“Foreshadow” to Build Value During Sales Calls

fortune_cookie_message2In a recent post we referenced the cardinal selling-sin of making premature presentations during sales calls.

These “premature” presentations sound like old-fashioned sales pitches that are based more on “what we offer” rather than “what you’ll get.”  In other words, they are feature-rich and benefits-poor.

Good Intentions / Bad Results
In many instances, a sales person’s good intentions can lead to a premature presentation. This happens when a buyer’s need or problem surfaces and the seller “rushes” to the rescue by immediately offering a solution.

Despite the good intention, the result is usually bad because the sales person has not taken the time to establish the true value that might well be associated with the solution.  Yet the urge to satisfy the buyer is strong, and can be tough to resist…

A better course of action is to use the technique of “foreshadowing,” which allows the seller to provide some instant satisfaction to the buyer while still holding-off on going too far before confirming that the solution will be the right one and also confirming the buyer’s receptivity level.

A simple method of foreshadowing would involve the sales person saying something like, “Wow! Based on what you’ve just told me I think you’ll really like our solution… but before I tell you about it, can you tell me a little more about the impact of this problem…?”

This approach is truly win-win, as both parties are able to recognize that something good is coming (something of value!), but the seller is still able to probe further into the situation before presenting the solution in full. This enables the seller to uncover or confirm the implications of the need, to measure the buyer’s initial reaction, and hopefully, to quantify the benefits and value that the soon-to-be-explained solution will provide.

If all goes well, the result will be a happy buyer as well as a happy seller!

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