SPIN Selling

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackman[1] was developed by observation of 35,000 sales calls. It suggests the significance of asking the right questions in the sale process. SPIN Selling is an abbreviation of four types of questions (Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff). It emphasizes that the quality of questions asked by a salesperson are critical to a successful sales presentation. The right questions posed by the salespeople could fasten up the selling process, whereas the wrong questions could delay or kill the sales presentation.

Situation Questions. Deal with buyer’s existing situation and form the starting point of the discussion between the customer and sales person. Situation questions (SQs) are least powerful of the four types of questions, and salesperson should eliminate unnecessary SQs by doing their home­work about the customer. Few examples of SQs are: How many people do you employ at this location? How many customers do you have in your database? How many customers do you call in a day? SQs should not be
asked late in the selling cycle about irrelevant business areas.

Problem Questions. These questions deal with the buyer’s pain point. The salesperson asks questions about problems, difficulties, or dissatisfac­tions of the customer. These questions help to uncover the implied needs of the customers. Few examples of problems questions (PQs) are: Which parts of the equipment create errors? What makes this task difficult? What’s the biggest problem company’s face while managing its most valuable cus­tomers? It’s important to ask PQs about what one’s selling in terms of the problems they solve for your clients.

Implication Questions. These questions are used to discuss the impli­cations of a particular problem uncovered with the problem questions. Salespersons ask these questions to develop the seriousness of the prob­lem and to increase the customer’s motivation to change. Few examples of implication questions (IQs) are: What was the potential loss as a result of the slow speed of the system? What happens when patients report side effects of painkillers? IQs are the most powerful of all the SPIN questions, and successful salespeople ask many IQs in their sales calls. These questions are difficult and should be prepared in advance with the likely answers.

Need-payoff Questions. The questions help to focus the buyer’s attention on the solution. Need- payoff Questions (NQs) contribute to creating a problem-solving envi­ronment where attention is focused on solutions and actions rather than problems and implications. For example: How do you think a safe anal­gesic medicine will help you? Why is it important to have a big-picture overview of the sales pipeline? Successful salespeople ask NQs to get the buyer to tell the benefits of their products.

Source: Richard R. Still, Edward W. Cundliff, Normal A. P Govoni, Sandeep Puri (2017), Sales and Distribution Management: Decisions, Strategies, and Cases, Pearson; Sixth edition.

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