SPIN Selling

By Neil Rackham

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2020 by Michael C. Gray

When seeking a good salesperson, many recruiters are looking for a good closer. According to Neil Rackham, if the customer the salesperson is serving is a corporate buyer making a major purchase, that would be a mistake.

Since the close is payday, it is the focus of traditional sales training and the mindset of many salespeople. That is only natural.

When a salesperson tries to close a transaction before the customer understands why the purchase is in the best interest of the company, the customer will be more likely to refuse the offer or the transaction can unwind because of a decision change.

The time required for making a large corporate sale is typically longer than a smaller sale to an individual because comparative evaluation is required and more people are typically involved in the decision. Several sales calls might be required.

Corporate buyers are familiar with sales techniques, such as an assumptive close, and can become annoyed when a salesperson uses them. They can feel they are being pushed to make a decision when they still don't have the information that they need to make the decision.

SPIN selling is a process of assuring the customer has that understanding, more naturally leading to acceptance of the offer. SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. It is a sequence for helping a customer think through why buying the product or service is a good decision. (I think it's an unfortunate acronym because most of us have a different connotation of the word SPIN relating to selling that can be a turn-off. It's a reason I didn't read this book for many years.)

The SPIN process fits in with a selling sequence: Preliminaries, Investigating, Demonstrating Capability, and Obtaining Commitment.

Most salespeople spend too much time with preliminaries with a buyer who is anxious to get to the point of a meeting. They don't spend enough time helping the buyer investigate the business's problems and how the product or services solves the problems. They demonstrate their product or service before the customer has defined a problem that the product or service will solve. The salesperson should seek to be of service to the customer by asking relevant questions and help the customer think through the decision.

I think an item that might have been omitted in the book is polling questions. From time to time, the salesperson should check where the buyer's thinking is and whether the buyer is ready to make a decision. Otherwise, the salesperson could talk himself or herself out of a sale. "Do you have all of the information that you need, or should we continue our discussion?"

The information in SPIN Selling was developed based on research studies of 35,000 sales calls. It's well worth investing the time to study this book and apply the ideas in your selling process.

Buy it on Amazon: SPIN Selling.

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