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Goodreads | Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff by Neil Rackham - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists
Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff

Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-payoff

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,725 ratings  ·  65 reviews
What makes success in major sales? How do some salespeople consistently outsell their competition? Why do techniques like closing work in small sales but fail in larger ones? How can salespeople dramatically increase their sales volume from major accounts?Now you can find answers to all these questions with the SPIN strategy.
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published May 1st 1988 by McGraw-Hill Companies
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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)
Tony Loftis
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...more
I usually wouldn't read a sales book, but this was recommended from a couple of people at work.

I'm interested in a lot of things that people do well. This book investigates what type of methods work well with selling. This was written back in 1988 so it certainly isn't new.

I was skeptical from the beginning since sales books are so "soft" and qualitative theories can be propounded usually 1) with little empirical evidence to back-up their claims and 2) if they do supply data it usually falls i...more
Andrew K.
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...more
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.
Leonidas Kaplan
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, co...more
Robin Brenizer
Great book when it came out. It provided observational evidence that asking questions about customer dissatisfactions work. However, it is limited in that it misses a lot of other skills that are required when selling. But it is a good read for those in sales. Some reviewers believe this to be a technique that is easy to see through. It is, if you use it as a technique, and not as a way to diagnose issues. That is where the model falls a bit short. Just leave the "N" out and the questions are so...more
Omar Halabieh
The main premise of this book is best summarized by the author in the first chapter of the book: "The traditional selling models, methods, and techniques that most of us have been trained to use work best in small sales. In this book I'll be showing you that what works in small sales can hurt your success as the sales grow larger—and I'll be sharing with you our research findings that have uncovered new and better models for success in large sales...One of the simplest models of a sales call doe...more
Ben Dunay
This book came highly recommended by a respected peer, but to me it felt dull and outdated, if only because the material was common sense (to me, anyway). So, I guess that could technically mean its not outdated at all, if it applies to so much today. But I was waiting for the big 'aha' moment that told me I was reading something smart and new. But I never got it. Here's the bottom line (and also a spoiler alert): if you are selling something expensive, or something that will establish a long-ru...more
Cyrano Jones
I may go back and read this book again, once I can get over the idea that it is basically about how to psychologically bully people into giving you a lot of money. (Really, a lot. The tactics Rackham discusses are to be used only in 'big' sales. It's a term I don't believe he defines but I imagine means thousands of dollars.) If nothing else, he's a big believer in research. He has his own institute on learning how to sell things, questions conventional wisdom, and all that good stuff.
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...more
Eric Horbinski
I debated between 3 and 4 stars for this one. If I had read it when it FIRST came out, it would definitely have been a 4 (or maybe even 5) star book, yet a lot of it's topical matter has been covered since then. Mr. Rackham was one of the first business writers to begin analyzing the art of selling large ticket items or contracts, and how those sales fundamentally differ from small, one-off sales. Worth reading in any time period.
Jenny Blake
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!
Ash Moran
Thoroughly-researched, empirical look at sales of complex services. A very clear, practical guide. I recommend Trust-Based Selling Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships as a companion.

Don't let the title fool you, this has nothing to do with 'spinning' or 'misleading' anyone.

S.P.I.N. is a serious of types of questions you lead someone through to literally sell themselves.

This book will change your sales life. Believe me.

I only wish there was a 6th star to give it.
excellent introduction to the science and art of selling. for those of you (like myself) who career seemingly has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the art of the sell, and/or whose exposure to salesmen are limited to cars, or stores in the mall, or phone solicitors, or the guys in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, this book will come as a welcome surprise.
This is a book about establishing relationships and selling in a situation that probably involves more than one phone/visit to the buyer. It is not written well and Rackham doesn't do much for citing his research with actual data other than simple graphs and saying, 'trust me, I researched this.' However, the detailing of the difference between an Advance and a Continuation and how to more effectively ask probing questions has been pretty valuable to me and I'd be lying if I said I didn't learn...more
Jack Vinson
Not officially a Theory of Constraints book, but my colleagues at P3 Consulting Group reference it often. Good stuff! SPIN = Situation Problem Implication and Need-Payoff all in the form of questions.
Chung Chin Ang
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 c...more
SPIN refers to a series of questioning: situational, problem, implication and need-payoff

The book highlights differences in approach for small and large selling.
Apr 15, 2012 Don added it
Great fundamental work on the research of Neil Rackham about what works and what doesn't in sales conversations. An older book, but a timeless must read for sales!
Awesome book on selling skills which differentiates sales to large clients from smaller scale sales. I think it's kind of a bible of a salesman.
Michael Weening
One of my Top 5 sales books on effective questioning. No sales rep should be allowed to speak with a client until they have read this book.
Cameron Madill
Generally not a fan of sales books, but this was the best one that I've read yet. That may be faint praise, but whatever...
Some useful, tactical points in sales. Not particularly applicable to all kinds of sales but insightful at times.
Best sales methodolgy around. For anyone who is in sales they should read this book and use it as your sales bible
Bruce Flanagan
A dry book, but the principles of this book are the best info and research you will read on sales
Grant Weaver
One of the best sales books out there. The SPIN question method works really well.
Roberto Jorda-Cid
so far not bad. i am not doing sales but if i was, this would be a go to book.
Great sales methodology. Just takes a bit too long to explain a simple formula.
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