Dr. Rick Farr, with whom I teach a business course at Utah Valley State College, gave a great lecture two weeks ago on sales. He has been a highly successful salesman in his career. I just ordered the book that he said is the best book written on successful selling: SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. This approach claims that asking the right questions is more important in the selling process than anything else. The SPIN Model is this:
The seller uses Situation Questions to establish a context, leading to Problem Questions, so that the buyer reveals Implied Needs, which are developed by Implication Questions . . . which make the buyer feel the problem more clearly and acutely leading to Need-Payoff Questions, so that the buyer states Explicit Needs, allowing the seller to state benefits, which are strongly related to sales success.
According to the research in the book, the close rate is far higher for salespeople that use the question approach and then try to close a sale once, than those aggressive salespeople that use multiple closing tactics during their presentation and focus primarily on the close. Rick enjoys sales and enjoys meeting people. I’m sure that part of the enjoyment comes from the interesting and satisfying results that come from asking questions and really seeking to understand someone’s needs and solve their problems. Hopefully, after reading the book, I’ll be more conscious of asking questions rather than just saying what I want to say — not only in sales situations but also in teaching and lecturing.