Rachman's S.P.I.N. Method
The SPIN sales method is four types of questions developed by Neil Rachman in 1988. Don't worry though, it still works! Four categories give SPIN its name:
In short, the SPIN method is a series of malleable questions and not inquiries to be quoted word-for-word, but types of questions asked in a designated order. Each question fulfills a function in the sales process, facilitating an organic closing on a deal.
To successfully use the SPIN method, we will review the four types of SPIN questions.
From the car salesman to the grubby door-to-door salesperson, sales reps are known to be greedy, jumping straight into a sales pitch without understanding anything about the customer's situation- the focus is on "selling."
"The best selling isn't at all about your products and what you can offer. It's very much about the customers and their needs."
- Neil Rachman.
Situation questions help you understand the buyer's environment and successes- or lack thereof. Gather information!
- What are your customer's current processes?
- What methods/tools/products are you already using?
- How often do you use them and feel like you see results?
Situation questions are supported by doing extensive background research. Approaching a sales call, you should already know the company's employment size, have a basic understanding of the products or services they offer. Luckily, you can find this info online. Ask leading questions that are relevant and company-specific.
Selling your product or service means you have a solution to offer to a customer's existing problem. All of the problem questions should guide the conversation rather than informing the customer of their problems. Ask questions that navigate your prospects to discover their problems.
Here are a few SPIN problem question examples:
- Do you feel [current product] is as good as it can be?
- How does this impact day-to-day efficiency?
A crucial part of asking the right problem questions is anticipating obstacles they may not have even considered yet. Salespeople report their biggest challenge is identifying a sense of urgency. Using your problem questions is about finding answers for your customer and finding solutions for yourself as a seller.
You've targeted your client's top hurdles. Now we begin to explore the implications of those problems. Showing your customer the possible causes and effects of their most critical pain points cater to the sense of urgency you laid out in the problem questions step. Once again, avoid mentioning your product- at this point, the call is still about the customer and their needs. For example, your implication questions might address topics such as:
- How much time is wasted on inefficiencies each week?
- How much could your business achieve each week without said inefficiencies?
- Have problems ever been customer-facing?
The need stage still revolves around questions. Instead of telling the customer how your product can help them, ask questions that show the value in choosing your product. Constructing practical need questions can be difficult. We've provided a few SPIN need-payoff question examples to point you in the right direction:
- Would a [product description] increase revenue?
- Would that be valuable for your team?
Having the customer do the "legwork" on how you can help them is a much stronger sales pitch than telling them how you think you can help them.
THE ULTIMATE SALES MISTAKE
With the SPIN selling method as a guide, you can add authenticity to your sales process and be the type of salesperson that listens more than they talk. One-sided conversations don't close sales. If you've ever had a friend or date who only talked about themselves, you can imagine how invisible a customer can feel when a salesperson doesn't ask them any questions.
Listen to the client's answers and choose your subsequent questions accordingly. Take advantage of the flexibility SPIN offers. For the best salespeople, SPIN questions are commonplace. Remember:
To adequately use the SPIN method, you need to be responsive, not preemptive.