enquiry based selling

SPIN Selling: Selling Solutions

Sales guru, Neil Rackham developed the SPIN selling model based around selling solutions to customer problems. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Inclination and Need-payoff. The SPIN model follows a strategy of enquiry. First, the salesperson asks questions to establish background facts about their potential customers (the Situation). Next they explore the customers’ issues and difficulties (the Problem/s). Then they delve into the customers’ implied needs and finally they offer up solutions – they offer to take the pain away.

As a basis for his SPIN selling model, Rackham conducted a study involving more than 35,000 sales calls in around 20 countries. The findings were universal and Rackham’s books on the subject have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Rackham’s selling model is based around systematically identifying your customers’ pain points then offering up something to take away the pain. We all want the pain to go away, so the model can be applied in a range of contexts.

In summary the SPIN selling process involves:

  • Asking questions to establish background facts about a potential customer
  • Moving on to exploring their problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions
  • Uncovering the customer’s implied needs
  • Getting the customer to agree the need, or problem, and then offering a solution

For small transactions it may be appropriate to offer solutions after the initial exploration of the customer’s problems and difficulties, but for larger sales transactions the salesperson holds back and asks implication questions to make the implied needs seem larger and more urgent.

Once the customer agrees they have a problem which is serious enough to justify action, the salesperson starts asking “need-payoff” questions to encourage the customer to focus on solutions and the benefits the solutions would bring.

SPIN selling is about convincing the customer of the need to buy without focusing on price.

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