Guide to using the SPIN sales method

More than 70% of the buying decisions are made to solve a problem. But you already knew that. It’s sales 101. So, why are we telling you this? Well, because closing a sale isn’t that easy. If it was, there wouldn’t be so many books, articles, and even professional courses and schools on how to do it. The reason behind why this is simple – no two sales are the same. Hence, you want a strategy that will cut through the clutter and get straight to what the customer needs. And that’s where you’ll find the ConvertMore guide to using the SPIN sales method very helpful.

A thing we want to mention at the beginning is that this sales technique works great with phone sales. So, if you’re already doing everything over the wire, you might want to start monitoring the efficiency of your sales calls. Later, you can compare what you already have with the results from the SPIN method. That way, you’ll be able to determine what works best for your business.

But before we dive any further, let’s see what exactly is the SPIN sales method.

What is SPIN selling?

To better understand what we’ll talk about, first, you need to know the basics. Now, SPIN selling is a methodology based on customer behavior. And although it changed, the tactic remained one of the most iconic of them all. More than 30% of the world’s biggest companies use it, so you can be sure it’s good. Of course, that doesn’t mean that smaller companies have no use for it. On the contrary, they find it equally accessible and supportive for their teams.

Person counting money.
To make the sale with the SPIN method, you need to know a bit more about it.

This sales methodology was outlined by Neil Rackham in his book, named SPIN Selling. It was first published back in 1988. However, since then, there was a ton of research on the subject. And what was established is that you should focus on the buyer’s journey instead of the sales process. This way, you can get the best results.

Depending on where the buyer is in their journey, their needs might be obvious or not. If it’s the latter, you’ll have to uncover them with questions. And four types of key sales questions in the SPIN method are:

  • Situation. Answering questions about your customer’s current situation.
  • Problem. Answering questions about their difficulties and problems in work.
  • Implication. Understanding how the problems affect the client’s business.
  • Need-payoff. With these, you should learn how important it is to the customer to solve the problem at hand.

No matter if you decide to go with an inside or outside sales approach, you’ll base your tactics on these four groups of questions. But let’s look at how exactly you do that.

How to develop SPIN selling skills

It would be nice if we can tell you that you can just read a book, and you’ll be well on your way. This would be a step in the right direction. However, to get where you want to be, you’ll need to invest your time and effort. Therefore, your employees will need to train and practice before they can put it into use. But once they utilize it, you’ll see nothing but benefits.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a guide to using the SPIN sales method if we didn’t give you some guidelines. So, here’s how your reps should think about each of the four groups of questions and what they should do about them.

1. Warm up your prospects

Woman on a video call.
Using the SPIN sales method is a simple matter of following several steps as laid out.

There’s a reason why situation questions are the first on the list. These are here to help your reps introduce themselves. They’ll ask questions that will make prospects feel comfortable. So, they’re used for warming them up.

As a conversation starter, you should always go for generalized but still provoking questions. For example: ”Did you know about (that statistic that is relevant to your product or business)?” or ”Did you think about the (benefits automatic call distribution can bring to your business)?”.

All of the questions asked in this phase should be related to your product, but you mustn’t mention the product itself. And that’s a crucial thing to keep in mind.

2. Investigate the problems

Next up, your rep should find out about the challenges in the prospect’s business endeavors. In this part of the process, you want to learn what part of their business is problematic and how you can help. The rep needs to connect with the prospect at this stage. If they fail to do so, it will be hard to proceed to the implication phase.

However, as with every other phase, the trick here is to ask the right questions. With these, your rep will break down the conversational barriers, and the prospect will become more open about their struggles. Once they start talking about the processes prospects think can be improved, the rep will have an idea of what they can offer them.

3. Prove your product as a solution

When we enter the third phase, reps should start amplifying the client’s sense of urgency about solving the problem. At this time, they should introduce your product as a solution but still not mention it implicitly. As you can see, the person selling will need some finesse to do it.

On top of that, you should avoid implying that the product will fix all their problems right away. What you should do is ask hypothetical implication questions. These will bring your prospect to a conclusion that your product is exactly what they need.

On an example of a company that offers the software for converting website visits into calls, an ideal question to ask would be something like ”How much money would your company lose if you didn’t get any calls from your website in a month?”.

4. Seal the deal

Two people shaking hands.
Don’t skip or rush through any of the steps, and you won’t have to worry about making the deal.

The goal of the final stage is to see what kind of impact your product can have on a prospect’s business. To seal the deal, you need them to see the benefits you can help them achieve. So, don’t be afraid to schedule a demo or offer a free trial. This is where you’ll get to lock in a commitment from the prospect.

If your rep does a good job during the first three phases, they won’t need to do much here.


And that’s about it for this guide to using the SPIN sales method. It does seem simple when you look at it this way. However, it can be a tough thing to master. But a good thing about it is that once you know how to do it, you only can go up. Your sales will skyrocket, and you’ll be amazed by how well it works.

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