The SPIN I’m referring to here is a well-recognised sales methodology developed by Neil Rackham. It's a successfully utilised by solution sellers for decades and with a very good reason. It’s highly practical and helps customers recognise the true cost of a particular business issue. This makes it far more likely that the customer will purchase (provided of course the solution fixes the problem). Otherwise indecision becomes the biggest threat to making a sale.
SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need Payoff. These are the 4 stages of questioning used to fully reveal the issue being addressed. Here's a quick summary:
Situation – Find out what the overriding issue is.
Problem – What is the specific problem that’s causing.
Implication – This is where you drill down into the specifics of how the problem impacts the business.
Need Payoff – The final step where it’s asked “What will it mean to the business if the problem is rectified?”
Logical stuff right? Most sales people stop at the Problem stage and immediately start offering solutions. Customers are just as guilty of wanting to leap into this stage. The fact is you cannot truly assess the value of the offering until you fully understand the business impact. Understanding what it means having the problem fixed helps you establish the time, effort, and money you should commit to fixing it.
While SPIN was developed as a sales methodology it can also be applied to by people assessing any issue within their own business.
Do you really need a sales person to take you through these steps to identify the true cost of a problem and why you should fix it? Most people would say “no” and rightly so.
When you do go down the SPIN path in you assessment you spend far less time concerned about whether you should or shouldn’t take action and how much you need to spend. Most of the focus goes on how the solutions will fix it. Informed decisions are therefore made in a timelier manner. The benefits are realised much sooner.
So next time you identify an issue in the business give it a quick SPIN before deciding on what action to take.
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