This is the third article in a four part series on Neil Rackam's book Spin Selling. In the book he outlines what questions to ask when to move prospects all the way through the buying process. If you ask the wrong questions at the wrong stage the interaction will often stall. On the other hand if you ask the right questions at the right time, you will often find the prospect quickly becomes eagerly interested in your product and excited to buy. The third type of question to ask is all about drawing connections from problems to implications.
The Order Of Questions in the SPIN Selling System
3. Implication Questions
SPIN Selling Summary
Implication questions are questions in the sales process that ask ask about the problems consequences, effects or impacts. This step is critical as once the prospect realizes they have a problem, as pointing out the implications can show the problem is a much larger concern then initially thought. The idea is to extend and expand the effects of the problem and link the problem to other potential problems to make the buyer eager to find a solution.
Implication Question Examples
Examples of implication questions would be (I will use examples related to my customer who provides office coffee.
1. How has the problems with your office coffee system affected your staff?
2. Has having people wait in line for coffee affected your teams ability to respond to client calls?
3. Has running out of coffee supplies before a sales meeting ever caused a sales meeting with a prospective client to get off to a bad start?
4. Has a visitor to your office ever been left with a bad image of your company because your coffee did not taste very good?
If you do have problems with your office coffee just give me a call at (519) 880-8675. One of my customers that I represent provides office coffee and does an outstanding job.
Asking implications questions should be a component of any sales call. The implication questions you ask should be well thought out, if possible even plan out ahead of time what your implication questions will be. When asking an implication question you need to be careful not to ask a question that the prospect will say an implication does not exist. If this happens the prospects interest in buying will decrease. That is why it is best to plan out your implication questions before hand. If you only find out the problems the prospect is having in the sales call though, you will need to do your best and think on your feet. Always error on the side of caution though and don't ask the question if you think there is a chance the prospect will say there is no implication. If this is the case continue to ask problem questions until a you identify an implication. Another thing you need to be careful not to do is identify an implication that you can not fix with your product or service. If you do this, the prospect will look for another supplier who can also fill that need. You will also want to be careful you do not ask implication questions too early in the call before you have built rapport or in relation to sensitive areas (organization politics, personal issues, decisions the buyer recently made). If you do this you will probably have an uncomfortable buyer who no longer wants to talk to you. Be sure to also vary the way you ask your implication questions so that your conversation sounds natural.
Implication Question Lead-in Examples
Examples of how you could start an implication question are
1. What effect does that have on...
2. How often does that cause.....
3. What does that result in when.....
4. Does that ever lead to......
To make your implication questions feel natural and flow in the conversation you will also want to link them to other parts of the conversation like buyer statements, your own observations and other related stories you can tell. If you do a good job of showing the magnitude of the impactions your product or service can solve you will be well on your way to making an easy sale. The next and final questions to ask are need/payoff questions. If you want to get a copy of this book and read all about the SPIN selling process in more detail I am sure you can get it for not much on amazon.com. In addition you can go to this website http://www.huthwaite.co.uk/resource-centre/case-studies/spin-selling-model-makes-a-material-difference-at-granta/ to see a case study of a company that implemented the SPIN Selling Process.
Read the fourth and final article SPIN Selling Review in this series on Neil Rackhams' SPIN Selling book.
My name is Chris R. Keller. I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. Feel free to connect with me on Google+ or if you are just interested in getting new customers for your B2B small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Sales Insights" button.
I hope this article SPIN selling By Neil Rackham summary was worth while to read. Thanks for reading.