An interesting book I have found useful in my sales efforts is Neil Rackam's 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.
This article is the first of a 4 part series. This particular article will explain the first question in the SPIN Selling System. To read the other articles in this series just click on the links below.
The Order Of Questions in the SPIN Selling System
1. Situation Questions
SPIN Selling Summary
Situation questions are questions in the sales process that ask for background or facts. They are key to understanding a context for uncovering buyer problems. The situation type questions are the first questions you want to ask after you have introduced yourself to the prospect. The theory behind the SPIN system is to talk about your product and your products benefits as late into the sales interaction as possible. To do this you will need to get a conversation going by asking questions, starting with situation questions.
Stage 1 Questions
Examples of situation questions would be (I will use examples related to my customer who provides office coffee.
1. What kind of coffee brewing system do you use right now?
2. How often do you get coffee delivered to your location?
3. Are there any areas of opportunity for improvement with your current coffee supplier?
4. How many cups of coffee do you go through a day?
Stage 2 Questions
After asking Examples of stage 2 questions after the buyer has given you specific piece of information to probe further on.
1. How long does your current coffee machine take to brew a cup of coffee?
2. Am I right in thinking that placing your coffee orders over the phone is very time consuming?
3. When did you first notice an increase in the prices you were paying for your coffee?
4. Has the number employees complaining about the coffee increased over time?
Situation questions are the first questions you should be asking during a sales interaction because they do not put the prospect on the defensive, get them talking to you (which creates rapport), and gives you further information so that you can start to steer the conversation towards outlining some problems. This leads into the second type of questions to ask which are problem questions. If you want to get a copy of this book and read it in more detail I am sure you can get it for not much on amazon.com.
Read the next article in this series titled SPIN Selling Questions - Determine Buyer Needs.
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 on the SPIN selling questions was interesting. Thanks for reading.