Book: SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
All the SPIN questions should be in the A2 in appropriate below 4 stages.
The four stages of a sales call
1 Preliminaries-> 2 Investigating (SPIN questions used in this stage) -> 3 Demonstrating capability-> 4 Obtaining Commitment
1 Preliminaries: These are the warming-up events that occur before the serious selling begins. Introduce yourself. Some sellers say this is very important as the customer forms crucial initial impressions that will influence the rest of the sale.
2 Investigating : You may be uncovering needs or getting a better understanding of your customers and their organisation. We use SPIN questions to do the investigating stage.
3 Demonstrating Capability: you are demonstrating the customer that you have something worthwhile to offer. You have to show the customer that you have a solution to customer’s problem. There are some effective ways to demonstrate the capability in the major sales.
4: Obtaining commitment: Finally a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer. In smaller sales the commitment is usually in the form of a purchase but in larger sales there may be a whole range of other commitments you have to obtain before you reach the order stage like customer’s agreement to attend the product demonstration or to test a new material or give you access to higher level of decision maker. In larger sales each of these sales calls advances. In larger sales classic closing techniques taught in most sales-training programs are ineffective.
In larger business, talking about benefits will be important as customer wants to see any $ value coming from the investment. Why I am getting excited about this feature? (That is the benefit). In the assignment you don’t talk about features. You can talk about how these features can help them to do their work more easily, how easily it can help them to achieve the business goals and their KPIs. That is the benefits.
Examples for feature: This Laptop has a core i7 processor.-this does not mean anything to the customer.
What seller should say (Benefits): With the i7 processor you get from this laptop, you will be able to toggle between apps/ multiple screens. Boot up process is faster. This model can handle more apps than i3 processor which came with the earlier models.
Seller (features): this car has ASB breaks.
Benefits: This car has ASB break system which can keep your family safe.
Seller (feature): This pen has a replaceable ink cartridge feature.
Seller (Benefits) This pen has a replaceable ink cartridge feature, which never will require you to buy a new pen. You always can refill the cartridge.
Assignment must show that the seller has engaged with all the company stakeholders.
Has the seller fulfilled everyone’s needs?
This assignment needs to put more effort on investigation process. Seller has to do with the help with the customer so the customer understands the honest process seller is using to identify the company issue.
Need Pay-Off Question: If we fix that problem what that means to your business? How can that will be helpful to your business. Once they tell us the benefits from their voice, we put them in our business proposal to them. They feel we been interacted with them all along. Without getting the answer from them by asking “Need Pay-Off Question” , if we say to them that it will cost us $xxxxxx amount to fix your problem, customer would say “he is not interested to go ahead”. A2 should show how does my solution can fix this problem. That is the demonstrated applied knowledge. Ask implication questions from the customer so the seller knows the implications of their problems.
If these implications been fixed what does that means to your business? Capture all these and put in the business proposal. Proposal has to be clean, easy for the buyer to make a decision. No PowerPoint presentation. Do not let the customer think how this proposal going to fix their solution, then it is not a good proposal. This is not an academic proposal. Think as a business proposal, customer should be able to understand the proposal easily without having to figure it out by themselves. Give the compelling reason to buy your solution, not other companies solution.
Good sales people are challengers who come back to the customers with lots of details what customer needs to hear. Always buyers should feel like they have controlled the situation, not you controlled. Seller has only guided buyer’s vision, and guided the conversation. Customer should feel like your business proposal came up with their own ideas, and then they are happy to buy it.
Good sales people (Challengers) take the customer on a journey. Not straight away jump and say it will cost $xxxxxx amount. I can fix your problem.
Challengers align themselves with the buyer.
Plan the sales cycle methodologically.
Challengers take the customer out of implied need to explicit need.
Implies need means customer just says negative statement which is not enough to do a sale. E:G “ We wish we did not have to wash dirty cups in the canteen very often”.
Explicit need is making customer buy a product. So need to turn the implied need to an explicit need, like how much time you think you can save if there is another dishwasher. So the Seller’s target has to turn the implied need to an explicit need.
Selling equipment to the company.
S=Situation questions: At the start of the call, successful sales people gathering all the facts, data and background details in relation to the sale.
E:G “How long have you had your present equipment?” Or “Could you tell me about your company’s growth plans”?
Also too many questions can irritate the customer.
P= Problem questions: Once sufficient information has been established about buyer’s situation then start ask the problem questions. E:G “Is this operation difficult to perform?” or Are you worried about the quality you get from your old machine?” We call these problem questions as we explore their problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions to be helpful to our solution proposal. Inexperienced sellers do not ask enough problem questions.
I=Implication Questions. (Not investigation)
Get the pain out of their mouth. “How will this problem affect your future profitability?” or “ what effect does this reject rate have on customer satisfaction?” With these implication questions, good sellers asking implication questions to explorer further the customer problems and explore its effects or consequences. Then the customer will understand the seriousness or urgency.
N=Need pay off questions: “Would it be useful to speed this operations by 10 percent?” Or “if we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?” Most importantly customer tells seller the benefits that sellers solution could offer. That is what we need to hear so we can put it in our proposal.
If we do not take this journey and align our shared vision with the customer, more likely our proposal will go ahead.
Obtaining Commitment: Four successful actions:
1 Giving attention to the Investigating and Demonstrating capability. Less successful sellers rush through the Investigating stage: as a result, they don’t do such an effective job of uncovering, understanding, and developing the needs of their customers. In the investigation stage, as a result of the questions they asked, their customers came to realise that they had an urgent need to buy. If you can convince the buyers that they need what you are offering, then they will often close the sale for you.
2 Checking that key concerns are covered. Successful sellers ask the buyers whether there were any further points or concerns that needed to be addressed.
3 summarising the benefits
In a larger sale the call may have taken several hours and covered a wide range of topics. Successful sellers pull the threads together by summarising key points of the discussion before moving to the commitment. It is more important to bring key points into focus just before the decision, so, summarize key points can be especially benefits.
4: proposing a commitment: Ask for the order is not a good closing method. Successful sellers don’t ask-they tell. The most natural and most effective way is suggest customer an appropriate next step.
Seller: (Checking key concerns) Is there anything else that we need to cover?
Buyer: No, I think we have discussed everything.
Seller: (summarising the benefits) Yes, We have certainly seen how the new system will speed your order processing and how it will be simpler to use than your present one. We have also discussed the way in which it can help out control costs. In fact, there seem to be some impressive benefits from changing, particularly as a new system would get rid of those reliability problems which have been worrying you.
Buyer: Yes, when you add it all up, there is a lot of value to us from making the change.
Seller: (proposing a commitment) Then I might suggest that the most logical next step would be for you and your accountant to come and see one of these systems in operation.
1 Economic buyer influence: This person give the final approval. He can say yes or no to the business solution.
2 User buying influences: This person/people make judgements about the potential impact of your product or service. They will use or supervise the use of the product or service and their personal success is directly tied to your solution. You must satisfy their needs.
3 Technical buying influences
These role/roles is to screen out possible suppliers. They focus on the product and make recommendation based on how well it meets a variety of objective specifications. Technical buyers cannot give a final “yes”, but they can give a final “No”.
The unique and very special role of a coach is to guide you to your particular sales objectives by leading you to the other buyers and by giving you information that you need to position yourself effectively with each one. They can be found in the buying organisation or outside. Your couch’s focus is on helping you to make this sale.
If we established with customer that this problem going to cost them $300,000 a year and by fixing this which going to cost $150,000, they can see this deal is valuable and worth fixing it. However if the seller do not establish the journey ( 4 stages plus SPIN) and jump ahead and say that it will cost you $ 150,000, the customer will chase the seller away. You have to show that $ 150,000 is an investment which will pay off within a certain XX period. The customer has to be convinced that it is worthwhile of fixing and there is a return coming for it.
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