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SPIN Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff

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Written by Neil Rackham, former president and founder of Huthwaite corporation, SPIN Selling is essential reading for anyone involved in selling or managing a sales force. Unquestionably the best documented account of sales success ever collected and the result of the Huthwaite corporation's massive 12 year, $1 million dollar research into effective sales performance, this groundbreaking resource details the revolutionary SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need payoff) strategy. In SPIN Selling, Rackham, who has advised leading companies such as IBM and Honeywell delivers the first book to specifically examine selling high value product and services. By following the simple, practical, and easy to apply techniques of SPIN, readers will be able to dramatically increase their sales volume from major accounts. Rackham answers key questions such as “What makes success in major sales” and “Why do techniques like closing work in small sales but fail in larger ones?” You will learn why traditional sales methods which were developed for small consumer sales, just won't work for large sales and why conventional selling methods are doomed to fail in major sales. Packed with real world examples, illuminating graphics, and informative case studies and backed by hard research data SPIN Selling is the million dollar key to understanding and producing record breaking high end sales performance. Sales Behavior and Sales Success. Obtaining Closing the Sale. Customer Needs in the Major Sale. The SPIN Strategy. Giving Benefits in Major Sales. Preventing Objections. Opening the Call. Turning Theory into Practice.

197 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Neil Rackham

37 books59 followers
Author of the Spin Selling. Find out more about Spin Selling at http://www.huthwaite.co.uk/training-s...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 377 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Gibson.
Author 6 books5,721 followers
February 6, 2017
There were a lot of awesome discoveries in the 80s, including, but not limited to, Big League Chew, the fact that long-haired men wrenching out soul-baring metal guitar solos would lead to multiplatinum album sales and the removal of countless bras so that they could be flung onstage, and the revelation that the process of selling majorly expensive goods or services was different from the process of selling, say, a PEZ dispenser.

It is the concluding item on the aforementioned list that is, unfortunately, the focus of SPIN Selling (I say “unfortunately” because the first two items are of greater general public interest, I think). Despite the fact that this book is three decades old (leading to some fairly dated references), it contains some pretty valuable (if hopefully common sense) insight into large-scale sales that should be helpful to anyone wrestling with how to sell more effectively.


Perhaps the most interesting takeaway is that while closing techniques (such as the alternative close, the presumptive close, and the no-clothes close (okay, I might have made one of those up, though let’s face it, that particular technique could prove optimal in certain situations)) are effective when you’re selling smaller items, they actually result in fewer sales when you’re talking about major purchasing decisions.

If you think about it, that makes sense, right? On large purchases, not only are considerable resources at stake, but jobs are as well—if you’re the one in charge of, say, purchasing a new document management system for a large professional services firm and you pick a bad product/vendor, odds are pretty good that you’ll end up with a pink slip, whatever the heck that is (to paraphrase the late, great George Carlin, “I never got a pink slip…someone would just come by my desk and say, ‘GET THE F@CK OUT!’”).

Instead of closing like crazy, Rackham’s research suggests a much more effective approach is to identify problems the customer is having, help them realize the potentially significant implications of those problems, and then propose a solution that addresses those needs. Again, it’s not advanced thermonuclear physics, but it does require a different mindset when approaching a client because it means listening and asking questions you may not have the answer to, which is not something people are always comfortable doing (especially when you’re used to simply trying to provide a solution whether it’s needed or not).

One other interesting takeaway was Rackham’s perspective on the goal for a meeting in a large-scale sale: chances are it’s going to require multiple meetings to close a deal, so the goal shouldn’t necessarily be to close the deal in every meeting/conversation, but, rather, to conclude the meeting by taking the next step toward purchase, which might be getting a meeting with the next level of decision maker, getting a chance to demo a product or solution, etc.

These insights are helpful regardless of whether you’re selling laser hair removal systems or legal services. Beyond that, there are very few jobs where some element of “sales,” broadly construed as meaning the act of persuading someone to agree to something and provide you with consideration in order to achieve that goal (whether such consideration is money, resources, time, etc.), so even if you’re not a salesperson, this might be a helpful guide for thinking about how to better service your clients (whether they’re people inside of your organization or external companies).

If this book had featured a Bon Jovi soundtrack and dudes in strategically ripped jeans jumping off of stages and doing Flying Eddies, it might have garnered that coveted fifth star. As it stands, however, a solidly useful guide to the world of helping unearth and define client problems so that you can tailor your solution proposal accordingly.
Profile Image for Leonidas.
184 reviews39 followers
July 20, 2017
Full Review: What is Spin Selling?

One of the most intuitive books on the market for selling. SPIN Selling explains the science behind consultative selling, or rather, presenting an offer to a potential client, based systematically on the clients pain-points, using a powerful questioning process.

The subtitle of the book describes quite well what’s inside; “The Best-Validated Sales Method Available Today. Developed From Research Studies Of 35,000 Sales Calls. Used By The Top Sales Forces Across The World.”.

If that isn’t enough, consider other sales books written by professional sales people, to be intuitive opinions on the sales process, rather than based on testing, optimizing, and results.

In contrast, SPIN Selling uses data from thousands of calls, and sifts through them to determine if ‘closing’ techniques, and ‘situational openers’, etc, actually work.

Well, it turns out, there is a huge difference between selling low-cost and high-cost items. Consequently, we are shown evidence that disproves the efficacy of various well-known sales techniques in the high-cost sale.

So, let’s break down what SPIN Selling actually entails.

Situational Questions,
Problem Questions
Implication Questions
Need-Payoff Questions
Situation Questions, we learn, involve getting the facts about the business, such as, Who is in charge of the final decision, or what kind of systems or services are already in place.

Problem Questions attempt to investigate where the pain points are with the current service/product. Clarifying the problems to the client is essential.

Implication Questions determine the effects of the problem, and amplify the problem. This increases the clients motivation to shift towards finding a solution.

Need-Payoff Questions get the client to tell you the needs of a potential solution for them. Furthermore, the client ends up explaining the benefits of a solution, such as the one presented by the salesman. It’s less intrusive, and ultimately allows the client to present their important needs.

A good quote from the book: “People do not buy from salespeople because they understand their products but because they felt the salesperson understood their problems.”

What Is The Successful Sales Process?

Ultimately, in a successful sale, the buyer does most of the talking, relative to the appropriate questions asked.

Furthermore, the author covered the four stages of a sale: opening, investigating, demonstrating capability, and obtaining commitment.

One example was ‘obtaining commitment’ with specific actions from the other party involved. In this case, an actionable commitment is required, such as an additional meeting, or a request for a proposal, and does not necessarily mean a close.

If an actionable commitment is not reached, then the likely outcome is a ‘continuation’ or a dead sale. Both of which lead nowhere.

For the high-powered salesman, this is a great read, with practical application. The ideas are intuitive and powerful enough to even influence others outside a business context.

If selling is your thing, then read this. If you want an intuitive perspective on presenting benefits that sell themselves, then read this.

Highly recommended. Pick it up from your library or online. A+

Pick this up from your Library Or Bookstore
P.S. From Spin Selling:

And as if all this wasn’t enough, consider if you will his quartet of self-training Golden Rules:

Practice only one ‘behaviour’ at a time
Try the new ‘behaviour’ at least three times
Remember Quality before Quantity
Practice in safe situations
Quote of the Moment

People do not buy from salespeople because they understand their products but because they felt the salesperson understood their problems.

~Neil Rackham
Profile Image for SJ Loria.
450 reviews77 followers
January 1, 2013
This is not going to be a normal review, these will be more of my notes to remember what I just read and become increasingly familiar with a new lexicon / jargon that is business speak.
One quick annoyance, one quick whoa cool moment, then bullet points. This book costs $30 and you are done reading it in an hour. Why are business books so expensive and yet written at about a 3rd grade reading level?
First though one thing I found rather interesting in reading this book is that it emphasizes the right way to ask questions and bring someone along an emotional sequence that is optimal for getting someone to do something you want. Basically, it teaches you to lead people along a certain emotional rollercoaster, to buy something at the end. Oddly, this is something that I’ve studied on my own, especially through reading Speeches that Changed the World. I noticed reading that book that there is a certain emotional trajectory that is best for getting people motivated. A careful mix of information, motivation, letting them talk, letting them listen, a careful emotional arch that when done correctly, is best suited for getting someone to do something at the end.
I saw that throughout history, the circumstances changed but that emotional arch didn’t really change. The greatest orators and leaders pretty much followed it. So, I’m not shocked to see that it works in business either. It’s a different hustle, I’ve been told, but I think I’ll do all right in this game.
OK, now the bullet point collection of facts.
This book distinguishes between techniques that work best in small sales and larger sales, addressing mainly larger sales and pointing out that techniques which work in small scales are in fact detrimental in larger scale selling.
There are four basic stages in a sales call – preliminaries, investigating, demonstrating capability, obtaining commitment
Preliminaries - the hello how are you. Doesn’t have to be super slick, a first impression isn’t everything, in fact get down to business before you bore them
Investigating – the real meat of the call, investigating means uncovering customer needs AND THEN using questions to build up the needs so much that they are ready and eager to buy. That’s where SPIN questioning comes in:
A useful tip is preparing some of these questions before it’s go time.
Situation Questions – facts about background, the customer’s specific role in the company. Don’t spend too much time here (maybe 5%)
Problem Questions – about the difficulties, dissatisfactions with the current situation. Again, not as important, but more important than situation (10%)
Implication Questions – about the consequences or effects of a the problems. The “sad” questions, basically meant to drop their tail between their legs and make them feel bad. Magnifies a problem and increases their perception of the value of your product. I think this and Need-Payoff are the two areas you spend the most time on (40%)
Need-Payoff Question – the happy cousin of implication questions. After you get them to hang their head and go “oh wow, it is really bad” you quickly build them back up by asking questions that lead them to tell you that “yeah, it would be a great fix. I then could do other important stuff!” Essentially it’s about the value, usefulness or utility that the customer perceives that your product can alleviate their problem.
Demonstrating Capability – how your product works. Instead of explaining its features and benefits, a more effective technique is to address it through what problems it addresses. So you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and get a sense of their needs.
Obtaining Commitment – at the last phase you should check you’ve covered their needs, summarize the benefits of your product, and propose an appropriate level of commitment. That last part is key, a call can be successful even if they don’t buy at that precise moment, so long as you get a bit further down the line through a concrete action (such as setting up a meeting or getting access to the next level of decision makers). Larger sales involve a series of meetings anyway, so they don’t have to buy for it to be a success.

Other facts
The best way to practice is on page 94-95, page 98 also useful
Don’t focus so much on objection handling, if you do it right you are focusing on objection prevention. Objections show you jumped too quickly into features and benefits and didn’t adequately understand the customer needs
Think – could the customer repeat the presentation smoothly to his boss?
With a larger value sale, you must build up the value of the product much more because customers become more cautious as decision size increases. Pressuring works in small sale, not larger sales.
Obtaining commitment is best measured by actions at the end of an exchange
Investigating is about uncovering, understanding, and developing needs of the customer, at its final step you flat out ask if there is any further point or concerns that need to be addressed
Summarize key points, especially benefits
Don’t close the sale, open the relationship
Someone making a decision is balancing the seriousness of the problem with the cost of the solution, asking implication questions builds up the cost side of the scale
Implicit vs explicit needs (62)
Implication questions have a weakness. They make customers more uncomfortable with their problems…Need Payoff questions focus the attention back on a positive solution and gets them telling you the benefits
Implication questions are specific to a particular customer problem, Need-payoff have wide generality – why is this important, how would that be helpful, would it be useful if, is there any other way this could help you? Etc
Explaining benefits – if you are overly enthusiastic about the product you are more likely to share its features and benefits (product-centered) rather than what problems of the customer it can address
Listing features is less effective for a luxury product (think about the advertisements)
Profile Image for C.
1,101 reviews1,047 followers
September 10, 2021
An enlightening approach to large sales that require multiple interactions. Success in such sales requires a different methodology than small sales that usually take one interaction. In a large sale, you must build the customer's perceived value of your solution, and the most effective way of doing that is to ask the right questions.

The book is based on 10 years of observing and analyzing over 35,000 sales transactions. As the author explains, "We've put thousands of sales calls under the microscope to isolate some of the detailed behavioral elements that bring success to the major sale."

Sales Behavior and Sales Success
Most important skill: building perceived value.

The larger the sale, the more the salesperson factors into buyer's decision, because they're buying an ongoing relationship.

Buyers fear making a mistake others will know about. This fear may be more important than fear of spending a large amount.

The Four Stages of a Sales Call
1. Preliminaries: warming-up events at start of call
2. Investigating: finding out facts, info, needs. Ask SPIN questions.
3. Demonstrating Capability: showing that you have something worthwhile to offer
4. Obtaining Commitment: gaining an agreement to proceed to a further stage of the sale

Investigating is most important of 4 stages. The more questions, the greater the chance of success.

Doesn't matter if questions are open or closed; what matters is if they're about an area of importance to customer.

Obtaining Commitment: Closing the Sale
Closing techniques reduce chances of making sale.

An Advance is when call moves sale towards a decision, and makes the call a success. A Continuation is when customer doesn't say no but doesn't commit to an action that moves towards a decision, and makes the call a failure.

Build needs during investigation, causing customer to realize they have an urgent need to buy.

At end of call, summarize key points and benefits to customer.

Customer Needs in the Major Sale
Explicit, not implied, needs are key to sales. Uncover implied needs and develop them into explicit needs through questioning.

The SPIN Strategy
Situation Questions
Purpose: learn facts and background of customer's situation.

Ask as few Situation questions as possible. Find out as much as you can on your own.

Example Situation questions: What equipment do you use now? How many people do you employ here? How old is this unit?

Problem Questions
Purpose: explore customer's problems, difficulties, dissatisfaction.

Problem questions are more strongly linked to success then situation questions , but still not strongly linked to success.

Example Problem questions: Is your existing machine hard to use? Do you have quality problems? Are you satisfied with X?

Implication Questions
Purpose: explore effects or consequences of problems.

Implication questions are strongly linked to success. They build up customer perception of value.

Example Implication questions: What effect does that have on output? Could that lead to increased costs? Will it slow down your proposed expansion?

"Implications are the language of decision-makers."

Implication questions are particularly powerful in high-tech sales.

Implication questions are problem-centered and can make customers feel negative or depressed about their problems.

Need-Payoff Questions
Purpose: get customer to tell you benefits your solution could offer.

Need-payoff questions are strongly linked to success.

Need-payoff questions are particularly effective with influencers who will present your case to decision maker, because they think in terms of how solution will help, not about product details.

Example Need-payoff questions: How would that help? Why is it important to solve this problem? What benefits do you see?

Need-payoff questions are solution-centered, positive and helpful, making them good for sales to existing customers.

Need-payoff questions get customer to tell you how your solution will help, which reduces objections and makes your solution more acceptable.

SPIN Model

1. Ask Situation Questions to establish a context and background facts. Don't ask too many, because they can bore and irritate the buyer.
2. Ask Problem Questions to explore problems, difficulties, dissatisfactions, so that the buyer reveals Implied Needs.
3. Ask Implication Questions which make the buyer feel the problem (Implied Needs) clearer, larger, and more urgent.
4. Once buyer agrees that problem is serious enough to justify action, ask Need-payoff Questions to get buyer to state Explicit Needs, focus on solutions, and describe Benefits your solution would bring.

Plan Implication questions before call. Write at least 3 problems buyer may have, then write questions that would uncover them.

When customer raises need you can meet, ask Need-payoff question; don't skip to talking about solutions.

Giving Benefits in Major Sales
Talking about Benefits is more effective than talking about Advantages. Benefits show how a product meets explicit need customer expressed; Advantages show how product or features can be used or can help customer.

Preventing Objections
Features raise price concerns; Advantages raise objections; Benefits bring support or approval.

The more objections you get, the less likely you are to be successful. It's best to prevent them.

Preliminaries: Opening the Call
Avoid opening with personal interest unless buyer raises subject.

Customers don't mind that you get right to business.
Profile Image for Jenny.
Author 11 books409 followers
November 6, 2011
Whether you like it or not, all business involves sales in some capacity. Written in 1988, Rackham describes his findings from observing 35,000 sales calls over a period of 12 years. He outlines the sales format that most often led to long-term success (Situation --> Problem --> Implication --> Need-Payoff). The recommendations are authentic, powerful and helpful; this book is a must-read for anyone in business!
Profile Image for Ilona.
171 reviews71 followers
February 7, 2017
It was such a drag to read this book that I am surprised that it only took me 2 months (including skimming through the last chapter cuz omg).
This could be easily summarized into an A4 article and loose none of the insights.

It took 100 pages to make an introduction to how cool they are. Only then they start talking about SPIN. Spin is asking different questions instead of only situational questions. Here it is.

The key takeaway so far is that the sale can be short term (a chocolate bar for 2 eur) or long term (a printer with maintenance fees for 6000 euro). Higher cost requires different approach. You need to like a person that you buy from on the higher price range because you might need to see them again.

Wow really mind blowing.

The dude wrote a book about selling to sell himself as an expert, but got so much into recreating fake conversations with made-up people that forgot to use his own advice.
Profile Image for Tony.
109 reviews8 followers
June 10, 2011
The first thing you have to realize about “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham is that it’s a book for selling to large accounts, written before anybody else was writing books about selling to large accounts. Yes Virginia, selling to large accounts is different than selling to smaller ones. To begin with, you cannot close the sale in one day, as a result opening the discussion by trying to closing technique is counterproductive.

Besides, in major sales, the salespeople usually are not in the room when most of the important decisions are made. It’s the salesperson’s contact who needs to sell within her organization. It’s the job of the salesperson to arm his contact with enough information to make her an effective influencer.

Like any good book on sales, Rackham has methodology, in this case a four step questioning process. In fact, the book gets its name from the four types of questions asked: Situational, Problem, Implication and Need Payoff. Rackham says the key to sales is understanding where you are in the sales cycle – he identifies The Preliminaries, Investigating, Demonstrating Capability and Obtaining Commitment – and only to asking the kinds of questions that get you to the next level because sales in large accounts follow a specific sequence over a long timeline.

SPIN Selling process
Situational questions set the context for asking Problem questions that reveal implied needs, like the desire for a more accurate billing system. Asking Implication questions about how many ways a more accurate would help the end-user’s company lead to Need-Payoff questions, which help the buyer focus on solutions and benefits.

Speaking of benefits, Rackham notes that benefits come in two varieties: those that can help any customer and those that address your customer’s express need. He differentiates the two types of “benefits” by calling the former an Advantage and the latter is a real Benefit. Advantages help close small sales, while Benefits, which address explicit buyers needs, help land big deals.

Yes, the book is dated. Written 1988, it doesn’t take into account that your customers already know a fair amount about your product from the Web. At least somewhere in the questioning process, you have to determine how much your customer already knows about your product, if only to dispel mistaken assumptions. Additionally, while the book is very strong on tactics, it mistakenly assume you will only sell to someone lower in the company’s organization. It does not provide tactics on how to use the SPIN method to move up the company’s organizational ladder, trying to get closer to the person who decides what projects get funded.

All of that being said, nearly 25 years after the book was published it is still a foundational book on selling to large account sales. While the information available to customers has changed, the process for moving a customer through the sales cycle has not.

When the book was released, readers found that its theories ran counter to conventional wisdom because it deemphasized closing techniques in large sales. At the time, most sales books focused on closing. Actually, most sales training focused on closing because, as Rackham points out, closing used to be the one place in the sales cycle that had an understandable and quantifiable result.

But Rackham’s studies show that trying to close too early alienates professional buyers, the very person who is almost certainly on the other end of the sales call at a large account. Instead, the SPIN method relies on asking questions to tease out problems and help the client understand how the seller’s solution can tip the value equation to the buy side of the ledger.

The foundation of the book is rests on research conducted by Huthwaite corporation’s 12-year $1 million research project into sales effectiveness, not just one excellent salesperson’s career experience This means the results of the book can be applied across a wide spectrum of businesses and industries, making a great starting point for learning about major account sales.

Now on the other hand, if you want to read anything about closing the quick sale, let me point you to either Tom Hopkins or Zig Ziglar.
2 reviews
January 2, 2014
Since I'm in the process of developing a new technology based company, this book provided excellent advice and strategies for selling my type of product. Thanks to Rick Larson and Joe Liblin for recommending it to me.
Profile Image for Jina.
66 reviews
May 27, 2014
This is the first sales book (not that I've read many) that I didn't want to throw across the room. Rackham's main advice boils down to, "Don't be a jerk." Why does this warrant a book? It runs counter to the training given to salespeople in large companies. For instance, Rackham found that using closing techniques a la the "Always Be Closing" mantra from "Glengarry Glen Ross" actually reduces sales when selling a high-priced item or service. It works for small-amount sales basically because the person will buy the item to be rid of the annoying salesperson. But for a high-priced item, or sales that depend on a long-term relationship, closing techniques such as "So when would you like your new car delivered?" or "What color would you like, silver or blue?" just piss people off.

The four stages of a sales call: Preliminaries, Investigating, Demonstrating Capability, and Obtaining Commitment. The last one is not a sale necessarily; the commitment advances the sale, and is the highest realistic commitment that the customer is able to give. (Meaning you have to understand your customer's position and buying process in their company.) An example commitment is having the customer and someone else from their company come to a demonstration. It's also important to distinguish between the customer's implied needs and explicit needs; the latter are more important.

SPIN stands for four types of questions: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff.
1. Situation questions: successful salespeople don't ask many. Examples are "What equipment do you use now?" and "How many people do you employ here?"
2. Problem questions: not strongly linked to success in larger sales. Examples are "Is your existing machine hard to use?" and "Are you satisfied with ___?" This uncovers implied needs.
3. Implication questions: develop the seriousness of the problem; very important in larger sales, as they uncover more needs, which balances out the high price of the item/service. Examples are "You say ___. What effect does this have on your output?" and "It sounds like the difficulty of using this machine may be leading to a turnover problem with the operators you've trained; is that right?" One downside of Implication Questions is that they make people feel worse.
4. Need-payoff questions: builds up the value of the solution you are selling; very important because instead of you selling the customer on the benefits, they tell *you*. This reduces objections and rehearses them for the internal selling they have to do on a large purchase (selling their manager on it, for example). Examples: "You say you would like to control long-distance calling. Why is that important to you?" and "Would ____ be useful to you for cost reasons, or is there something else?"

There are Features, Benefits, and Advantages. We're all used to features and benefits; the difference between advantages and benefits is that advantages show how a feature might help the customer, but benefits relate specifically to an explicit need the customer has stated. Not surprisingly, people respond best to the latter. Advantages are useful in smaller sales but not in larger sales; in larger sales, they want you to listen to them. If you say "This machine is very efficient" they may object with "I won't pay for fancy $15,000 machines just to avoid some retyping". But if you use a bunch of Need-payoff questions to uncover the problems they face and then at the end you give a benefit statement, then you've avoided objections -- or in normal conversation, we call this actually listening to people. Sales departments focus a lot on handling objections, but they'd be better off preventing them in the first place. A long example:

Seller: (Problem Question) You're getting too many mistakes?
Buyer: (Implied Need) Well, no more than most offices, but more than I'd like.
Seller: (Implication Question) You say "more than you'd like." Does this mean that some of those mistakes are causing you difficulties in documents you send out to clients?
Buyer: Sometimes but not often, because I proofread all important documents carefully before I send them.
Seller: (Implication Question) Doesn't that take up a lot of your time?
Buyer: Too much. But it's better than letting a document go out with a mistake -- particularly if it's a mistake in the figures that go out to a client.
Seller: (Implication Question) Are you saying that a mistake in the figures would lead to more serious consequences than a mistake in the text?
Buyer: Oh yes. We could lose a bid, or commit ourselves to an uneconomic contract -- or even just come across to clients as sloppy. That's why it's worth a couple of hours a day proofreading when there's other things I should be doing.
Seller: (Need-payoff Question) Suppose you didn't have to spend that time proofreading. What could you do with the time that you saved?
Buyer: Well, I could give training to my office people.
Seller: (Need-payoff Question) And this training would lead to improved productivity?
[More talk about how the proofreading makes the buyer a bottleneck for others' work and there would be cost savings from retyping, plus people hate doing it.]
Seller: (summarizing) So it seems that the present level of mistakes is leading to expensive retyping, which creates a motivation problem with your people. If mistakes, particularly in figures, get out to your clients, it can be very damaging. You're trying to prevent that at the moment by spending 2 hours a day proofing all key documents. But that's turning you into a bottleneck, reducing everyone's productivity and preventing you from putting time into training your staff.
Buyer: When you put it that way, those mistakes in documents are really hurting us. We can't just ignore the problem -- I've got to do something.
Seller: (Benefit) Then let me show you how our word processor would help you cut mistakes and reduce proofing...

This is pretty long but I typed it out because you can see Ramit Sethi using all of these techniques in his sales copy.
Profile Image for Jacek Bartczak.
196 reviews60 followers
March 23, 2019
I'm very skeptical when it comes to business frameworks but this one is very solid, practical and useful - the great manual which shows how a big size sales should be done. One the one hand the book explains how deeply problems and their implications should be examined during the sales meeting, on the other hand, shows why many things which you heard about sales aren't applicable everywhere.

If you work in the B2B sales, that framework would be very useful for you.
Profile Image for Kacper Cebo.
35 reviews5 followers
February 1, 2020
I took my time while reading this one. Carefully studying various parts of it, making notes, reading chapters or sections over and over. It's somewhat surprising and intriguing that although published 32 years ago (!), this book is stunningly accurate while describing some of the fundamentals of sales.

An absolute must-read for anybody in B2B sales, minor or major. Just read it.
Profile Image for Shashwat Singh.
89 reviews14 followers
September 10, 2015
If you are in a business where you sell anything that's a high value or complex sale(i.e something that is of a significant price and typically requires multiple meetings to sell), then you have to absolutely read this book.

The first distinction is that small sales and complex sales are very different. Many sales book are written with smaller sales in mind. What works when you're selling a 100$ product is completely different than what works when you're selling a 10,000$ or 100,000$ product. This book is meant for the latter type of sale, and is very thorough and covers most everything you'll need to know.

The authors of this book have conducted thorough and detailed research with the sales departments of some of the world's biggest companies. Their findings are surprising but are scientifically based. Unlike many selling books, they aren't going of anecdotal evidence or what they think works. Their testing methodology is extremely thorough, and their Appendix goes through how exactly they tested their sales methods. Basically, they used a very scientific approach to creating their methodology.

Their whole method is based on asking questions. According to their research, asking specific types of questions increases success in complex sales. Proper questioning is the major factor in increasing sales success in higher value sales. By asking the right questions, the customer realizes the gravity of the problem he's facing, and essentially sells himself on the solution(Your product or service).

These questions are Situation, Problem, Implication, and Needs-Payoff Questions. I.e the SPIN Model.

Situation Questions- They are basic questions about the situation the customer is in. You need to avoid asking too many of these as asking too many can result in a slight negative effect. Regardless these are necessary because you need to discover the customer's situation.

Problem Questions- You are asking the customers what their current problems are. This is key as you're starting to develop the customer's needs.

Implication Questions- This is where things start getting good. These questions basically take the problem questions, and delve deeper into them. For example an implication question would be, "You said your website is down around 1 or 2 days a month because of technical issues, does this result in less inbound leads contacting you because your website is down. Does the loss of those leads result in significant revenue loss?"

You get the idea, basically you're showing how their problem has all these other implications which greatly negatively impacts their business. You are developing "explicit needs", basically the customer realizes that this problem HAS to be taken care of.

Needs-Payoff Questions- These questions are where you ask a customer what the value of solving their problem is and whether it'd be useful for you to fix the explicit needs you developed through Implication Questions. With this question, they're basically selling your solution to themselves.

There's a lot of detail in the book. The author debunks many common sales myths through his research, including the idea that you need to apply "hard closing" techniques(this is completely false, and can hurt your chances at closing the complex sale).

There's a huge amount of detail in this book. I highly recommend you read this as I have literally thousands of words of notes from this book I've taken down.
Profile Image for Isaac Perdomo.
8 reviews
June 2, 2018
Probably the only book ever entirely based on actual research and focused in larger sales. There are general techniques in selling—closing, handling objections, etc.—that work perfectly in small sales, but fail miserably in large ones.

The author dissect the sales process into 4 categories: preliminaries, investigating, demonstrating capabilities, and obtaining commitment or closing.

He shows how, in larger sales, closing is NOT the most important part of the process but Investigating.

Said that, he dissect the Investigating stage further into 4 types of questions you should ask to discover needs and build value in your clients' minds.

These questions are:
- Situation questions: how does the actual situation of your client looks like?
- Problem questions: are there needs, difficulties, dissatisfactions regarding this situation?
- Implication questions: what are the consequences of such problems? Go beyond the obvious and search for every single seemingly unrelated problem that can add value to your offer.
- Need-payoff questions: "now I can talk about your solution, right?" Not exactly. The author suggests you ask questions so that the customers themselves tell you the benefits of your solution. This is way more powerful than claiming them yourself.

Mastery the last two will give you an edge selling high-ticket products and services.

If you have no familiarity with sales, I cannot recommend this book enough. And if you do, you might want to check it out as well. It contradicts the average selling advice, so it will probably blow your mind anyway.
Profile Image for Oleksandr Golovatyi.
418 reviews36 followers
August 7, 2022
Техніка швидкого читання (промо-лінк)

Кращі нотатки з книги:

ця книжка, на моє переконання, є першою, де застосовано цілковито новий погляд на масштабні продажі, а також на вміння й навички, необхідні для їх успішного здійснення

навʼязливий стиль може успішно спрацювати в разі малих продажів, і він зазвичай діятиме проти вас, коли для укладення угоди потрібні кілька комерційних візитів.

коли рішення про купівлю є масштабнішим, продавець і продукт майже невіддільні

масштабні рішення завжди публічні, а невдалі масштабні рішення - значно помітніші для оточуючих

на закриті запитання можна відповісит одним словом - “так” або “ні”

відкриті запитання потребують розлогішої відповіді

SPIN: Ситуаційні запитання (Situation Questions); Проблемні запитання (Problem Questions); Наслідкові запитання (Implication Questions); Запитання - спонуки до розповіді про потреби, або спонукальні питання (Need-payoff Questions)

У цій книжці я детально розглядатиму ці SPIN-запитання й показувати вам шляхи до їхнього використання з метою підвищити успішність ваших масштабних продажів.

закриття - це те, що ставить покупця в становище, де треба взяти на себе ті чи ті зобовʼязання

Техніки закриття можуть підвищити шанси на здійснення продажу продуктів малої вартості. Але скорочують шанси на здійснення продажу, коли це дорогі продукти або послуги.

Середня ціна дорогоих товарів у нашому дослідженні - 109 доларів.

якщо закриття втрачають свою ефективність уже на рівні 109 доларів, тоді, ймовірно, вони стануть іще неефективнішим інструментом, коли сума, про витрату якої треба ухвалювати рішення, зросте до десятків або сотен тисяч.

люди продовжують діяти у програшний спосіб, лише з двох причин: або вони божевільні, або в їхньому оточенні є щось таке, що винагороджує за неефективну поведінку й заохочує до неї.

За нашими спостереженнями, що досвідченішим стає продавець, то більшого значення він надає виразно усвідомлюваним потребам як сигналам про схильність купити, оцінюючи, наскільки успішна ця комерційна зустріч. А менш досвідчені працівники в цій справі надто великого значення надають невиразно усвідомленим потребам.

Метою формулювання запитань у масштабному продажі є виявити невиразно усвідомлюванні потреби й увиразнити їх до стану чітко усвідомлюваних.

виявилося, що проблемні запитання дуже тісно повʼязані з успішністю в масштабних продажах.

Наслідкові запитання - націлені на проблему; спонукальні запитання - націлені на рішення.

замість характеристик краще розповідати про вигоди

вигода типу А. Зʼясовує, як клієнт може використати продукт чи послугу або як вони здатні йому допомогти… вигода типу Б. Зʼясовує, у який спосіб продукт або послуга задоволняє виразно усвідомлювану потребу, висловлену клієнтом… вигоду типу А ми стали називати словом “перевага”. Що стосується вигоди типу Б, то ми зберегли колишню її назву - “вигода” - з огляду на те, що вона так тісно повʼязана з успішністю

переваги - заяви, що показують, як використовувати ваш продукт або як він може допомогти клієнтові, - справляють значно позитивніший вплив на малі продажі, ніж на великі.

Замість розповідати про характеристики та переваги продукту, знайомлячи з ним торговельних працівників, вони зосереджуються на розʼясненні проблем, які можна усунути з його допомогою, а також на необхідності формулювати запитання, що дозволять виявляти й увиразнюват�� такі проблеми. Завдяки застосуванню цього надзвичайного методу, крива продажів нового продукту стрімко йде вгору.

Наведення характеристик під час продажу товарів вищого цінового сегмента на цьому ринку породжує у клієнта занепокоєність із приводу ціни і робить його менш схильним до купівлі.

Шлях до успіху в засвоєнні будь-яких навичок - чи то гольф, чи то гра на фортепіано, чи то продажі - пролягає через монотонні, наполегливі й виснажливі тренування…

більшість людей краще формують свої навички, якщо дотримуються чотирьох прост��х правил.

Правило 1. Вправляйтесь у застосуванні лише одного типу поведінки за один раз.

Почніть виховувати в собі лише по одному вмінню за один раз. Не переходьте до наступного вміння доти, доки не переконаєтеся, що добре опанували попереднеє.

Правило 2. Випробовуйте новий тип поведінки мінімум тричі.

Нові навички треба “розношувати”, як нове взуття.

Ніколи не робити висновку, чи використання нового типу поведінки є ефективним, не спробувавши його застосовувати щонайменше тричі.

Правило 3. Передусім - кількість, а не якість.

під час вивчення мови говорити багато значно виграшніше, ніж говорити правильно.

Практикуючись, сконцентруйтеся на кількосіт: застосовуйте новий тип поведінки якомога частіше. Не переймайтеся питаннями якості (приміром, чи майстерно ви використовуєте цей тип поведінки або чи не можна було б сказати про певні речі краще), щоб не завадити ефективному опануванню нових навичок і вмінь. Як-найчастіше застосовуйте поведінку нового типу, і якість прийде сама по собі.

Правило 4. Практикуйтеся в безпечних ситуаціях.

Завжди тренуйтеся в застосуванні нових типів поведінки в безпечних ситуаціях, і робіть це доти, доки не почуватиметеся розкуто. Не використовуйте важливі зустрічі для відпрацьовування нових звичок.

SPIN-модель часто застосовують у класичній послідовності: спершу ситуаційні запитання, щоб скласти уявлення про загальну ситуацію, далі - проблемні запитання з метою увиразнення проблеми, згодом - наслідкові, щоб усвідомити її серйозність, а насамкінець - спонукальні запитання, аби клієнт уже сам розповів вам про вигоди рішення, яке ви пропонуєте.

запорука успіху в розумінні дрібних деталей. Ще 1801 року Вільям Блейк писав: “Той, хто робитиме добро іншому, повинен робити його у Найдрібніших Деталях. Загальне Добро - це гасло негідника, лицеміра та улесника; Мистецтво і Наука не можуть існувати інакше, ніж у ретельно організованих деталях.”

Таблиці для швидкого читання (promo)
Profile Image for Gregory.
101 reviews8 followers
September 4, 2008
Aside form The Book Of Mormon, This book has had perhaps the greatest impact on my career and my role as a father.
Definitely on my personal list of classics...
This book was first recommended to me by a colleague by the name of Matt Fowler.
As a side note, Matt's decision to hire me was one of the most significant career events of my life.
This is by far the best book I have ever read on question based problem solving.
If you read this book, you will probably want to purchase the SPIN Selling Field Book as well.

REMEMBER: The key to understanding and applying the SPIN process is NOT knowing exactly what questions to ask. In other words, you don't need an arsenal of questions that you draw on like ammo in a fire fight. although having a few good ones in your pocket can be helpful for certain situations.
The key is to focus on know WHAT TYPES of questions to ask and WHEN to ask that type of question in order to solve the problem you intend to solve.
Profile Image for Andrew K..
38 reviews
June 16, 2012
Yes, this is a sales book. But it is a sales book about not being a creepy salesman. The basic jist is that small sales involve shysterism -- and give salespeople a bad name.

Consider what it used to be like to buy a TV at Circuit City, where the salespeople operated on commission -- high-pressure, low enjoyment.

But then there is the whole category of large sales, such as selling a large IT system or consulting engagement -- where the “salesperson” is going to meet with the customer many times over the course of several days or weeks, and in which there are multiple stakeholders with multiple agendas. In these large sales, there is a whole different approach that this book spells out -- and it is a much more collaborative, respectful, mutual problem-solving approach that makes sales seem a lot more respectable than my previous stereotypes of it.

This would also be a good book for anyone who is trying to fundraise large amounts.
Profile Image for Chung Chin.
107 reviews7 followers
March 11, 2013
For people who are keen to improve their skills in selling, this is one book that I will highly recommend. This is because, the content of the book comes from comprehensive research by the author's company. And like all wise researchers, the author advises the reader to take some of his pointers with a pinch of salt, because he is not able to say conclusively "This is it! Follow this and you'll sell". Rather, he tells you that "This is what we found and PROBABLY will be helpful, but because we couldn't take this out and experiment in a meaningful manner, we think you should apply it carefully."

Practical and at the same time very enlightening.
Profile Image for Wesley Wade.
19 reviews2 followers
May 22, 2014
We are all in sales to some degree, and this book can help you when it comes time to communicate a big idea, yourself during an interview, and of course an actual sales meeting. For over eight years I was in B2B sales, and this book was the bible for my profession. Rackham doesn't just give the typical superlative-driven mantras about your winning tone and demeanor, he gives an empirically-based study on large dollar sales. As the reader, you will walk away with a process, a framework for questions to ask within this process, and a reference book that you will find yourself going back to time and time again.
47 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2008
Do yourself a favor and trade it in for The Solution Selling Fieldbook.

This process is disengenuous and antiquated and people now see through it.
Profile Image for Chiara.
7 reviews
March 6, 2014
amazing. i hear it's one of few that's backed by research and numbers instead of just anecdotes. learn this and you're set to sell.
Profile Image for Sean Harry.
Author 8 books11 followers
June 14, 2014
I recommend this book frequently! I love the methodology he uses for asking questions that keep going deeper. This is a great method for selling anything -- including your own skills and abilities!
Profile Image for Федор Кривов.
114 reviews10 followers
December 5, 2016
Отличная книга от предпринимателя и исследователя в одном лице.
Развенчиваются многие мифы в продажах, есть система, которую можно успешно применять для B2B :)
Profile Image for Vasiliy Sikorskiy.
84 reviews5 followers
November 5, 2018
Я мало читал книг по продажам. На эту поглядывал уже лет пять и вот только сейчас сел и прочитал. Если одним предложением, то книга построила в моей голове понятный и ПРИЯТНЫЙ фреймворк продаж. Хорошим отличием является ее структурность, постоянные связи одной части с предыдущими, понятная статистика. Возможно, из минусов, это то, что она все-таки в большей степени про крупные, не эмоциональные продажи. Хотя где-то автор говорит о том, что их исследование называет крупной продажей чек $109. Книга не про агрессию в продажах, а про разумность. Здесь нет советов формата "возьми телефонную трубку и звони, пока не почувствуешь, что она понемногу начинает плавиться в твоих руках". Здесь про ключевую важность правильных вопросов: С - ситуационных, П - проблемных, И - извлекающих, Н - направляющих. Именно в такой последовательности и в правильном соотношении максимизируется вероятность продажи. Я как СЕО часто был на другой стороне процедуры продаж. И чувствовал, как косячат на мне продавцы, как тупо выглядит их попытка "закрыть" сделку фразами типа "когда вам удобно будет внести предоплату". Короче говоря, прочитал с удовольствием. Надеюсь, что смогу переложить в категории практики хотя бы половину советов. Ну и в очередной раз подумал, что умение задавать хорошие вопросы в разы обыгрывает навык умения давать ответы.
Profile Image for Soheil.
153 reviews19 followers
January 7, 2019
I have spent many unnecessary minutes on books written on a blemished premise. They usually start with their own story of how they failed and then miraculously "invented" a way to make billions. The result is usually a book that is 200 pages in length but in truth should have been just 20 pages long. SPIN Selling is no such book.

SPIN Selling is a sales methodology book for those who work in companies that make large B2B sales. If the value of your product or service is small, you can carry on with what you have been told in any other book or sales training. By fleshing out a coherent methodology of asking the right question at the right time, borne out of a large amount of research, this book teaches how to make sure you have a high percentage of winning whenever you make a sales call. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Pay Off questions, which is the sequence in which those questions need to be asked.

I am not even a novice sales man. I am a marketing person through and through. But reading this book has helped me develop a far better picture of sales compared to any other book. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a practical and well-researched book on making large sales.
Profile Image for Masatoshi Nishimura.
315 reviews14 followers
December 9, 2019
He brilliantly separates the sales into simple and complicated. The complicated requires a longer initial period and aftercare; therefore requring different strategies.

Simple sales are ok with value props and going how it will benefit you. That works fine for a product ranging from $10-1000, where your spontaneity dominates your buying decision. Examples given are watches or utility electronics. However, when the buying decision becomes complicated, either because it's too expensive, involves multiple decision makers, or deals with professional buyers, you want to be using SPIN approach.

SPIN approach consists of situational, problem, implication, and need-payoff questions. Situational questions are factual background tests. Problem questions are about exploring dissatisfaction, problems, and difficulties. Implication questions are what potential trouble those problem questions may arise currently and in the future. Need-payoff questions are about asking the potential clients how your product offering/solution may help solve the problems. Neil emphasizes on the implication questions and need-payoff questions as controversial yet crucial findings where many people fail to achieve.

I liked how he designed the book to walk us through his wonder and discovery throughout his research career.
Profile Image for Cedric Chin.
Author 3 books93 followers
May 10, 2021
A classic. May write a summary.

This is an actionable book, which means that it is split between principles and actionables. The core argument of this book is that large sales differs from small sales in materially different ways, and that most corporate sales training programs (of the 80s and earlier) are built around the small sale.

I’m still chewing on some of the ideas here. Other reviewers have rightly pointed out the value of the SPIN model itself, but there is arguably as much if not more value to be had from the underlying principles that Rackham articulates as justification for the SPIN model. Amongst these are the value-cost gauge, the four kinds of major-account sales outcomes, the differences in importance between implicit and explicit needs, and finally (and arguably most importantly) the critical view of continually asking ‘is this technique from the world of small sales or major sales?’

The book is also a pre-requisite for The Challenger Sale, so it's worth reading for that reason.
Profile Image for Rome.
192 reviews1 follower
June 19, 2020
I simply think that consumerism is bad and we do not need books teaching people how to psychologically manipulate people into buying more things. Also like even assuming I supported sales and was invested in this beyond having to read it for class you can make nonfiction engaging, but Rackham very much did not. Suppose this work does provide value in that you know what to watch out for when someone tries to pressure you into buying something but. I am definitely not the intended audience for this book. Soz.
Profile Image for Ryan.
1,155 reviews150 followers
January 24, 2018
My favorite introduction to high-end, solution-based selling. If you put "stereotypical used car salesman" on one end of the spectrum (one-time, win/lose, asymmetric information, no reputation), this is the other end of the spectrum.

Some of the later books (Major Account Sales, especially) develop this concept better, and there has been a lot of work around team-based sales organizations since this book was written, but it's still fundamental.
Profile Image for Bartosz Majewski.
292 reviews217 followers
March 3, 2019
One of Moliere's characters says in "Le Bourgeois gentilhomme": "Good heavens! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it.". That's how I've felt when reading this book. This book sums up about half of my objections toward classical sales training approaches. If I've trained you you will find it pleasantly familiar. Treat is as a synthesis opportunity.

If you are selling high ticket items, products or services in a B2B environment - this is a book for you. Do your revenue forecast a favor and buy it for your salespeople. I will make sure my sales consultants read it ASAP (those that didn't yet).

I've read a lot of articles and podcasts on SPIN methodology but the original beats them. Only two of my connections on goodreads read it to my surprise :)

If you are in sales - I highly recommend this book.
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