How Spin Selling Changed Our Business

March 22, 2022
Business Development

Presented in Neil Rackham’s 1988 book “SPIN Selling,” he discusses how sales reps can win more deals by trying to understand your prospect's needs. Using spin selling as our foundation, we've been able to close more deals and build long-term relationships in the process.  

What Is Spin Selling?

Spin selling is a sales method where sales reps ask specific questions to understand their prospect's needs and ultimately close deals. The word SPIN is actually an acronym that stands for the four different types of questions you should ask as you turn a prospect into a customer. Here is what SPIN represents :

  • Situation Questions
  • Problems Questions
  • Implications Questions
  • Need-payoff Questions

Rackman states that each of these questions is to be asked during the four Spin Selling stages. The four stages are:

  • Opening Stage
  • Investigating Stage
  • Implications Stage
  • Obtaining Commitment Stage

Through each stage, we are gaining specific information while building a relationship with our prospect. It's important we go through each stage throughout the process, in order to get us to a close deal and long-term partnership. Here is how we approach each stage and some specific things we might use.

Situation Questions and Opening Stage

During the opening stages of a sale, we ask questions to learn about our prospect’s current situation. Whether it is partnering with new clients or helping current ones with their pipeline, using situation questions we are able to learn more about our clients. We use this time to build a relationship with our prospects and learn more about who they are as a company.  Here are some examples of great situation questions.

  • Why does your company take this approach?
  • What tools do you use to support [task]?
  • How often do you use your tools?

Problem Questions and Investigating Stage

The problem questions are used to help pinpoint our prospect's pain points and difficulties they face. This takes place during the investigative stage of the sales process. Most clients reach out to Key Outreach because they are struggling to find the right contacts or don’t have the proper tools or expertise to help them vet and reach out to them. Before we show our value we want to make sure we are addressing the right problems. Here are some examples of problem questions we ask.

  • How time-consuming is it to prospect?
  • What’s the biggest challenge your organization faces with [task]?
  • What is your biggest day-to-day challenge?

Implication Questions and Demonstrating Capabilities Stage

In this part of the process, we’ve developed a solid relationship with our prospects. We ask implication questions to dive deeper into our prospect's pains and give them a space to voice their frustrations and problems. We listen and learn, and when it’s our turn to talk about what we offer, we can speak to each pain point. Say, for example, a prospect could mention their company struggled to find new leads and wasted time looking for the right email. We would use that opportunity to highlight our ability to identify decision-makers during the next part of the stage. Here are some examples of the implication questions we use:

  • If you had more resources, what could you accomplish?
  • How is [problem] affecting your work?
  • Does [problem] ever keep you from reaching your business goals?

Need-payoff Questions and Obtaining Commitment Stage

The final stage of sales is where we are looking to close a deal with our prospect. Need-payoff questions are where we ask prospects how important it is for them to have their problem solved. We use this stage to discuss our services and reassure them that working with us can be beneficial for them. For example, here is where we use this time to refer back to our wins, (like how we set 40 meetings in 30 business days) and what it can mean for our prospective client. Once our prospect turns into a paying customer, we use the time to reflect on what went well and how we can improve. More importantly, celebrate a job well done. Here are some need-payoff questions that come to mind:

  • How would it be easier to solve [problem] with our solution?
  • Would our solution make it easier to reach your business goals?
  • What would achieving [task] do for your business?

Spin selling continues to be the foundation for our sales strategy today. It’s because of spin selling that we craft our questions carefully, putting our prospects at the front line of our sales interactions. Instead of one-sided conversations, we focus on building relationships and providing value to each of our clients. Through spin selling, Key Outreach continues to retain our clients year after providing them with quality meetings with decision-makers.

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