Give Your Problems A SPIN

By Enabliser Chris

When people talk about SPIN there are many things that come to mind.  Maybe those carefully chosen words a politician uses to turn a situation to their advantage or playing a roulette wheel or even images of Shane Warne ripping the ball past Mike Gatting to knock over his stumps.  The SPIN I’m referring here is a well-recognised sales methodology developed by Neil Rackham that’s been successfully utilised by solution sellers for decades…and with 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 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, which are the 4 stages of questioning used to fully reveal the issue being addressed.  A quick summary is as follows: 

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?  Interestingly 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/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, meaning 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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