3 Top Tips From SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

First published in 1988, Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling is still a must-read when it comes to mastering the consultative sales process. The approach is all about asking questions to REALLY understand the client’s pain points, instead of just assuming you already know what the client wants. You can then position your product or service in terms of the benefits it offers the client, rather than simply highlighting features and advantages. It’s a relatively simple, but highly effective approach as demonstrated by the book’s continuing popularity, 30 years after publication. And so in this article we share the book’s best tips and we’d encourage you put it on your Christmas wish list.

What is SPIN selling?

First things first, let’s be clear about what SPIN selling is. SPIN is an acronym which stands for the following:

S: Situation

P: Problem

I: Implication

N: Need pay-off.

In essence, SPIN is a sales approach that allows you to build value with clients, identify needs, and ultimately, serve as a trusted advisor.

Top Tip #1: Questions are the answer

Questions are the foundation of the SPIN selling approach. In fact, the book was developed from research into some 35,000 sales calls. When conducting the research, Rackham discovered that top-performing salespeople rarely, if ever, pose random, low-value questions. The truth is that every question has a clear purpose, and the order in which questions are asked is also strategic and is carefully designed to guide clients through the sales process.

Situation questions help you to understand where the client is coming from. Problem questions help sales personnel identify areas of opportunity and implication questions reveal the depth and magnitude of your prospect’s pain points. And finally need pay-off questions encourage clients to describe your product or service’s benefits in their own words which is a very powerful persuasive tool.

Top Tip #2: Implication is the crucial phase

The questions you ask in the implication phase are perhaps the most important. Get it right and you will make the customer identify (for themselves) the effect, consequences and impact of their particular problem or pain point going unchecked. The truth is that to encourage a prospect to consider your solution in any seriousness, they need to first have a firm grasp on the extent of the problem. Making the customer eager to find a solution to the problem they’ve just identified will open the door for you to close the deal.

Top Tip #3: Have a system in place

When it comes to sales success, a methodical approach is what’s needed. For top salespeople, success doesn’t just happen – they have a systematic approach that actively encourages and promotes closure. SPIN Selling gives you that clear, methodical and crucially, a customer-centric structure within which you too can achieve sales success. And the best part about Rackham’s approach is that it is tried and tested. Countless other salespeople worldwide have successfully been using the approach for many decades. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, is there?

What’s more, unlike other sales books on the market that can be heavy going, SPIN Selling is actually an easy, enjoyable read. Why not add it to your Christmas list? It could give you some valuable insights that will make all the difference to your sales success next year. We think it’s still as relevant today as it was when it was first published.

Angus worked in senior sales and marketing roles for many years before starting the practice. He is adamant that SMEs must build their sales skills. It’s the single biggest thing they can do to impact the success of their business. If you’d like to grab a coffee and explore what Generate Accounting Group could do for your sales effectiveness, contact Angus directly.