SPIN is one of the foundations of our training. SPIN minimizes objections and identifies buyer needs. It is one of the best ways to increase the productivity of the sales team, leading to more effective communication and quicker sales cycles. SPIN selling is the brainchild of Neil Rackham, based on his analysis of over 35,000 sales calls covering large, complicated sales scenarios.
Before jumping into what SPIN questions are, there are some foundational points to cover. A buyer really has two sets of needs:
Implied needs – a statement of a buyer’s problems or dissatisfaction with the current situation.
Explicit needs – Clear statement of buyer’s want, or desire to act.
“You never persuade clients of anything. Clients persuade themselves. You have to feel their problems just the way they feel them. You have to sit on their side and look at issues from their point of view.”
Keeping these fundamentals in mind, SPIN covers 4 types of questions:
Used to discover the buyer’s existing situation. Situation questions are the least powerful of the SPIN questions. They also have a negative relationship to success because the typical salesperson may ask too many.
- Example: How many people do you employ at this location?
- Advice: Eliminate unnecessary situation questions by doing your homework in advance.
Asking about problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions that the buyer experience with the situation. People only buy when they have needs, and problem questions draw out the cause of the need. These questions are more powerful than situation questions and are asked more often the more experience the salesperson. The clearer the need, the greater the probability of buying.
- Example: What makes this operation difficult? Which parts of the system create errors?
- Advice: Think of your products or services in terms of the problems they solve for buyers, not in terms of the details or characteristics that your products possess.
Asking about the consequences of effects of a buyer’s problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions. This is the most powerful of the SPIN questions, and are asked by the top salespeople. Implication questions are used to discover the consequences, effects, or implications of the buyer’s situations. They build the seriousness of the problem and determine the negative impact on the Value Chain. They are used to focus on consequences and linking the problem to other problems.
- Example: What happens when you need information about a customer in the evening, and you’re at home?
- Advice: These are hardest to ask, so plan them carefully before key calls.
Asking about the value or usefulness of a proposed solution. This is a versatile type of question used by top salespeople to get the buyer to tell you the benefits that your solution can offer. It makes the value and importance of a solution clear, increasing the attractiveness of the solution and maximizing the impact on the value-chain. It focuses on the payoff of the solution and probes for explicit needs.
- Example: How would a quieter printer help?
- Advice: Use these questions to get the buyer to tell you the benefits that your solution can offer, making the solution more tangible for the buyer.
Including SPIN questions organically through the course of a call or meeting with a potential client is a proven way to move the sales process forward and close deals faster. This is why training your sales team on how to prepare SPIN questions, how to tactfully insert them into the conversation, and how to glean information from them is so effective in increasing their performance. And this is why it is one of the foundations of our training.
Don’t forget, you can contact us for more information about employing this training in your organization.