a heavy object, we will estimate the second to be heavier than if we had lifted it without first trying the light object.


If we talking to a beautiful woman at a cocktail party and are then joined by an unattractive one, the second woman will strike us as less attractive than she actually is. 


The point is that the same thing can be made to seem very different, depending on the nature of the event that precedes it.


Examples of The Contrast Principle in action include:

  • Retail clothiers selling the expensive suit so it’s easier to seel you shirt and tie later.
  • Car sales people selling relatively cheap accessories after you’ve agreed to purchase the much more expensive car.
  • Real estate companies using “setup” properties where they take you to a couple of overpriced houses before they show you the house they think you will want.
  • Warning your customers of an upcoming 10% price increase when you know the increase will only be 5%.


The great advantage of this principle is not only that it works but also that it is virtually undetectable. Those who employ it can cash in on its influence out any appearance of having structured the situation in their favour.


In relation to Objections the principle of contrast is often used when you run into a price objection.


Client says to you, “Your premium service would cost me an extra $1000/year.”


Using “contrast” you could reply, “That’s right for about $2.50 a day you could have all the advantages of the premium service.”


$2.50 a day seems much less than $1000, doesn’t it?


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