Skip to main content

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 :)

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Use Case as a Black Box

Consider the following use case: Purchase Items Actor: Purchaser Precondition: Purchaser types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40. Postcondition: For the average Purchaser acting at full efficiency, the number of seconds elapsed is no more than 30 + 20 * n, where n is the number of items purchased. The name of the use case represents a functional requirement. What does the product do, or enable the user to do? Purchase items. What are we to make of the preconditions and postconditions? What relationship do they have to the requirements for the product? Answer: the preconditions and postconditions are the nonfunctional requirements attached to the functional requirement . Another way of expressing the nonfunctional requirement would be as an attribute and associated constraint: Usability: For a Purchaser who types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40, it shall take no

Henry Ford's "Faster Horse" Quote

You may have heard the ( apocryphal ) Henry Ford quote: If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse". Over at the On Product Management blog , Saeed gives his take on this infamous quote. He "hates" it, and gives some compelling reasons. Saeed is spot on in his explanations. Personally, I think the quote is great, but it's a matter of interpretation. The valid point of the quote is not that it's a bad idea to facilitate a conversation with your market to better understand it. The valid points are: You must ask the right questions to get valuable answers. You must interpret the answers thoughtfully - often outside their direct meaning - to glean reliable information. Asking questions is not always the best way to "listen" to your market. (E.g., sometimes pure observational studies are more reliable.) Nonetheless, I find the quote is helpful to combat "armchair product management" in the