Double Your Sales with the Spin Selling – Book Summary

Author avatar wrote on 01/08/2018

Double Your Sales with the Spin Selling – Book Summary

Reading this summary in NO WAY replaces the experience of reading one of the SPIN Selling books. I cannot hope to cram 200 pages of sales wisdom into a 10 page summary. So, do yourself a favor and buy one of the SPIN Selling books (personally I prefer the SPIN Selling Fieldbook) or better still attend one of the sales courses they run. I’m very confident it will be worth your time and money.


I should also mention that I have never been formally trained in the SPIN Selling model. I was in business to business selling for 23 years selling mainly big ticket items and only found SPIN Selling late in my B2B career. I was surprised at how many of the SPIN techniques and ideas I wasalready applying. Not surprising really, when you think about it, since SPIN Selling was devised from studying successful big item sales people and I was very successful at doing just that (thanks mainly to some wise mentors I was lucky to be working with).


Anyway, enjoy the summary and if you want to see better sales results apply what you read and further your study by learning more and refining your SPIN Selling ability.




In my early days of business to business selling I was lucky enough to have an astute sales manager; hopefully you were also this lucky? My sales manager had a favorite saying, “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in those proportions”. The basic reference of course was to listen during a sales call much more than you talk. I would suspect that this was common wisdom for many years.


However, it was only ever a theory. That was until 1988 when Neil Rackham published “SPIN Selling”. “SPIN Selling” delivered the results of a huge 12 year study relating to how large sales were made. The extensive research by Rackham, and his company Huthwaite, examined more than 35,000 sales calls relating to large, complicated scenarios. (Please note that Rackham himself says in his books it is not wise to follow a rigid system of selling, that’s just not the way it is in the world of selling, you need to maintain your flexibility.(e.g. you may not always follow the SPIN questions in strict order.)


The Results


One of the key findings of this large study was that in successful sales calls it’s the buyer who does most of the talking. And how do you get a buyer to talk? By asking questions. So that long held belief that good salespeople are not necessarily good talkers was finally proven to be correct.


However, this extensive study revealed many more interesting facts about selling.


Perhaps the most important being that the good salespeople did not just ask any old questions. It seemed that successful salespeople ask certain types of questions and often in a particular sequence.


Rackham and his team defined those types of questions as:

  • Situation (questions)
  • Problem (questions)
  • Implication (questions)
  • Need-payoff (questions)


We’ll get into the specifics of these questions later on. For now you just need to know that the first students trained in the “SPIN” model showed an average of 17% improvement in sales results.


Before you read any further let’s check something out.

Before I go on, let me ask you to write down at least four examples of questions you typically ask during a sales call. No cheating. Do not read ahead. Write down your answers now. Now I’d like you to categorize your questions into one of two types.


Are your questions factual?

Are your questions like the following?

What is your production output?

How many product returns do you get?

What is the turnover rate of your staff?

Or do your questions focus more on problems and difficulties?

Is your product output keeping up with your delivery commitments?

How does your product return rate compare to your major competitors?

What effect is your staff turnover having on your training budget?

How did you fare? What types of questions are you asking?



Summary by Greg Woodly:

You can get or read more about the book( SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham) here:

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