One of the best consultative selling methods, recommended by the top sales experts is SPIN Selling- based on the book by Neil Rackham. The questions are designed to get rid of salesy tactics where your sales team shows up and throws up, to then shift the focus to the customer by simply asking them questions.
The Key is Listening
A famous English Statesmen said,
“Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.”
Ironically, he also said,
“We have two ears and only one mouth!”
If you simply ask, your customer will tell you exactly what their problems are and share specifically how solving the issue will impact their business and what benefit or financial gain will occur as a result. By having them tell you what they need, the customer essentially closes the deal for you. The problem is… most people are too busy thinking of how to jump in and share the good news of their wonderful solution… and never bother to have the customer share what that benefit means to them.
What is “SPIN”?
SPIN is an acronym that stands for
For situation questions you conduct basic fact-finding questions about their business. You want to have some research done in advance so that you’re not asking questions that you could easily find on their website. Asking situation questions helps to start the conversation and build rapport with the customer.
Some Example Situation Questions Are:
- How many customers do you have?
- What software do you use?
- How does data flow through your current system?
This is a good place to start but don’t ask too many situation questions, since most people expect that you’ve done some advanced research on their company prior the call.
Problem questions help to uncover pain-points and areas of dissatisfaction the prospect has with their current situation. If the prospect is the one to communicate that a problem exists, they can begin to open up to have a further discussion to see if you might possibly be able to help them out.
Example Problem Questions include:
- Do you have duplicate entry between different systems?
- What limitations exist in the automation of transaction processing?
- Are there areas of your existing software that are underutilized?
After getting the problems identified, you can dig deeper into each problem. Asking; who, where, when, what and how, are all good questions to discover details. Understanding, if or when, something happens can also help pinpoint the issues.
These questions help show you are genuinely interested and focused on knowing more about the issues they are dealing with.
It is at this point after hearing the problems, that most sales people dive right into selling their solutions to show that they can solve the problem. However, by asking Implication questions the prospect will verbalize the measurable effects that the problem is causing for their business. By having them express these facts, they really start to internalize the true negative impact.
- If data is not transferred between systems, what impact does this have for the accounting department?
- if inaccurate data is entered, what impact could this have during processing?
- if you don’t have accurate data in the system, what is the result for reporting?
If you’re able to share case examples of how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients, this will help the customer realize just how relevant your experience is to their exact issue. Also, by connecting their situation with real life examples of negative results which came from clients ignoring these issues, this can help them understand they have a real need for what you offer.
Need Pay-off Questions
Finally, Need-Payoff questions are really the most important key to the closing process. If your customer can share with you what it would mean for their business in specific and measurable terms, once the current issue is solved, they’re basically selling you the benefits of having your solution.
It is also important to frame the positive results they would get by having your solution in place.
Examples of Need-Payoff Questions are:
- why is being able to consolidate systems important to you?
- if you could cut the amount of time spent in duplicate entry, what impact would it have?
- if you could have accurate data in auto-generated reports, how would that effect your business?
A Final “Vision” Question
Lastly, something not covered in this process but a very effective way to make sure you understand what your customer really needs, prior to sharing solution, simply ask the customer:
“How did you envision our solution being able to help you?”
The answer here is typically the exact thing you need to understand about what the prospect really needs, to help close the sale.
It is also a great way to kick-off the meeting to be sure you go down the right path from the very start of the call by asking, “What about our service piqued your interest to meet with me and what do you need the most help with?”
Getting Started with SPIN Selling
Having someone familiar with this process can literally turn a failing sales team into a successful group of solid sales reps, overnight.
If you would like to learn more about how a successful consultative selling process can dramatically improve your sales results, click here and we will be happy to have a discussion with you to learn more about your situation to see if our team can help.
To know more about SPIN selling, book here to schedule and discuss.
What is SPIN Selling: The Best Consultative Selling Method for Tech & SaaS Companies https://youtu.be/JmyfVcKN4yI
Get the book here >> SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham