Sunday, June 28, 2015

SPIN Selling - Still Strong After 30 Years

SPIN selling methodology has been a 30-year old staple for the sales community.  Developed by Neil Rackham from a large observation study with Huthwaite (a study/development organization), I recently had the opportunity to attend a formal 3-day training course on the sales methodology.

I must admit, I was somewhat skeptical before the class.  I have not only been a "student of sales" for about 20 years, but I've also been a professional sales instructor.  I have attended half a dozen training workshops on sales methodology, but had never been introduced to SPIN until the class.  The class was led by a professional instructor from Huthwaite, so I knew I was going to get the information directly from the source of the methodology (Rackham sold the methodology to Huthwaite some time ago).

For those of you unacquainted with SPIN, the methodology is derived from a large focused study of sales/buyer interactions (Huthwaite continues to update/affirm the results even today).  The material has a scientific approach in that the ideas are presented simply and factually:  "We saw this behavior from salespeople, and here were the results."  In essence, the methodology revolves around a defined Buyer's Sales Cycle, which originates by understand the buyer's Explicit Needs.  Everything in the methodology surrounds these Explicit Needs by asking SPIN questions (Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs-Payoff).  A full sales methodology unfolds, including all of the components you might expect (meeting formats, questioning skills, buyer interactions, approaches, objections and moving the sale forward).

The workshop was extremely interactive with plenty of role-play, exercises and group discussions.  The program blends well with other consultative-selling programs (methods in which the selling methodology is focused around the customer).  There were several times where I had an "ah-ha" moment (which is the sign of a strong class).

Here's my overall feedback:
I think SPIN is a solid, effective and sound sales methodology that puts the customer's needs first.  It is especially effective for complicated/enterprise solution selling.  It's a bit surprising on how relative the methodology still is after such a long time, but it absolutely ranks up there with any competitive sales process.  There is a learning curve, and many acronyms/processes that will require reinforcement, but I think this is true of most good methodologies.

If there are sales professionals out there that haven't adopted a formal sales methodology (which you should  - just look at the science), I think SPIN is a good choice.

Happy Selling.

1 comment:

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