SPIN Selling: What It Is, How It Works and How to Do It

    Working with a well-defined sales process can make all the difference in your business. If today you are not having the expected results, it is possible that the cause is exactly your sales process.

    Over the years, consumer demands and needs have evolved. Therefore, it becomes necessary to adjust its strategies to increase the chances of closing deals.

    In this content, you will learn all about SPIN Selling, a methodology that seeks to help you employ a sales approach that is more compatible with the perception of modern consumers.

    Know who is the creator of the methodology, its definition, processes, stages, concepts aimed at generating value and know what must be done to become a SPIN seller. Come on?


    What is the SPIN Selling?

    SPIN Selling is a sales methodology that aims to map the stages of the sales process through key questions. The acronym SPIN is an acronym made from the first letter of each of these steps: STATE, PROBLEMI mplicação, Need.

    This approach was idealized by Neil Rackham, who gathered his 12-year research and presented the model through the book SPIN Selling – entitled “Achieving excellence in sales spin selling,” in Portuguese.


    In the book SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham also presents that traditional sales techniques are no longer ideal, as they are slow and not very assertive.

    The author also noted that the sales techniques employed in small negotiations, do not work very well for large negotiations – also called by the author “complex sales”.

    Considering this, the SPIN Selling methodology revolves around identifying and developing the customer’s needs, building the relationship and adding value to the service or product offered.

    As the author says in the book: “ Building perceived value is probably the most important skill in higher sales. 

    Its reading is recommended for every seller who wants to become a SPIN seller. Even so, in this content we will help you to understand everything you need to put this methodology into practice and organize the steps of the sales process.

    How to apply SPIN Selling to your business

    Now that you have a sense of what SPIN is, you may be wondering how to apply it to the business.

    It is important to mention that this process requires training so that you can become a SPIN seller. After all, this methodology is directly related to how you interact with the consumer.

    First, you need to understand the difference between small sales and complex sales according to the methodology, they are:

    • Complex sales have a longer cycle and need more visits. Most of the time, decisions are made in the absence of the seller.
    • The purchase decision in complex sales is more difficult. That is why there is a great need to add value to what is being offered.
    • In large negotiations, the relationship between the seller and the customer is continuous, making it necessary to do a better job in the pre and after sales.
    • Finally, it is important to understand that, considering the size of the purchase, the consequences of a bad deal are greater for the seller. Therefore, it is expected that the same act with more caution, because a wrong purchase can cost your own job.

    It is from these observations that, in the book SPIN Selling, Rackham states that the classic sales approach, where open and closed questions were asked, benefits were offered, objections were broken and then the pressure was made to close, they do not work for complex sales.

    To this end, Rackham proposes a different structure for the stages of the sales process, including questions related to the methodology itself. The four stages of SPIN Selling are:

    1. Opening of negotiations;
    2. An investigation from SPIN Questions;
    3. Capacity demonstration;
    4. Obtaining commitment.

    As we want you to leave here using SPIN for sale, we will cover them in detail.

    Opening of trading

    It is in this first stage that first impressions are formed. Note that the larger the size of the negotiation, the less relevant this step becomes, as the time of relationship with the customer increases.

    So don’t take too long here. Explain the reason for the meeting or approach to the customer, do not be artificial or repetitive and avoid presenting solutions at this first moment, to avoid generating questions before presenting the benefits of the product or service.

    The goal is not to raise objections on the part of the consumer, but to create a good impression and formulate a commitment to move on to the next steps of the sales process.

    An investigation from SPIN Questions

    At this stage of the SPIN Selling model, the first step is to recognize that there are two main types of customer needs, these being the implicit and explicit needs.

    The implied needs may be enough to close a small sale. These imply that the client feels that he has some difficulties, problems or pain.

    In the explicit needs, in addition to the client recognizing his pains, they already bother him enough that he wants to take action. A good salesperson is able to leverage explicit needs to show how the severity of the problem is greater than the cost of the solution.

    As we mentioned, this is where SPIN questions come in too. They aim to convert implicit needs into explicit ones so that the buyer is convinced that he needs to take action.

    For this, there are four types of questions, they are:

    1. Questions S TATE
    2. Questions from Problema
    3. Implication Questions
    4. Question Need

    As indicated in the book SPIN Selling, the first two types have the greatest impact on small sales, while the last two are more powerful in complex sales. We will present examples of each type of question later in this content.

    Demonstration of capacity

    Arriving here, you already know more than half about what is SPIN Selling. As the name of the stage suggests, the objective is to draw attention to the benefits of your product or service.

    In sales, this is usually done in three main ways, namely the presentation of characteristics, advantages and benefits – where the latter is the only one related to SPIN selling. Understand:

    The presentation of the features focuses on the technical details and qualities of a service or product, such as the storage space or screen size of a smartphone, for example.

    In presenting the advantages , the objective is to present how the product or service is capable of solving some common problems, which most customers have, without delving into specific needs.

    In the presentation of benefits , this is where the results of the research stage are worked. Here, you must present how your product or service can address explicit needs .

    It is important to note that the demonstration of ability has a direct impact on how the buyer reacts to the presentation of the product or service.

    When talking about the characteristics, it is common for the seller to praise the product so much that the customer may be concerned about the price. When it comes to presenting advantages, it is possible that the consumer does not think that the problem is too big to need an expensive solution.

    Finally, benefits are the only demonstration of ability that can increase the perception of value . Therefore, it is the focus of SPIN Selling, making you able to generate fewer objections and questions, as when talking about features and advantages.

    Obtaining commitment

    This phase ends the steps in the sales process. Here, the SPIN Seller aims to help the customer make decisions and advance the purchasing cycle.

    It is important to understand that each stage of this cycle must be defined in advance, even before the opening of trading. This can be done by creating a sales funnel, for example.

    A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can help you organize your activities and also offer a better view of each step of the negotiation.

    With the stages of the sales cycle well defined, the strategy is to make the seller work with a focus on advancing the commitment, that is, continuously making the customer make a decision to go to the next negotiation step.

    Thus, little by little, you can move forward in the sales process towards closing.

    Sample questions to do SPIN Selling

    In the previous section, we presented four types of questions that are part of this sales methodology.

    As the author states, in the book SPIN Selling: “ Questions are more convincing than any other form of verbal behavior. 

    Therefore, know some examples of each type of question and understand the differences in the approach, as well as its objectives.

    Situation Questions

    These are the questions whose main objective is to collect information from the buyer. As the name implies, it is necessary to understand what situation the prospect is in and what reason led him to look for a solution. For example:

    • What is your monthly sales volume?
    • How many customers do you serve today?
    • How much time do you dedicate to this activity?

    These questions have the greatest impact for small sales , because in complex sales, where the relationship should be more continuous, they can end up frustrating the consumer. So try to be brief and understand the situation as soon as possible.

    Problem Questions

    The problem questions are for you to identify the implicit needs of consumers, exploring their difficulties, challenges and pains. Ask questions of this nature:

    • Is your sales system reliable?
    • Does the smartphone you use meet your daily needs?
    • Do your employees have difficulty using the tool?

    These questions should be based on the situation presented by the consumer. Thus, you can identify which are the key points of the product or service that can solve the customer’s pain.

    Implication Questions

    Questions of this nature have a major impact on complex sales, as they help to make the consumer himself begin to internalize the amount of damage his problem is causing.

    Ask questions that make the consequences of the problem explicit, such as:

    • How does the slowness of your sales tool affect your results?
    • If employees have difficulty using the system, how much additional time do you dedicate to training?
    • You mean this problem is taking you more time and making you spend more on training?

    Even if it is possible to identify the average or real value that this problem causes, the greater your chances of convincing the buyer and being successful by executing SPIN Selling.

    This is because, in this way, you create a ROI (return on investment) perspective for the consumer, through questions such as: “So this problem is costing you five thousand a month?”

    Need Questions

    Finally, after understanding the situation, problem and its consequences, it is time to work on the need for a solution.

    The purpose of questions of this type is to make the client generate his explicit needs, presenting what would be the solution vision for him. To do this, ask questions such as:

    • What would be the ideal scenario to resolve your situation?
    • Would it help to have a more intuitive and faster tool?
    • How do you think service could eliminate these additional costs?

    An experienced SPIN seller uses questions of implication and necessity to make the customer realize that their problem is much more expensive than the value of the product or service offered.

    Remember, after finishing the questions, the next step should be the demonstration of capacity, as we presented in the previous section.

    Advantages and disadvantages of SPIN Selling

    Now that you know what SPIN is, how it works, how to put it into practice and what types of questions you should ask for small deals and complex sales, we can list the main advantages and disadvantages of working with this methodology.


    • Focus on the presentation of benefits and not on maintaining objections and questions;
    • This approach model is superior to the others in terms of information collection;
    • Strengthen the relationship with the client;
    • It helps the buyer to recognize the benefits of the product or service more quickly.


    • The result can take longer, especially in larger businesses;
    • The consumer may not be willing to give you the information he needs;
    • Requires time and training to implement SPIN Selling in your business;
    • Results directly dependent on the salesperson’s relationship skills.

    Is it worth applying SPIN to my business?

    SPIN Selling is an extremely versatile methodology, which can be used in B2C (Business to Customer), B2B (Business to Business), SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, e-commerce, digital marketing agencies, retail and even in the industry.

    That’s because the steps in the sales process are comprehensive and, as you can see, work directly on consumer pain.

    However, knowing what SPIN is, it is possible to identify that this methodology may not bring good results for businesses that work with products or services that do not yet exist. Essentially, the less tangible the solution presented, the less likely it is to convince the customer, as there is no concrete perception of what is being offered.

    Time to start doing SPIN Selling

    We hope that this content has helped you to understand everything about SPIN Selling and that you can understand how to use it in your own business

    Remember, using this methodology, at the end of negotiation it is important to do the following:

    • Reaffirm the consumer’s real needs
    • Clear all your doubts
    • Summarize and present an overview of all benefits

    Only then, will you be able to finally go to the closing of the negotiation, reap the rewards of your training and achieve the desired goals?

    And of course, all questions in the SPIN methodology can be asked through any communication and customer service channel. So, if you work in the digital market, be sure to install the Web Chat Are Us online chat on your page, train your team and leverage your opportunities!

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