Results based Selling: Don’t Forget to SPIN

December 17th, 2009 by

By Pat Hinds

When I started in sales I was lucky to have worked for a company that promoted a selling technique called SPIN Selling. SPIN Selling is a great model that was the brainchild of Neil Rackham who authored a book of the same name in 1988.

SPIN Selling is based on extensive research by Rackham and his company, Huthwaite. They examined large, complicated sales scenarios. After analysing more than 35,000 sales calls they were able to put to rest a variety of traditional myths about closing sales.
SPIN Selling proposes there are four types of questions, thus SPIN stands for :

Situation – Questions that deal with the facts about the buyers existing situation.

Problem – Questions that ask about the buyer’s pain and focus the buyer on this pain while clarifying the problem, before asking implication questions. These give Implied Needs.

Implication – Questions that discuss the effects of the problem before talking about solutions, and develop the seriousness of the problem to increase the buyer’s motivation to change.

Need-payoff – Questions that get the buyer to tell you about their Explicit Needs and the benefits your solutions offers, rather than forcing you to explain the benefits to the buyer.

I am currently redoing my website to reflect POIM Consulting Group’s status as a Consulting Partner; as part of the website exercise I have also been reviewing the websites of other partners. When I read these websites I like to order the information I am reading into the SPINcategories (situation, problem, implication, need-payoff); this helps me understand the Salesforce consulting partners value that they bring to the customer.

After reviewing about 20 websites I start to see a trend that most of the partners did a good job of establishing situation, problem and need-pay on the websites, but none of the sites established implication. If you are selling face-to-face or over your website it is important to establish implication; listed below is a couple of definitions of implication.

– An element that is suggested but not actually shown.

– Communication by other means than a direct statement.

– Is sometimes disregarded but is of fundamental importance for fuzzy logic in the narrow sense. A straightforward but logically less interesting possibility is to define implication from conjunction and negation (or disjunction and negation) using the corresponding tautology of classical logic…

My favourite is the last definition that associates “implication” with “fuzzy logic”, it is key that customers need to see the value that you bring to solving a problem. The example for POIM Consulting Group is as follows:

Situation – Customers are purchasing

Problem– Gartner Group says 55% of CRM projects are not successful.

Implication – A failed CRM project will make the contact that sponsored the project look bad.

Need Pay-offPOIM Consulting Group experience and focus on business process and technical resources will guarantee a successful project.

If you consider the definition of “fuzzy logic” there is group of implications that range from credibility to wasting money that could keep the customer up at night. Without being too wordy with your web content, you need to apply fuzzy logic to your website to get the customer to think about the implications of not contacting you to discuss how your services address the problem statement.

Topics: Sales Consulting