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SPIN Selling

The Best-Validated Sales Method Available Today

By Neil Rackham
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SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

SPIN Selling (1988) distills the author’s 12 years of research and 35,000 sales calls into a coherent and applicable sales strategy that is guaranteed to bring success to any diligent salesperson. You’ll learn why traditional sales methods are limited while exploring the benefits of the SPIN strategy when approaching small and large sales opportunities.

Key idea 1 of 9

A successful sales pitch has four main stages. Research your questions and get the answers you need.

Working in sales is not all about winning million-dollar deals every day, as any salesperson can attest. Instead, the daily grind of making call after call is often less than inspiring.

Traditional sales techniques are lazy, often following the same approach. A salesperson opens a call relating to a client’s interests; investigates the client’s needs through open-ended questions; outlines the benefits of the product; handles potential objections; and then, closes the deal.

In this way, a magazine subscription could be sold with just one call. “You like sports? Sports Magazine is for you! Oh, you don’t know how to read? Don’t worry, there are loads of pictures in the latest issue that I’ll be sending you right away.”

While this might be fine for small sales, the bigger fish are harder to catch. Say you’re a manager looking to replace a key supplier for your company. Such a decision requires months of discussions and vigilance against the savvy tricks of a hungry salesperson!

All sales, whether big or small, move through four basic stages: preliminaries, investigations, demonstration of capabilities and finally, commitment.

Let’s say you are selling computers. To your prospective client, you explain that you work for HP (preliminaries), you detail the technical characteristics of your processors (demonstration) and try to get an agreement for the purchase of 10 new laptops (commitment).

But consider how much more straightforward the transaction would be if you could just get a negative answer from your prospective client to the question: “Are you satisfied with your current IT system?”

Of the four sales stages, the one that definitely makes or breaks a deal is your investigations. It’s this phase in which a salesperson can really reach out to a prospective client and make a connection.

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