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Selling Skills Module

Learning Objectives
• The Selling Process
• The Art of Cross-Selling & Up-Selling
• Spin-Selling Concept

The Selling Cycle

Selling is a Process
• Selling is a process rather than an action.

• It consists of a number of Steps.

• All steps need planning and preparation.

Preparation Makes The Difference

Three questions you should always ask yourself
• What do I know?
• What do I need to know?
• How am I going to find out?

What Are the Basic Selling Skills?

• Active Listening.

• Effective Questioning.
• Differentiating between product Features – Advantage –
• Handling customer objections.
• Buying Signals
• Closing the deal


P o s s ib le
O u tc o m e s

O R D is c u s s io n A g re e m e n t
R EFU SAL c o n t in u e s o n a c t io n w h ic h
TO BU Y n o a c t io n m o v e s s a le fo r w a r d

Cross-Selling Up-selling

• Cross-selling and Up-selling are established methods of improving your

sales and increasing customer loyalty.
• Up-selling is the practice of offering customers a product in addition
to the product they are currently purchasing.
• Cross-selling refers to selling items that are related or can be
integrated with the item being sold.
• Cross- and Up-selling: Increasing the margin once a customer is
expressing interest in buying your products or services.

In many markets such as the market for entry-level notebook PCs, the net
margin on the initial deal is often negative. Vendors are willing to accept a
loss on some of their products as long as they attract new customers.
Examples are loss-leaders in a supermarket, i.e. an article that is sold for less
than the supermarket’s purchase price mobile phones: the
telecommunication provider expects to make sufficient profits on the
subscription and will therefore accept a very low price on the device

Laser printers: the manufacturer expects to make a decent profit by

selling toner cartridges and other consumables

The Personal Selling Process

Why Plan the Sales Call?

"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
• An old saying with a lot of truth in it
Top professional sales representatives thoroughly plan all their
sales calls to ensure success by
1. Establishing Sales Call Focus
Generate sales — sell particular products to target customers
on designated sales calls.
Develop the market — lay the groundwork for generating new
business by educating customers and gaining visibility with
prospective buyers.
Protect the market — learn competitors’ strategies and tactics
and protect relationships with current customers.
– Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency
– Preparing for Customer Reaction
– Enhancing Self-Confidence and Professionalism
– Determining Which Selling Strategies to Use
– Avoiding Errors
There are at least six general steps that ought to be
considered in preparing for a sales call
1. Prepare the prospect for the initial sales call
• "Seeding"
– prospect-focused activities carried out
several weeks or months before a sales
2. Sell the Sales Call Appointment by pre-notification

• cold call
• e-mail
• fax
• mail
• telephone
3. Gather and analyze all relevant information about
the prospect
• Gathering Information About Consumer
• Consumer credit bureaus
• Market research
• Library sources
• Gathering Information About Organizational
• In-house purchasing agents
• Electronic directories and databases
• Library sources
4. Identify the prospect's problems and needs
• Organizational Problems and Needs
• SPIN approach
– Situation
– Problem
– Implication
– Needs Payoff
5. Choose the Best Sales Presentation Strategy
6. Rehearse Your Approach

SPIN Selling:
• Neil Rackham's book SPIN Selling, is a precisely defined
sequence of four question types that enables
• the salesperson to move the conversation logically from
exploring the customers' needs to designing solutions, or
• Rackham's terms, to uncover Implied Needs and develop them
into Explicit Needs that you, the sales professional , can resolve
• The research firm headed by Neil Rackham, the Behavioural
psychologist, distilled the SPIN personal interview method from
its large empirical study during the 1970's and early 1980's.
• Most effective for complex, large sales processes at key
• The method encourages the customer to define the wider,
organizational problem and state a desire for a solution during
the investigation phase of a consultative sales process

Research Shows…
• In the 1970's, Huthwaite Inc. studied the practice of
successful selling and sales effectiveness on behalf of a

many multinationals, such as IBM and XEROX. Over
twelve years, Neil Rackham led a team of 30 researchers
who studied over 35,000 sales interviews in 20+
countries and assessed 100+ factors that could improve
sales performance.
• They concluded that the “key’ to successful selling was
the behavioral differentiators of top sales people and not
sale closing techniques.
• Revealed that effective sales people discover customer
needs using four types of questions that differ in function

A Popular Multiple-Question Approach Is the SPIN APPROACH

The roadmap …

Questions Implied


Need-payoff Explicit
Questions Needs


What is the Goal of Questioning?

• To uncover needs

– Implicit needs

– Explicit needs
– Implicit need – a statement of a buyer’s problem,
dissatisfaction or difficulty with a current situation
– Explicit need – a clear statement of a buyer’s want, desire or
intention to act

In smaller sales, the more implied needs you can uncover, the
better chances you have of closing the sale.

In larger sales, implied needs are simply a starting point.

What matters here is not how many you uncover but what you
do after you uncover them.

S-Situation questions
• Gather background information and develop understanding of
the context of the sale.
• In big sales, minimize the small talk and focus on finding
background detail that can be used to make sense of the buyer's
business situation.
• Context creates meaning. This is about understanding the wider
context before you zoom into the details.

• IMPACT: Least powerful of the SPIN questions. Can be negative .
Most people ask too many.

• What equipment are you using now?

• How long have you had it?
• Is it purchased or leased?
• How many people use it?

Every good seller begins the sales call by assessing the terrain, by
asking questions to clarify the customer's current situation. So
Situation Questions are essential, but here's the surprise. Huthwaite's
research found that, as valuable as they are, Situation Questions also
can be overused, and often are by inexperienced salespeople In fact,
one characteristic of unsuccessful sales calls, they found, is that they
contain a higher than average number of Situation Questions. Their
advice: Do ask Situation Questions, but be sure they're necessary
ones. Don't ask a question to elicit information that you easily could
have obtained before beginning the call . And know that, when
overused, these questions bore the customer.

PROBLEM Questions
Explore customer problems, dissatisfactions, difficulties and concerns
• Ask questions to uncover problems which your product can
address. But the tendency is..
• If you are selling Tractors, ask about maintenance costs,
breakdowns and so on…
• If you are selling Life Insurance, ask about how many dependents
the person has…
• A trap here is to dive straight into presenting the benefits of what
you are selling. You may know the problem, but they do not!

Going straight to the sales pitch will just get you objections

• Are you satisfied with your present equipment?

• What are the disadvantages of the way you’re doing it now?
• How difficult is it to process orders with your present system?
• What reliability problems does your equipment have now?

• How concerned are you about . . . ?”

• “Does it worry you that . . . ?”
• “How difficult do you find it to . . . ?”
• “Is there a risk of . . . ?”
• “What sort of problems do you get with . . . ?”

• “How happy are you with . . . ?”
• “Are you satisfied with the level of . . . ?”
• “Is it hard to cope with . . . ?”
• “How well are you able to cope with . . . ?”
• “What sort of dissatisfaction do you have with . . . ?”
• What prevents you from achieving that objective?

Implication questions
• Instead of telling them the problem they have (which is also
likely to raise objections), the goal is now to get them to see (and
feel!) the problem. By asking questions which draw out the
implications of the problem, they get to feel the pain that will
drive them towards your product.
• Link isolated problems by examining their effect on customer
business and organization
• "if this problem is not solved, what are the undesirable
• The goal of implication questions is to help break down the
problems of specific customers in order to make implied needs
explicit and to analyse the cost effectiveness of solving them.

For Example,
The life insurance salesperson could carefully ask what
would happen to the children if the target person died or
became very ill.

More sample questions

• Does your overtime expense increase when your
equipment goes down?
• Do bottlenecks result because you only have two people
who can operate your order processing system?
• Are you experiencing high turnover and training costs
because of the difficulty that your employees are having
in operating your equipment?

Help customers discover the value and benefits of the solution of an
implied need by asking such questions as
"how would e.g. reducing down-time help you?"
Action-oriented, 'explicit needs' trigger purchase

• Having hurt the target person with your implications, you now
give them a straw to grasp at by asking how their pain could be
resolved. With careful questions, you can get them to the state

where they are asking for your product (Need) even before you
show it to them.
• They probe the Explicit Needs
• Reduce objections because they cause buyer to explain solution
• Move discussion forward towards action and commitment

For example,
The Tractor sales professional can ask how much better the
tractor was like when it was new, or whether any of the
farmer's neighbors have solved problems of old and
problematic tractors.
The Insurance Sales Professional could ask questions that
build pictures of the target person's children being safe and
secure whatever curve-balls the world might throw at the

Like Problem Questions, which they naturally follow, Need-

Payoff Questions are linked to success in more complex sales.
They can be especially useful when you're talking to top
decision makers (or those who will influence them), and they
increase the likelihood that your solution, if accepted, will
provide the payoff that answers the need. These questions
focus the customer's attention on the solution rather than the
problem, and they encourage him or her (with your assistance)
to outline the benefits that your solution will provide his or her
company. Thus a good Need-Payoff Question both pre-empts
objections and enlists customer buy-in.


D e v e lo p m e n t o f N e e d - p a y o ff Q u e s tio n s


e .g . fa s te r

H o w u s e fu l w o u ld it b e Is s p e e d im p o r ta n t to C o u ld a fa s te r
to h a v e a b e a b le to h a n d le s y s te m fr e e y o u r p e o p le
fa s te r s y s te m ? m o r e c lie n ts ? u p to d o o th e r th in g s ?

Ask these questions after developing the seriousness

of problem through Implication Questions but before
describing your solution.

• “Are you saying it would help if we could . . . ?”
• “Am I right that it would help if . . . ?”
• “Are you looking for a way of . . . ?”
• “Would you be interested in X?”
• “If I could show you a better way of dealing with X, would you be
• “Would you like to be able to . . . ?”
• “Why is X so important to you?”
• “What sort of savings would X produce?”
• “What do you regard as the main benefits of Y?”
• “Do you think that would produce significant savings?”
• “Would you see Y as a significant improvement?”
• “How important is it for you to improve X?”
• “How else could Y help you?”
• “Are there any other ways in which Y could help?”
• “Would Y also help you achieve X?”
• How much business would you loose if your phone did not work
for 24 hours?

Points to be kept in mind..

• Four types of questions need to be addressed in sequence. The
SPIN method is not a rigid implementation formula.
• The Situation and Problem question phases are often strenuous
for customers and need to be limited.
• Desk research is required to draw up hypotheses of likely pain
points and should be tested during the interview.
• The Greatest effort should be during the Implication phase when
the customer becomes aware of the problem's severity.
• Those implied needs that are discovered to be relevant must be
developed into explicit needs during the Need-pay-off phase.

Top sales professionals incorporate a greater number of need-

payoff questions into sales calls than less successful ones.

After using the SPIN interview framework to successfully

conclude the investigation phase of the overall sales process,
the sales person and customer are ready to move to the
qualification phase in which the selling party must
demonstrate its capabilities in effectively solving the
customer's problem


• SPIN's investigation phase helps the sales person and potential
buyer focus on dealing with the customer's wider organizational
problems rather than only on the immediate benefits of a
product or service.

• It helps avoid seller-imposed limitations and encourages the

customer to define the problem and desire for a solution.

• The method has proven to be successful in more complex and

large scale sales processes. It is a helpful tool during the
investigative phase on a consultative sales process. Rackham
claimed that sales success is more dependent on the proper use
of investigation skills than on any other factor.

• The questioning process helps build greater trust and rapport

between sales personnel and customer.

• The method has been validated across industries and countries.

But beware successful adoption of SPIN requires practice by
the sales professional. Its application occurs on the behavioral

How to use SPIN Questions

1. Write down at least three potential problems which the prospect
may have and which your products might solve before making a sales

2. Write down some actual Problem Questions that you could ask to
uncover each of the potential problems you’ve identified.

3. Ask yourself what difficulties might arise for each problem. Write
down some actual Implication Questions that might get the prospect to
see the problem as large and urgent to solve.

4. Write down three Need Questions for each implication.

Video links to enhance learning of the Module



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