Need-Payoff Questions – Spin Selling

Author avatar wrote on 29/08/2018

Need-Payoff Questions – Spin Selling

Need-Payoff Questions get the buyer to tell you about their Explicit Needs and the benefits your solutions offers, rather than forcing you to explain the benefits to the buyer.


What these questions do is probe for explicit needs and getting the buyer to state the benefits has greater impact while sounding a lot less pushy. It is often said that selling is not about convincing buyers but about creating the right conditions to allow buyers to convince themselves.


Needs-Payoff Questions ask about the value, importance or usefulness of a solution.

For example:

“How much would you save if we could reduce the return rate of your products?”

“What effect would that have on your reputation in the marketplace?”


The thing is these questions focus on solutions and because of this buyers rate calls that are high in need-payoff questions as positive, constructive and useful. Need-payoff questions are a mirror image of implication questions.

For example an implication question might be “Could the higher return rate of your products add to your costs?”

Whereas a needs payoff question might be “If you had lower return rates would that cut costs and improve profitability?”

These questions have a unique function in that they get the buyer to tell you about the benefits your solution offers rather than forcing you to explain the benefits.


Getting buyers to talk about the benefits you offer is more impactful and seems a lot less pushy. It also has a tendency to reduce sales objections. And during the thinking process initiated by your needs payoff questions buyers often extend the payoff to new areas. Not only that but since they’ve thought of the payoffs they are more committed to your solution since they experience some sort of ownership.


Given that there are often no perfect solutions in a complex sale getting your prospect to generate a number of payoffs is wise because if you focus on only one positive result you run the risk of the buyer focusing on the areas that you don’t solve rather than the ones you do.


Once again the book goes into details about how to plan Need-Payoff Questions (and using the ICE Method), how to phrase them, and when to use them. Using the SPIN Model.

Rackham and Huthwaite contend there are four stages to a sale:

  • Opening
  • Investigating
  • Demonstrating Capability
  • Obtaining Commitment

Read about Spin Selling Important Notes



Summary by Greg Woodly

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

We stand with Ukraine