When it comes to sales, how you make the sale determines whether or not it will be bought or not. If you get it right, then you will be a valuable salesperson to any team. If you are a salesperson, chances are you have heard of the SPIN method. It is a technique mentioned in SPIN Selling, a book by Neil Rackham.
Based on research about the art of sales, Rackham uses an analysis completed after 12 years and over 35,000 sales calls. He completed this to better understand what makes selling efficient.
What is SPIN?
The idea of SPIN selling is that the transaction relationship between the salesperson and the customer is focused on the customer.
SPIN stands as an acronym for:
Situation Questions. These questions help you understand the situation you wouldn’t otherwise find out through research. This helps qualify the lead. It is best to ask these questions during the opening.
Example Question: What tools are you using for cold emailing?
Problem Questions. For the investigation stage, these help you find out the issues that matter most to the customer.
Example Question: Are you happy with the conversion rates currently?
Implications Questions. These questions are to help understand the effect of the customer’s problem. These questions are the most important. They help you understand the issues faced and how the customer handles them. Implication questions are for the selling stage.
Example Question: How has this problem affected your customer service team?
Need-payoff Questions. Finally, these questions ask how urgent the problem needs to be fixed. These are closing questions. They help remove negative thoughts about the product or service from the customer.
Example Question: Do you think that solving this problem will help you achieve your sales goals?
In Rackham’s book, SPIN Selling, he observed that the rate of selling successfully was higher when the salesperson listened more while the buyers do most of the talking. While this makes sense, salespeople know their products and services like the back of their hand. So oftentimes, they will just go straight into their talk about why it should be bought. One other issue of the SPIN method is that time can be a constraint.
But, as a salesperson, you need to be focused on active listening to what the customer wants. Otherwise, you won’t know what they want. Setting this time aside to listen gives your brand a loyal customer for life.
4 Stages of the SPIN Method
When you first meet with your customer, establish a rapport with them. Ask relevant questions so that you can collect data and learn what it is that they need. Don’t try to push your products immediately, otherwise, you will not get any sales. Also, showing that genuine interest will build up the relationship between seller and consumer.
After getting to know one another and feeling more comfortable, now is your chance to start probing. Ask questions about problems they are facing. That way, you can learn more about the problem and figure out what product or service of yours is best to use. Be sure to know what each of your products does so that you seem like a more trustworthy person.
3. Demonstrating Capability
At this point, you should have a good grasp of what issues the customer is facing. That means you should also have a good idea of what product or service is the best for the job. This is where you explain the features of the product or service and its benefits. You may go through a couple of options first, but showcasing your demonstrations is what also brings people and money in.
4. Obtaining Commitment
In the end, the customer now makes their decision. The outcomes include:
Advance. The customer commits an action to bring the deal to a close. To have an advance, usually, the customer wants to look at pricing, use tools, look at deals, etc. Use active listening skills to notice if they ask for more information about your product or service.
Continuation. Sometimes, the sales conversation doesn’t go the way you think. When a continuation happens, it means that the customer does not agree with the next steps that take the deal further.
No-Sale. The prospective buyer has no interest. The deal is closed.
Order. The most desirable outcome. The buyer agrees to buy the product or service and indicates that they want to sign on.
Ultimately, the SPIN method provides individuals on both sides of the sale with an easy process. It also ensures that you have pitched your product well, and the customer walks away happy and hopefully willing to do business again in the future.