SPIN Selling: A Legendary Sales Methodology To Guide Your Discovery Calls

SPIN Selling

In this post we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about SPIN selling, and how to use it to guide your discovery calls. 

What Is SPIN Selling?

Spin selling guides the sales conversation once a prospect is engaged. It helps the sales professional understand what types of questions they should be asking in order to conduct an effective discovery call. Let’s take a closer look and go over what each letter in this acronym stands for. We recently did a breakdown of BANT, so check that out too if you’re curious. 

S – Situation

S stands for Situation and these questions are used to help you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your buyer’s world. Through this line of questioning, you should be able to uncover what’s been happened with the prospect historically and what led them to begin a conversation with you. You should be trying to identify the key facts that help you effectively understand the background of your buyer and his or her organization.   

Here are a few examples of Situation questions you can ask on your next discovery call:

  • What are you currently doing today and how does that compare to what you were doing in the past?
  • What’s leading you to explore a new solution now?
  • What tools are you using and what does that process look like today?

Once you have a clear understanding of the facts and where your customer stands you can move on to the next part of the acronym, which is the P.

P – Problem

P stands for Problem questions and these should be used to have your customer divulge to you their pains. You should aim to learn what’s causing them trouble and pushing them to look for a solution.

Much like the situation questions, you are simply collecting facts. You want to get a solid understanding of what is bothering them and what it is they are trying to fix. After all, the job of a great salesman is to be a helpful consultant. How can you consult on an issue if you don’t even know what their problem is?

Here are a few problem questions you can look at as examples of what you should be asking:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • Do you ever have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?

I – Implication

Now what comes next is I which stands for Implication questions and these should be used to highlight a cause and effect relationship based on your understanding of the buyer’s current situation.

Truly skillful salesmen set themselves apart through their masterful use of these types of questions. By asking the right questions, the sales rep can bring the prospect to realize themselves the severity and importance of the problem at hand without explicitly telling the prospect. When done effectively, the customer will essentially come to sell themselves on the idea that something needs to be done, and FAST.

To help you better understand what implications are and how you can use them, check out a few of the examples below:

  • If you don’t do anything to change your current process, what do you foresee happening to your business moving forward?
  • If you don’t address these inefficiencies, how much would that cost your business on a yearly basis?
  • What’s the opportunity cost of not bringing in a new solution and addressing this issue?

If you’re really good at utilizing this framework you can even piggyback off your problem questions to lead into the implication ones.

Let’s take some of our examples from earlier to help illustrate what I mean:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • If you continue to go about this in the same fashion, would that negatively impact your other responsibilities?
  • Do you have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • What was the business impact in those kinds of situations?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?
  • If you don’t do something about it now, what do you think the annual cost to your business will be?

N – Need Payoff Questions

N stands for Need-payoff questions. What this means is that you should be using these questions to highlight what the customer stands to gain by choosing to move forward with your product or service.

What are the benefits in working with you and what do they stand to gain by doing so?

Below are a few examples of need-payoff questions to help you better understand what they are and how you can use them in your own sales processes:

  • By automating processes that you’re doing manually today, how much time do you think you’ll be able to save?
  • What are some ramifications you can foresee from having more freed up time?
  • By implementing a solution to address this issue today, understandably you’d be saving a lot of money. What would those savings mean for your business?
  • By using a tailor-made system built just for your business, you’ll likely see a huge jump in efficiency and ultimately your business’ reputation which is actually something you can advertise. Do you find value in having something like this as a competitive differentiator?

Conclusion: SPIN Selling

Granted the examples I’ve provided may not be the perfect match for every situation and every product or service but hopefully, it provides you with a basic understanding of what this framework is and how to use it. Using this simply as a model to guide your future sales processes, hopefully, you’ll be able to conduct extremely effective discovery calls that will ultimately lead to greater sales.

Additionally, because we are condensing the book into a short blog post these are essentially just the fundamentals. If you want to take a deeper dive and really expand your knowledge on how to most effectively use the SPIN selling technique I’d recommend picking up the book and giving it a read yourself. There’s much more detailed information in there around the effective use of this framework that we aren’t able to cover here.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

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