Saturday, 7 April 2012

4. SPIN Selling

Backed by empirical field research with hundreds of actual real sale’s call observations, Spin Selling brings to light what offers the best chance of success in large sale scenarios. Authored by, Neil Rackham, the book moves through the questioning techniques used by successful and unsuccessful sales professionals in both small and large sales and via observation of their sales calls, develops an overall approach for large sales.
Neil Rackham, tackles his “Spin Selling” approach via a careful review of his field research. In this formal account, he recounts his experiences with sales professionals at different levels and the sales techniques employed to get the sale. He first considers the process of gaining a sale and the impact of various closing techniques in small and large sales. He also considers the necessary level of commitment from buyers in small and large sales.
Moving on, Rackham gets into the primary focus of his research – the SPIN Model. The SPIN model is all about questions, those being Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff questions. The main theme to take note of is that sales professionals should be listening more that talking.  The right questions delivered in the correct manner lead to obtaining the best information which, in turn, lead to the biggest payoff for the client. This most positively impacts the success of a sales call. During this portion of his book he also attempts to debunk many of the popular theories on how questions are used during sales calls. There is an analysis of the above mentioned questions types going into detail on how each statistically contribute to the success or failure of a large sale.
The second half of the book examines the application of the SPIN Selling Model as it pertains to avoiding objections, presenting benefits and advantages and opening the call. The freedom of the SPIN Model is accentuated during this portion of the book with Rackham careful to point out that the model is meant to be flexible enough to follow the dynamic nature of sales calls. Once again, the main focus is that each question type has a specific purpose and impact on the success of the sale. It is vitally important not to be drawn into presenting benefits or advantages as they deal with surface level objections to early in a sales call. It is more important to dig deep into the reasons and implications of objections via the SPIN Selling model. In so doing one can attend to objections at the root and moreover have clients assign specific pay-offs to implications.
Finally, the book ends with a method of turning theory into practice which is quite refreshing. Rackham fully acknowledges that becoming an expert SPIN seller is a long process, furthermore outlining some simple steps to move toward proficiency. The steps are easy to accomplish and the sale professional is encouraged to focus on quantity of quality, to try new behaviors at least three times and to practice in safe situations. The simplicity of these steps to learning is magnificent as it is definitely easy to apply. Something added to the learning process is the idea of plan, do and review. This lends strength to the adoption of SPIN Selling.
Looking at the book as a whole, the B2B book club thoroughly enjoyed this book’s approach to selling. Members focussed heavily on the movement from Implication questions to Need-payoff questions and how to facilitate this movement.  A question brought up was in regard to what we termed as filters. Filters we defined as the barriers clients raise preventing free communication between the salesman and the client.  Each member agreed that resistance is common during all sales calls and that there are moments during the call when these filters are dropped resulting in a higher level of engagement between the two parties.  The question surrounding the SPIN Selling model became, “Which type of question best serves to remove the filters of clients?”  A long discussion of personal examples did not lead to a firm conclusion but a thought. Well placed implication questions tend to engage sellers the most as they are most intimately related to their business.
SPIN Selling, in the end, is a favorite of B2B Books with each member finding great benefit in reading the book. Personally, I also found great value in the content and will get a copy of the SPIN Selling fieldbook to further investigate the model in practice.  Should you wish to purchase the book follow the links below.  All the best!
SPIN Selling
SPIN Selling Fieldbook