June 30th, 2008 by Seth Kenvin
I’ve picked up a few good books based on recommendations in blogs (& their comments) and on mailing lists. One I picked up recently is SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. It’s a distinctive sales book in its basis on statistics from analysis of more than 35,000 sales calls. The book’s recommended progression for effective sales discussions (including illumination of the hardly mnemonic SPIN acronym) is:
- Situational questions: soliciting basic facts about prospect, which is recommended to be kept minimal
- Problem questions: identifying challenges that most concern prospect, again not recommended for deep delving
- Implication questions: encouraging prospect to expand on top challenges with additional, related problems (the art of the book)
- Need-payoff questions: getting prospect to connect all of the revealed problems to elements of vendor’s solution, including placing economic value
All four of these steps entail the seller asking and the buyer answering. Done artfully, the buyer will articulate a broad set of needs and associated costs that map elegantly to the seller’s wares. Then, the seller need only link those needs to the benefits of what’s being sold, and establish that the price is less than the costs associated with the needs. There’s minimal cheesy salesmanship because justification primarily comes from the buyer’s statements.
SPIN Selling seems a potentially good model for Market7. This in part relates to the breadth of what we’re building which already includes video conceptualization, project logistics, pre-production (ex: scripting) and post-production (ex: footage review). And we have more modules on our roadmap to further advance collaboration between creative agents and their clients in producing rich content. By SPINning, we can relate our offering to prospective users’ most acute needs and also through implication connect to related challenges in other elements of production efforts.
I am especially enthusiastic about trying this approach to promoting Market7 to accounts because all of our development has been in response to needs already voiced by video production participants. Before we wrote any code we conducted scores of interviews with video producers and their clients about how their collaborations could be improved. And those interactions continue including with the now more than 30 pilot projects using our software. So when we ask our potential customers about their situations, problems, related implications and overall needs, we get encouraging responses consistent with our offering, which feels to us like it’s SPINning well.