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A Simple 4-Step Approach on How To Sell Better (SPIN Selling)

I used to consider “Sales” a bad word; until I got good at it!

In this case if you’re not comfortable with the idea of “selling’ you can replace “Sales” with “persuading” or “problem solving” — now let’s help you sell!

Neil Rackham wrote a terrific book called SPIN Selling in 1996. What I like about it is that it provides you a framework for selling better based on the results and experience of thousands of salespeople and their supervisors.

Most important tip: The more questions you ask, the more effective you will be.

So, what is SPIN Selling?

SPIN is an acronym that stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need and the book recommends that you ask questions about all four of those.

Below are some SPIN Selling questions to ask (let’s pretend you are selling vacuum cleaners):

Situation Questions

  • How many carpets or rugs do you have in your house?

Problem Questions

  • What problems do you have with your vacuum cleaner?
  • How old is it?
  • How often does your vacuum cleaner’s belt break often?
  • How heavy is it?
  • Where do you store it?

Implication Questions

  • Is your vacuum cleaner so heavy that it aches your back to lift it from the closet or even to vacuum?
  • Is you vacuum so large and heavy that it’s hard to store away?

Need/Payoff Questions

  • How much happier would you be if you had a new vacuum cleaner that was half the height and weight, and could easily be stored and NEVER needed a new belt again?

So, when trying to persuade or problem-solve or sell, try asking lots of questions first and focus on your buyer and what will lead to their big payoff!

SPIN Selling is a must-read for any business-person; it explains SPIN selling techniques and backs it up with detailed research. Rackham later came out with the SPIN Selling Fieldbook which is also an excellent read.

I recommend you buy SPIN Selling first and then if you have people on your team who you want to share the concept with, then buy them a copy of the slightly less expensive Fieldbook.

Do you have any thoughts on the SPIN Selling technique or the topic of sales in general — if so, please make a comment below.


  • Greg Woodley

    SPIN Selling is an excellent if somewhat incomplete book.
    Great in terms of developing sales questions but lacks any mention of developing customer rapport or understanding what’s important to the person you are selling to. I guess it lacks the human approach and favors the rational, logical approach.

  • James Mielnik

    Sales is so interesting.

    SPIN selling is one book I did get great value from.

    Here is the template I use when “selling”

    1. Listen
    2. Understand their needs
    3. Meet their needs
    4. Have the BEST selling argument , then NEVER TELL THEM.

  • ak

    I agree, SPIN selling is the most useful book on selling I have ever read.

  • ak

    I agree, SPIN selling is the most useful book on selling I have ever read.

  • ak

    I agree, SPIN selling is the most useful book on selling I have ever read.

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