Few books have done more for the process of questioning and qualification than Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. Originally published in 1988, and weighing in at just under 200 pages, SPIN Selling teaches a systematic approach to questioning, specifically designed for large sales. What makes SPIN Selling more compelling is that the system is based on years of scientific research in actual selling situations.
When I first read SPIN Selling I was unfamiliar with the concept of drawing a distinction between a small dollar sales and large dollar sales, or what Rackham describes as a “major sale.” The questioning techniques in SPIN Selling, go beyond the standard practice of presenting solutions as soon as problems are identified. The author makes the case that in the “major sale” this type of qualification is inadequate and actually leads to negative results in many cases.
Rackham’s book is broken down into eight chapters:
Chapter 1Covers Rackham’s definition of sales behavior and sales success.
Chapter 2 covers obtaining commitment (or closing the sale).
Chapter 3 covers customer needs in the major sale.
Chapter 4 Is where Rackham breaks out the SPIN strategy in detail, as well as covers what type of question should be used at each place in the qualification stage or to what quantity.
In a nutshell the SPIN strategy is four different types of questions are:
Chapter 5 Covers giving benefits in a major sales.
Chapter 6 Here, the book moves onto covers preventing objections. Note, that it does not say handling objections, but instead preventing objections. Rackham makes a distinction, and it is quite clearly stated what the distinction is.
Chapter 7 Covers the preliminaries of opening a sales call.
Chapter 8 Deals with applying the techniques learned in the book up to that point. The book also includes two appendices, one a self critique of the SPIN model, the other a self-assessment of “closing-attitude.”
If you are a sales professional who’s considers yourself in “major sales” spin selling is an invaluable tool. I consider this book’s audience any one who’s sales processes involved multiple calls/and or a long time between sales meetings and decisions. While the SPIN Selling method could be criticized as being too rigid, the book states it’s goal clearly and delivers on it.
Hi, Mark Powers here.
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