SPIN Selling 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
NEIL RACKHAM is founder and former president of Huthwaite, Inc. Huthwaite researches, consults, and provides seminars for over 200 leading sales organizations around the world, including Xerox, IBM, and Citicorp. His academic background is in research psychology. It was at the University of Sheffield, England, that he began his research into sales effectiveness that resulted in SPIN. Mr. Rackham is the author of more than 50 articles and several books.
From the Back Cover
"This book should be essential reading for everyone involved in selling or managing the sales function -- a welcome, well-researched treatise on selling"
--Journal of Marketing Management
"The first book to specifically examine the major sale -- the high value product or service -- by researching the successful sales calls as they happen in the field."
--Industry & Commerce
"This book is the result of over $1 million of extensive and painstaking research. It breaks new ground and cannot be ignored by anyone who is committed to selling as a profession."
"The revolutionary findings, published here for the first time, will overturn a whole collection of hitherto accepted assumptions. The book also provides a set of simple and practical techniques (known as SPIN) which have already been tried in many leading companies, resulting in a dramatic increase in sales."
"This is an interesting, lively, and readable treatment of the process by which major sales are closed. Like In Search of Excellence, the material has a curiously inspirational quality which is particularly compelling."
"Almost anyone could learn something from this book. Essentially,it is about success, and without this, no sales organization can survive. Buy a copy. We are sure you will find it invaluable."
--Sales and Marketing Management
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Enter 'SPIN Selling' - this book delivers where all of those other books have failed. In this book is a solid layout of how you should structure your sales calls, and not only that, but data to back up their claims and examples to on how to lead. Read this book, take notes, and I guarantee if you weren't already aware of how to sell in this style, your selling WILL improve.
I'm a novice to sales. Last year when I was interviewing for a sales position I was asked to put together a sales presentation and to sell a product. I was given the product brochure and 1 day to come up with something. Using 'SPIN Selling' as my guide, I put together a list of ideas and pitched them in my presentation. My interviewer was blown away. After I got the job, my manager told me he had never had someone deliver such a good presentation - everyone always focuses on selling the product, but they never try and sell the customer. Taking a note from this book, I asked the questions I needed to ask, developed them into problems for the buyer, and then walked them through the solution with their own words. It was a total and complete win.
I was tempted to give this book 4 stars because it really does falter in a few areas. For one, some of the research is tenuous at best - <100 sales calls that they then base their report on. That's frankly not enough data to prove or disprove anything.
Secondly, this book is very weak on opening/closing a sale, which are both obviously rather important. The book mentions briefly what you shouldn't do to open a call, but doesn't really expand on good ways to introduce yourself. Even worse, it has a whole chapter on closing, but doesn't give you specific advice on what to do! It gives you a whole lot of data on why you shouldn't constantly close, why the worst sellers are always trying to close, how it annoys customers, etc. It never actually says 'Here is the best way we found to bring a sale to the next level: A/B/C". It kind of boggles the mind because the book even shows a study where sales that had no closers in them had something like 20% the success rate - obviously a close is necessary, but the book skimps a bit on that aspect. I couldn't bring myself to give it less than 5 stars because the meat of the book is just so good.
1. Pre-call planning:
a. Pre-determine your principal call objective. Data gathering and relationship building are necessary but not sufficient. Strong objectives must advance the sale.
b. Do your homework in order to minimize fact-gathering questions
c. “Before the call, write down at least three potential problems which the buyer may have and which your products or services can solve.”
a. In a large sales, first impressions do not matter all that much.
b. Especially with senior people, do not dwell much on nonbusiness areas if at all
c. Avoid talking about your products and services until late in the call
d. Just establish who you are, why you are there, and gain permission to ask question.
3. Investigating (by asking open-ended or closed-ended questions)
a. Situation: Ask a very limited number of fact-finding questions. Just enough to setup/uncover a problem. For instance, “What system/process are you using at present?”
b. Problem: “The purpose of Problem Questions is to uncover Implied Needs.”
c. Implication: The purpose of Implication Questions is to increase the size of the problem in the customer’s mind. For instance, “If x is happening, could that lead to an even worse y?”
d. Need-payoff: Need-payoff questions are positive, solution-centered questions designed to have the customer express an Explicit Need. “How would you find (related benefit) useful?” Note: “The worst point to ask a Need-payoff Question is when the customer raises a need you can’t meet.”
4. Demonstrating capability:
a. “Make Benefits showing how your product/service meets Explicit Needs which have been expressed.”
b. “Benefits… involve showing how you can meet an Explicit Need… Unless the customer first says, ‘I want it,’ you can’t give a Benefit.”
c. “In larger sales, Features have a negative effect when used early in the call and a neutral effect when used later.”
5. Obtaining commitment
a. “Larger sales contain a number of intermediate steps that we call Advances.”
b. Use a very limited number of closing questions on only after ___’
c. “Sellers who were most effective… would… ask the buyer whether there were any further… concerns that needed to be addressed.”
d. “Successful salespeople pull the threads together by summarizing key points [especially benefits] of the discussion before moving to the commitment.”
e. Suggest as a next step “the highest realistic commitment that the customer is able to give.”
Other great tidbits:
- “Successful sellers concentrate on objection prevention, not on objection handling.”
- “In a multi-call sale, the most important discussions and deliberations go on when the seller isn’t present.”
- In large sales, costs to the buyer include money, effort, and reputation
- “The most important lessons come from the way you review the calls you make. … Ask … Did I achieve my objectives? What would I do differently?”
CON: I got the Audible version, the recording volume is low, but that's a technical issue you can solve with better speakers.
Top international reviews
The CDs are really well structured, I listened to them in my car and had no difficulties of understanding everything and remembered most of it easily.
There was a section on learning skills as opposed to learning knowledge, which I found very interesting and useful.
On the improvement side, there could have been a few more examples of sales behaviours. Adding a few more CDs to the package wouldn't reduce the overall quality.
All in all, a great purchase for someone who is looking for an alternative to the classic sales ABC (always be closing) approach.
Seller gave plenty of communication.
Nicely structured and analyzed methods.
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