SPIN Selling

Sales books suck. Reading them makes me feel like I’m trying to learn magic tricks to fool the gullible. SPIN Selling is different. It explains the difference between big and small sales. The concepts that help you sell a set of steak knives might hurt you when you are trying to sell a big item or service.

This is the book to read if you are in sales. Which, the more I learn about it, we all are in some way. Even if you aren’t selling a product you still have to sell your ideas. From getting your employers to take on your ideas to selling your self in a job interview, we all sell. SPIN Selling is a good place to start. It’s clear and well written and has concrete and actionable concepts you can use straight away.

What is it about?

Reading the introduction alone made the book worthwhile to me. I rethought the reality of what we sell. Sure it’s coffee but more than that, it’s a weekly ongoing relationship with our customers. We don’t just sell coffee by the kilo. We sell our support and advice and even our friendship.

SPIN is an acronym, standing for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff. Each of these is a stage of the sales process and has questions and ideas around it. The ideas are all backed by comprehensive research and tested over many years. 

It’s a technical book but the style is dry yet engaging. I learned a great new word that I will struggle to ever use. “One of my favourite words, entelechy, is so little known that listeners reach for a dictionary whenever I use it. That’s a pity, because the fills a serious gap in the English language and deserves to be in everyday circulation. It means the becoming actual of what was potential–turning something into practical usefulness as to opposed to theoretical elegance.

What Did I Learn?

Much of the book is about learning how to ask better questions and listening to the answers. Good skills in any aspect of life. It’s all about giving you a framework from which to work. Until now I have been making it up as I go so it’s time to be better prepared.

They don’t just list all the new things you have to do and then leave you to it. There is a whole chapter on learning new skills. Practicing one new behaviour at a time and aiming for quantity not quality are familiar to me. It’s much like learning physical skills like jiu-jitsu or lifting weights. Once you’ve learned the basics you just need to start getting the reps in. You polish the skill as you go along. You can’t have it perfectly formed from the start.

So a sales book that doesn’t make me feel dirty and has real and actionable steps to follow on with. SPIN Selling is the best sales book I’ve read and I’m looking forward to testing it out in the field.


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