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Book: SPIN Selling

It's mainly a book detailing how to sell high-value products with a long sales cycle, but SPIN Selling enlightened me in two ways. Not only did it help me understand the perspective of a sales person, it also gave me some deeper insights into product management.

"S.P.I.N." stands for "situation/problem/implication/need-payoff". The idea is that you use a series of questions to uncover the customer's situation, the problems she faces in the context of the situation, the implications (monetarily and otherwise) of these problems, and what she needs to solve the problems.

Though the facilitative process the book details is for sales, many of the same techniques and principles apply to the one-on-one interviews that product managers conduct. I recommend the book.

Comments

Vegas said…
I heartily agree with you - I recently moved from sales into PM, and use the SPIN questioning method when gathering market data and building a case during waves. Huthwaite recently released a new book called 'Escaping the price driven sale' - there are some interesting points in there regarding 'the unforeseen problem' and the 'unanticipated solution'. If you liked SPIN then you will love this book.

Unforeseen problem - the customer has a problem they are either unaware of or have not given sufficient weight to it. This makes validation difficult as you have to build the problem first before they will think that your solution is worthwhile

Unanticipated solution - they have a problem but they are not aware that the product you have solves the problem. This often happens because they are fixated on a particular route to a solution. Sometimes it helps to show that they can achieve the same desired outcome through an alternate route.

What is funny with SPIN selling is that it is actually an old book (20 years or something) - yet when I read it, I still found it to be the best book on consultative methodologies that I had ever read.

Nice blog btw :)

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