Argues that large-scale sales requires different strategies than small-scale sales, and tells how to explain benefits, prevent objections, identify customer needs, and make effective closings.
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1) It's about the larger sale. 2) It's based on research.
I'm writing for those who are serious about selling -- who see their selling as a high-level profession needing all the skill and care that go with professionalism in any field.
With the recent and accelerated development of online merchandising, however, I wondered, "Has the SPIN System lost any relevance?" So I re-read the book again. My answer is "Yes" and "No."
"Yes" in that online merchandising relies so heavily (almost exclusively) on technology to provide information and then to process orders. By the time most prospective buyers visit a website, they have already examined their situation (S), identified a problem (P), considered the implications of that problem (I), and determined the desired need-payoff (N). However, the core principles of SPIN Selling are nonetheless invaluable to those who design the systems by which to expedite online merchandising. For example, the principles can assist with the formulation of feedback mechanisms which enable the prospective buyer to sharpen the focus on her or his specific Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff. The reality is that "customized" commodities are still commodities, of course, but a buyer's perception of them may be otherwise.
But "No" in that so many so-called "Big Ticket" purchases necessarily involve a salesperson. Moreover, there is usually a direct correlation between the amount of the purchase and the length of the sales cycle. In addition, many of these purchases also involve a "circle of influence" which complicates the situation even more. Use of the SPIN System, therefore, must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate a sometimes wide variety of different (perhaps contradictory) perspectives on the given Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff. My own rather extensive experience suggests that it is and it does.
The latest re-reading also suggested to me, in ways and to an extent previous readings hadn't, that the principles of SPIN Selling (with only minor modifications) can be effectively applied to situations in which nothing is for sale. For example, during the hiring process, when a promotion is being negotiated, or after a major crisis has occurred and must be resolved. Yes, yes, I know. There are excellent reasons why Rackham's book bears the title it does. The title is certainly appropriate. All I presume to suggest is that, for me at least, the principles of SPIN Selling have applications wholly unrelated to the selling process...unless we extend the meaning of "selling" to include persuasion in almost any context.
This is a business "classic." Like all other such classics, it deserves to be re-read periodically, both to remind us of what we may have forgotten and to reveal to us what we may have failed to understand before. Within a turbulent global marketplace, moreover, the principles of SPIN Selling have achieved a matrix of relevancies which perhaps even Rackham could not have anticipated in 1988.
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