A while back, we wrote a post discussing researcher Neil Rackham’s concept of SPIN Selling. The applications for SPIN Selling in sales development are important. They represent a greater effort by a salesperson to understand their prospects’ needs.
The advantages of using techniques like SPIN Selling can’t be overstated. The technique itself is now over three decades old, but Rackham’s findings still apply in our modern business environment.
What Is SPIN Selling in Sales Development?
Each letter in SPIN refers to a specific step.
You start by asking effective questions about a prospect’s situation. From there, you can discuss the problems they’re having, and their implications. After that, it’s easy to see what they need to fix them, and what the payoffs could be.
It’s a powerful method of prospect engagement. Applying it in sales development accelerates sales. It provides account executives and deal closers with more information, faster.
That’s why we’ve decided to take a more detailed look at the different parts of the SPIN Selling concept. This post is the first in a series covering each step.
Today, let’s dive into how we can best understand each prospect’s situation.
“Hi, this is Bob from XYZ Biz, Inc. Can you tell me what your company does and what’s the situation in your industry right now?”
Yeah, no. That’s a hang-up.
Any sales professional who comes into a call unprepared to talk shop with their prospect is in for a bad time.
You need to do your homework before you ever dial the number.
For most sales development representatives, this is old news. Research is a basic part of the job description.
You take a look around the company website. You scroll quickly through their social media feeds. You might even look for recent news articles to scan.
You’ve got to come into a call knowing a few things about the specific person you’re addressing. That, plus a few more things about the work they do.
The internet makes that research fairly easy. In our original post about applying Spin Selling in sales development, we said, “Don’t irritate prospects with stuff that Google and LinkedIn can tell you. Save this moment for more questions that help you understand why things are the way they are.”
Let’s talk about those questions, then.
Evaluating the Situation
There are some specific ways you would want to approach a prospect’s situation.
From your experience with other prospects in the same industry, you’ll have an idea of what common solutions you’re competing with.
In the situation stage of SPIN Selling, you’re going to ask your prospects whether they’re using one of those common solutions or something else.
If they’re using the common ones, you may be tempted to jump straight into addressing problems and implications. That’s understandable because you’ve heard them many times before.
Don’t be too hasty!
Every prospect is different. What’s a problem for one may be a non-issue for another.
It’s always important to discuss the way the prospect’s current solution is working or not working for them. Forget everyone else: is it meeting their expectations?
Ask how well it’s helping them, or what particular issues might be getting in the way of greater success.
An important aspect of the situation is what their upgrade or replacement budget is like.
That’s a sensitive topic. To prepare for it, it’s so important to build up a good rapport at the beginning of the sales relationship!
There are many other questions you can ask to get a feel for the situation. The key is to learn to find a good balance. You want to be sure you understand where the prospect is. But you don’t want them to feel like they’re facing down the Spanish Inquisition!
Ready to Move On?
Keep in mind that with practice applying SPIN Selling in sales development, you may find that you’re comfortable bouncing back and forth.
You can ask a situation question where the prospect may reveal a problem themselves. You can comment on it and even ask a follow-up implication question. After that, you could still jump back to gather more situational information.
That’s okay! The important thing is that the conversation feels natural. It’s not just an interview with a prepared question list. You’re exploring possibilities together!
Just be respectful and curious when asking situational or any other questions. Don’t ask too many, and always make sure to comment back to verify that you did understand what they told you.
Using SPIN Selling in Sales Development
Check back with us next week to take a more detailed look at the next step: identifying problems!
If this article was helpful for you, be sure to share it with others, and check out the rest of our website. Boom Demand agents apply techniques like SPIN Selling in sales development for our clients. That’s how we help them grow better and faster!
If you need high-quality sales development to supplement your in-house sales team, contact us! We’re here to help you grow!