June 12, 2009

‘SPIN® Selling’ - A Classic that is worth reading again and again

Looking for a book that will help you increase your conversion ratios? Then read SPIN selling. Here are the seven key points I took from this must read sales methodology.

1. Too many sales people are happy with meetings that result in another meeting. But wait a second, the real question must be asked – ‘has the meeting resulted in an advance in the sales cycle?’

You need to know the difference between what Rackham defines as an ‘advance’ and a ‘continuation’ - it will affect your closure rate.

2. In high value sales forget the welcoming attitude to objections, focus on objection prevention and the symptoms behind objections. Too many objections means you are feature and advantage selling and not selling benefits. If you are of the school of thought that objections are great you must read this book.

3. Professionally trained sales people are always looking to uncover and develop explicit needs, while also being conscious of implicit needs. However, the key factor, as the authors point out, is a compelling reason to act. That is the real challenge for the sales pro.

4. You better believe it, lots of selling happens when you are not in the room. That means your sponsor is left to sell on your behalf! But, just how willing, or able is he, or she, to push your solution. You can’t expect him her to remember the eight key features of your solution. However you need to ensure they are able to communicate the impact of your solution on their business. Think about it.

5. Learn how to ask; situation, problem, implication and needs pay-off questions. The skills to develop implication questions will impact your sales closure rate. So ask how important your solutions benefits will be to your prospects business. Ask what affect changing x,y,z will have on the business.

6. This book supports what I have believed for years - there is no great distinction between open ended and closed questions in high value sales. However the questions you ask must demonstrate you understand the prospects business.

Remember don’t spend too long ask situational questions, or gathering all kinds of facts on the Client’s business. Instead ask implication and needs questions (in SPIN® language) in order to get to what really matters in building awareness of the need for your solution.

7. Please, please gain commitment in your sales calls. Propose sensible and realistic commitments to advance the sale. But before you do, ensure you have addressed your prospects key concerns. You must check for concerns, summarize the value of your solution and be sure the value is specific to the prospect.

'Spin Selling' was first published in 1988, but its ideas and concepts are ageless.

There is a huge amount more you could take from this book. If you really want to develop your sales effectiveness you need to read (and if you have read it before, re-read) this book.

‘SPIN Selling', Neil Rackham, Mc Grath Hill, 1988.

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