Principles of Customer oriented selling

Exponents of customer oriented approach to selling have developed a method that he calls SPIN selling (Situation, Problem, implication, Need Payoff). Gone is the script of the slick salesperson and in its place is the salesperson who knows how to raise good questions and listen and learn. Trained salespeople raise four types of questions with the prospect:

1. Situation questions: These ask about facts or explore the buyer’s present situation. For example, ‘What system are you using to invoice your customers’?

2. Problem question: These deal with problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions the buyer is experiencing. For example, ‘What parts of the system create errors?’

3. Implication question: These ask about the consequences or effects of a buyer’s problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions. For example, “How does this problem affect your people’s productivity?”

4. Need payoff questions: These ask about the value or usefulness of a proposed solution. For example`, “How much would you save it our company could help reduce the errors by 80%?

Companies, especially those selling complex products or services, should have their salespeople move from preliminaries to investigating the prospect’s problem and needs to demonstrate the supplier’s supplier capabilities, and then obtaining a long term commitment. This approach reflects the growing interest of many companies in moving from pursuing an immediate sale to developing a long term customer relationship.

Some Marketing experts suggested an approach which is a step further calling it ‘Buying Facilitation Method’. They held that the job of a salesperson is to help prospects go through a process to decide first whether their company’s performance can be improved, and second whether the seller’s offering would provide a solution. Prospects only buy when they realize they have a problem that they lack resources to solve their problem, and that the seller’s offering can add value.

Sales guru Tom Hopkins offers some additional tips to help close a deal:

1. Ask questions that don’t leave room for ‘no’: I could visit you today at 3, or would tomorrow at 9 be better?”

2. Never use the word “price” or “cost” Say investment.

3. Never ask for “an appointment.” It suggests a serious time commitment. Say “I’ll be in the area, and I was hoping I could just pop by and visit.”

4. Don’t ask, “May I help you?” They’ll reply “We’re just looking.” Ask instead what brought them into the store today.

5. Isolate areas of agreement: You need a lot of “little yeses” on the way to getting a big “yes”.