SPIN CLASS: How to win with SPIN Selling

Based on the best selling book by Neil Rackham, SPIN Selling is a research-backed framework for working and closing complex deals. Revolutionary when released, the SPIN Selling methodology is the backbone of many sales organizations because it provides a framework focused on consultative selling and building value. SPIN Selling empowers you to use discovery to anticipate objections and prevent those objections by anticipating client needs.

If you don’t already have a copy of SPIN Selling you absolutely need to invest in a copy. While the methods outline in SPIN Selling are simple to implement – they are game changing to sales professionals. SPIN Selling is the Tour de France of guide books (pun intended)

SPIN Selling has helped build the foundation for other popular sales methodologies. SPIN works in tandem with everything from BANT to MEDDICC to Command of the Message, etc…because it goes beyond checklist questions (ex: BANT/TREAD – which are important, but don’t paint the entire picture) to fully understand through active listening what the client needs and how you can guide them to ‘Yes’ when closing a deal.

What is SPIN?

When I hear the word ‘SPIN’ I think of two things:

  • Putting a spin on something – i.e. ‘I got fries at Chick fil-A and that messed up my diet.’ I could ‘spin’ that to say ‘well I’m investing in a positive company and helping the potato industry.’
    • That is a ‘false spin’ that while useful when debating – this ‘political/personal spin’ is not SPIN selling
  • I imagine my pre-COVID gym routine on the stationary bike – cycling for hour. In that case I was burning calories but not moving – SPIN Selling ensures that you aren’t stationary in your sales cycle – you are able to move the deal across the finish line


It starts with SPIN – an acronym for:

Situation: Gather information. What is the current situation at the company (think Before State in BNAPR or ‘Authority’ in BANT). What processes do they have in place? What does the company sell? How do they make money? Etc…

Problem: (Negative State in BNAPR) What problems are they facing based on the current situation? What bottlenecks come from this friction? This is where you drill into the pain and put salt in the wound through discovery questions so you can get to…

Implication: How is this implicating the business? How much time are they using to solve this problem and how does that relate to their bottom line?

Need/Payoff: From this deep discovery into the current state and problems you are able to act as a consultant, identifying their need – verifying it and then recommending how you can solve the problem and improve their business. The payoff is a quantifiable metric (you save them two hours a day on faxing and paper costs) or is a emotional payoff .

People don’t buy solely on need. Humans are not always rational buyers so you need to empathize with their emotional and business goals. SPIN focuses on listening to the customer – gathering the rational and emotional implications and in turn acting as a trusted advisor to make a recommendation.

SPIN Selling is less about closing and more about connection and seeking to understand. In theory if you follow the SPIN discovery framework you will be able to close seamlessly because you have identified all key pain points and built the value so when you ask for the business it is a YES.

SPIN Example Questions:


  • Tell me about your company? What do you do?
  • How does the company make money?
  • How do you do xyz…?
  • What happens if…?


  • How long does it take to do xyz?
  • What happens if your process fails?
  • How much effort is required to do xyx?
  • What bottlenecks do you have in your current process?
  • Get specific based on their business. Anticipate and lean into their problems based on current situation
    • Example: A bank still processes loan applications face to face or only through regular email. A problem Q: You said that many clients don’t want to come in to fill out paperwork during COVID – how does losing that customer affect your business? How does a delayed application and paperwork affect a sales closing?


  • What’s the productivity cost of doing X that way?
  • What could you accomplish with an extra amount of time each day?
  • If you didn’t experience (issue), would it be easier to achieve your primary objective
  • How is this issue impacting your team members?
  • How would you use an extra amount of (time, money, etc) each week?


  • Would it help if…?
  • Would your team find value in…?
  • Would X make it simpler to achieve your goals?


The Four Stages of a SPIN Sale:

Rackham says that every sale breaks down into four stages

  1. Opening/Preliminaries: Reps should not product pitch on initial calls – but rather learn more about the clients needs so when they ‘pitch’ it will have value and be relevant to their unique need.
  2. Investigating: Equivalent of the Discovery Call. You’re digging into how your product can help the buyer, identifying their priorities and buying criteria
  3. Demonstrating Capability: Once you have a deeper understanding of clients needs you can pivot to a product demo that shows the RELEVANT features and speaks to their needs. SPIN lays out tactics to anticipate and avoid objections and how to tackle them so you pave a clear path to closing
  4. Obtaining Commitment: This part of SPIN is tailored to Enterprise (complex deal cycles) and SMB/Mid-Market/Transactional. SPIN helps you ‘advance’ the sale through stages discovery to close.

SPIN will come up a lot on my blog because it is so versatile and yet easy to use. It is a system that works well with other methodologies.

For more insight I recommend this wonderful article by Hubspot breaking down SPIN.

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