May 12 2008

Book Short: A SPIN Selling Companion

Book Short:  A SPIN Selling Companion

At Return Path, we’re big believers in the SPIN Selling methodology popularized by Neil Rackham. It just makes sense. Spend more time listening than talking on a sales call, uncover your prospect’s true needs and get him or her to articulate the need for YOUR product. Though it doesn’t reference SPIN Selling, Why People Don’t Buy Things, by Kim Wallace and Harry Washburn is a nice companion read.

Rooted in psychology and cognitive science, Why People Don’t Buy Things presents a very practical sales methodology called Buying Path Selling. Understand how your prospect is making his or her buying decision and what kind of buyer he or she is, be more successful at uncovering needs and winning the business.

The book has two equally interesting themes, rich with examples, but the one I found to be easiest to remember was to vary your language (both body and verbal) with the buyer type. And the book illustrates three archetypes: The Commander, The Thinker, and The Visualizer. There are some incredibly insightful and powerful ways to recognize the buyer type you’re dealing with in the book.

But most of the cues the authors rely on are physical, and lots of sales are done via telephone. So I emailed the author to ask for his perspective on this wrinkle.  Kim wrote back the following (abridged):

Over the phone it is fairly easy to determine a prospect’s modality. I’ve developed a fun, conversational question which can be asked up front, “As you recall some of your most meaningful experiences at XYZ, what words, thoughts, feelings or visuals come to mind? Anything else?”

If you’re interested in letting your blog readers test their modalities, the link below will activate a quick 10 question quiz from our website that generates ones modality scores along how they compare with others. (It’s like Myers-Briggs applied to decision making.)

In any case, if you are a sales, marketing, or client services professional (or even if you just play one on TV), Why People Don’t Buy Things is a quick, insightful read.  Thanks for the quick response, Kim!