Neil Rackham and his training company, Huthwaite, put together the SPIN framework of questions to help businesses navigate the tricky road to a competitive edge and to successfully winning business.
In his book SPIN Selling, Neil used a great quote from a business leader he interviewed:
If I fell into a ditch, 50 salespeople can sell me a ladder to get out, but only 1 can sell me something that stops me falling in, in the first place.
This is the key to the SPIN framework. Don’t give the customer what you think they want – give them what they ACTUALLY want, or even better, something that they don’t know they want but, once discovered, cannot do without.
There is nothing revolutionary about the SPIN questions – they’re just the questions that successful salespeople ask on a good day, when it’s all going very well. All 4 types of questions are needed and all can be learned.
So why not give the SPIN framework a try with your customers?
Here are 4 helping hands to get you started:
- Situation questions – help you understand your customer’s current situation and gather background information.
- Problem questions – help search out problems, difficulties and issues which your product can solve (sad questions).
- Implication questions – home in on the problems you’ve discovered and get clarity on the seriousness of the issues (sad questions).
- Needs/payoff questions – lead your customer to the conclusion that your product or service is the solution to the problems they are facing and that those problems would go away as a result of them buying from you (happy questions).