What is SPIN Selling ?

This methodology was first described in Neil Rackham’s 1988 book “SPIN Selling .” Neil Rackham states that great consultative sales can only be won if a salesperson truly understands the buyer’s problem — a depth of understanding that can only be achieved by asking the following types of questions:

  1. Situation

Situation questions help salespeople discover the status quo . Use these questions to understand business objectives, processes, and other factors. Examples of situational questions are:

  • Can you tell us about your role in the company?
  • Can you tell us about your current production process?
  • What tools are you using to do X’s current job?
  1. Problem

Problem questions help salespeople to uncover buyer problems. Use these questions to reveal opportunities, whether they are expressed directly or indirectly. Examples of problem questions include:

  • How important (priority) to your business?
  • What difficulties do you anticipate?
  • What is your biggest challenge in your daily performance?
  • How easy is it to make progress against (priority)?
  • Why did this approach work/did not work for you?
  1. Implications

Implication questions provide urgency around problem solving. Use these questions to show buyers why they need to make repairs. Examples of implication questions are:

  • Has your company ever missed a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) because of a problem? Why?
  • What have you sacrificed for this problem?
  • How long did it take you to solve this problem?
  • How would you distribute these resources differently if you didn’t have to use them on (problem)?
  • What goals would you like to achieve that you are currently unable to achieve due to (problem)?
  1. Need Pay-Off

Need Pay-Off guides buyers to see the benefits of problem solving and results in order to take action as soon as possible. Use these questions to direct buyers to the next specific step. Example of a Need Pay-Off question:

  • What would change if you did (approach) differently?
  • How is it easier to achieve (priority) with (solution)?
  • Will your team get value from (solution)?
  • How do you think solving (the problem) will help you?
  • What will be unlocked (priority) for your business?


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