Sales in any industry can be fiercely competitive. That's why you need SPIN Selling to give you a competitive advantage in your sales strategy.
What is SPIN Selling?
SPIN Selling was developed by Neil Rackham after analyzing more than 35,000 sales calls by top sales experts. SPIN equates to the types of sales questions you'd ask prospects to gain their trust and business. The questions are Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff.
SPIN Selling Questions
Use situation questions to collect facts, background information, and other important data about the customer. For example, you could ask the customer which markets their business is hoping to reach.
While you may have already done some research on your own, asking situation questions will kick off the conversation even if you already know their answers. However, limit these questions as too many can weigh the conversation down.
When you ask problem questions, you’re looking for information about the customer’s challenges, shortcomings, or setbacks. These questions uncover implied needs and other desires that are important to the customer.
Problem questions tend to be very effective with smaller sales or shorter sales cycles. For large sales, problem questions often require more discovery and better understand in order to position your solution.
Implication questions compel the buyer to reveal the consequences of the problem. In many cases, this means the financial repercussions caused by the issue.
So, when you skip from problem questions straight to offering a solution, the act of committing to a purchase may seem overwhelming. Asking implication questions allow the prospect to build his or her own case... in their own words. The questions build momentum, allowing the customer to realize the benefits of your product or service are worth the investment.
This type of question focuses on the solution -- which, of course, is your product or service. While you may want to tell the prospect how effective your product could be for their business, hold on. Talking too much will only put you into the weeds.
The best strategy is to ask a few more need-payoff questions that position your product as the clear choice to improving their bottom line.
In "SPIN Selling," Rackham notes sales associates who were successful with large sales used a high number of need-payoff and implication questions. They were able to go beyond the simple problem-solution model and present a more comprehensive process.
SPIN Selling Book
The SPIN Selling Book by Neil Rackham (1988) offers helpful selling tips backed by industry-tested research. Research which was conducted by making over 35,000 sales calls over 12 years. The book is a must-read for anyone who works in high-value sales, but SPIN Selling can also apply to small business sales.
Today, businesses can use the lessons from Rackham's book to fine-tune their sales training. Here, we’ll outline some of the key SPIN sales techniques and reveal how your business can use SPIN Selling to meet your goals.
SPIN Selling Summary
If you’re ready to incorporate SPIN into your sales training, there are two basic principles that can help you get started:
- The buyer should sell his or herself the product: While it’s tempting to push a product on the buyer, it’s important to stick with asking questions. This typically leads to the buyer asking you questions, which gives you an opportunity to showcase your product’s strengths.
- People will purchase from a person they like: Be personable and show interest in your buyer’s thoughts and concerns. Thoughtful questions will communicate this.
SPIN Sales Training
If you're interested in SPIN Sales Training, I found Huthwaite International offers courses several times per year and in many locations around the world.
Even if you’re already aware of the answer to a question, ask it anyway. With personal relationships, asking questions that make the other person feel safe and comfortable can help you foster communication and trust. By incorporating these SPIN Selling tips into your sales communication, your customers will sell the products to themselves.