Rackham defines success versus failure for larger sales by evaluating the level of commitment. An action that the buyer agrees to take which moves you closer to a sale, is termed an Advance and constitutes a successful outcome. A buyer’s request for a proposal is not an Advance unless the buyer also agrees to take some action. The outcome of a call that does not reach agreement on action that moves the sale forward is termed a Continuation and considered unsuccessful.
So, in larger sales:
- There are multiple meetings.
- The key is to obtain the right commitment.
- Success in Obtaining Commitment depends on skillfully conducting the Investigation
- It’s crucial to set realistic call objectives that make Advances possible.
And their research also shows that the Investigating stage is the most crucial in large, complex sales. This is in contrast to the belief held by many old-school sales trainers that closing is the most important
What is Investigating according to the SPIN model? It is defined as systematically discovering, exploring, clarifying and understanding the buyer’s needs and problems.
Plainly, this is done by questions which are the most effective form of persuasion. Interestingly, in looking at closed and open questions Rackham’s team discovered no evidence to establish a link between open questions and sales success.
Opening the Call
Rackham states that most large sales involve existing customers (internet marketers believe something similar often offering something free to start with, thus creating a customer, and then a low cost item and then a more expensive item) in fact less than 5% of meetings with major accounts are first calls.
SPIN suggests that opening benefit statements work in smaller sales but much less so in bigger sales. SPIN Selling strategy would contend that the purpose of the opening is to gain the buyer’s agreement to ask questions, to establish a buyer-centered purpose (most important) and communicate who you are and why you are there. And remember do not introduce your solution too soon.
It’s all about Obtaining Commitments.
- Starts before the meeting, by setting realistic objectives
- Is easier if you’ve developed strong needs while Investigating
- Has three steps
- Check you’ve addressed their key concerns
- Summarize the Benefits
- Propose a realistic commitment (Advance)
Successful sales people close more sales by turning Continuations into Advances, understanding what are the best Advances and setting realistic objectives before the call. Top sellers reach their goals by consistently planning and conducting calls that move the sale forward in steps. “SPIN Selling” rationale suggests that you start by brainstorming to identify the widest variety of Advances that would move you towards a sale. Really skilled sellers then select those ingenious small actions that the buyer is likely to agree to. They also generate alternative actions to propose as needed for the actual sales visit.
You Need the Right Mindset to Apply SPIN Selling
- SPIN works but it’s harder to use than it seems. So you need coaching and practice.
- To sell well you must plan well.
- You have to have a problem solving orientation.
- You have to believe it’s more important to understand than to persuade.
There are three ways to describe capabilities:
The book also proposes in relation to Demonstrating Capability that you need to sell Benefits rather than Features and Advantages.
In the SPIN model a Benefit shows how a product or service meets an Explicit Need expressed by the buyer. Moreover, the author contends that if you try to sell using Advantages it leads to objections which slow down the sales process. The SPIN Selling Fieldbook offers explanations and exercises to make sure you can recognize a Benefit.
No matter how well you use the SPIN model and demonstrate benefits and use Implication Questions and Need Payoff Questions to build value some objections will occur.
You should develop your skills in handling objections BUT REMEMBER “it’s always preferable to prevent objections than to handle them.” (Yes, yes, yes = totally agree with this).
Rackham also contends:
- Objections are NOT buying signals
- A majority of objections are caused by the seller
- Many objections occur because the seller offered a solution too soon And also states there are two types of objections:
- Value Objections – where the buyer raises doubts about the worth of your solution, “It’s good but too expensive”.
- Capability Objections – where the seller raises doubts as to whether the product will solve their problem or whether your organization can deliver on the promise, “I’m not sure it’s as easy as you claim.”
They also divide the capability objections into two types being “Can’t Objections” (you don’t have the capability to meet a need of high value to the prospect) and “Can Objections” (you do have the capability but the buyer doesn’t perceive you have it).
The SPIN Selling Fieldbook goes into how to handle these specific sorts of sales objections.
OK that summarizes what’s mentioned in the SPIN Selling Fieldbook. The model is good. Much of what Rackham and his team states I discovered for myself during my years of business to business selling. I wish SPIN Selling was one of the trainings I did in those early days, it would have saved me a lot of time in trial and error learning.
I guess that’s the point. Following some aspects of the model could save you a lot of trial and error learning too.
Once again you need to keep in mind that reading this small summary in no way gives you the full story and you may like to consider buying the book so you can better implement the strategies and concepts. Better still, attend a Huthwaite sales training.
There is a caveat though. The SPIN model is not a panacea for all your sales problems. As mentioned earlier you should be very familiar with the model so you can be flexible in using it because it’s not a cookie cutter approach to selling like following a checklist.
Summary by Greg Woodly www.sellingandpersuasiontechniques.com
You can get or read more about the book( SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham) here books.google.com.ua