My take on Spin Selling (part 5 of 8)

Spin Selling

by: Neil Rackham

Neil Rackham is a best selling author. You can read more about him at his website linked to his name.

Giving Benefits in Major Sales

In this chapter, Rackham shows what Huthwaite’s research found about the Demonstrating Capability stage.

Features and Benefits: The Classic Ways to Demonstrate Capability

Basics of Features and Benefits


Facts, data, or information about your product or services. They are unpersuasive.

Huthwaite’s research found that:

  • The level of Features is slightly higher in unsuccessful calls. Thier difference is small enough to conclude–Features are nuetral.
  • In small sales there’s a slight positive relationship between the use of Features and call success.
  • In larger sales, Features have a negative effect when used early in the call and a neutral effect when used later.
  • Users respond more positively to Features than do decision makers.
  • In the middle of very complex selling cycles of technical products, the customer sometimes develops a “Feature appetite”. When this happens, the customer demands considerable product detail and may respond positively to Features. It’s at this stage of the selling cycle that technical experts, systems analysts, and other sales-support people often have a positive impact on the customer.

Generally, Huthwaite’s work found that, as writer’s have been saying for 50 years, Features are low-power statements that do little to help you sell. It’s beeter to use Benefits.

What’s a Benefit?

When Huthwaite began to investigate Benefits, no two writer’s on selling seemed to have the same definition of a Benefit.

Which Definition is Right?

Huthwaite’s research team set out to test which definition of Benefit had the most positive impact on customers. After testing several definitions, Huthwaite chose two for their research test:

  • Type A Benefit. This type shows how a product or service can be used or can help the customer.
  • Type B Benefit. This type shows how a product or service meets an Explicit Need expressed by the customer.

At first sight these two definitions of a Benefit seem very similar. However, their effect on customers is dramatically different. If you assume the customer has a need for your solution and state the Benefit, it is a Type A Benefit. If the customer states a problem and you explain the Benefit of your product or service, this is still a Type A Benefit. This is because the customer has simply given you an Implied Need, not an Explicit Need.

How Important is the Difference?

Huthwaite’s research found that the Type A Benefit is quite strongly related to success in smaller sales but is only slightly related to success in larger sales. In contrast, the Type B Benefit is very strongly related to success in all sizes of sales.

Huthwaite put more descriptive labels on the two types of Benefits in order to avoid confusion in their research. For the rest of this chapter:

Type A Benefit is referred to as an “Advantage.

Type B Benefit is referred to as a “Benefit“.

Thus, there are three behaviors that can be used in Demonstrating Capability.

  1. Features
  2. Advantages
  3. Benefits

The Relative Impacts of Features, Advantages, and Benefits

To make a Benefit, you must have an Explicit Need.

Benefits and Call Success

Huthwaite compared the level of Benefits in 5000 calls with the outcome of each call. They found that Benefits were significantly higher in calls leading to Orders and Advances. In contrast, the level of Advantages was not significantly different in successful and unsuccessful calls.

Features, Advantages, and Benefits in the Longer Selling Cycle

Huthwaite measured the effects of sales behaviors, (Features, Advantages, and Benefits), at different points in the selling cycle.

Features had a low impact on the customer throughout the selling cycle.

Early in the cycle, particularly during the first call, Advantages had a moderately good statistical relationship to call success. As the cycle progressed, Advantages had a decreasing effect on the customer until, as the end of the cycle approached, they were no more powerful than Features.

Why Do Advantages Run Out of Steam?

There are three possibly reasons:

  1. At first meeting, the customer expects to hear about the product rather than discuss needs.
  2. The seller is so enthusiastic that they jump right into Advantages.
  3. Advantages, unlike Benefits, have no link to the customers Explicit Needs.

Advantages are less powerful than Benefits all through the selling cycle.

Selling New Products

One area consistently handled badly by both the inexperienced and experienced salespeople is the new-product launch.

This can be explained in terms of Features, Advantages, and Benefits.

The Bells-and-Whistles Approach

The problem lies in how the product is introduced to the sales team. When launched, the marketing people gather all the sales managers and sales team to present this new product with all it’s Features and Advantages. With all the excitement generated, even the most experienced sales people speak in terms of Features and Advantages like they were explained to them.

The Problem-Solving Approach

Based on Huthwaite’s research, many of their multi-national clients now use a different appraoch to the new-product launch. Instead of giving Features and Advantages when they announce a new product, they concentrate on explaining the problems the product solves.

Demonstrating Capability Effectively

Rackham points out three main practical points in this chapter that will help you demonstrate your capability more effectively in larger sales:

  1. Don’t demonstrate capabilities too early in the call. It’s important in larger sales to develop Explicit Needs–by using Implication and Need-payoff Questions–before you offer solutions.
  2. Beware Advantages. Don’t let previous training mislead you. In larger sales, the powerful statements are those which show that you can meet Explicit Needs.
  3. Be careful with new products. The first thing to ask with any new product is, “What problem does it solve?”. When you understand the problem it solves, you can plan SPIN questions to develop Explicit Needs.
Remember- The work you’ve just read is Neil Rackham’s. I have simply outlined his book. Most of the words above are his own. At times I paraphrased.

Until next time…

Keith Porterfield

a Student of Sales


29 responses to “My take on Spin Selling (part 5 of 8)

  1. Your current post offers verified beneficial
    to myself. It’s really useful and you are obviously really knowledgeable in
    this field. You possess exposed my face to be able to numerous thoughts about this kind of matter with
    intriquing, notable and solid articles.

  2. I’m pretty pleased to find this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to see new information in your blog.

  3. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but
    I need some help from an established blog. Is it tough to set up
    your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making
    my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks

  4. I do agree with all the concepts you’ve introduced to your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  5. Good way of describing, and pleasant piece of writing to
    get information regarding my presentation subject, which i am going
    to convey in college.

  6. Howdy very cool website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .
    . I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I’m glad to find so many useful information here within the publish, we’d like work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  7. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account helped me a appropriate deal. I were a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast
    offered bright clear idea

  8. This paragraph provides clear idea designed for the new
    viewers of blogging, that in fact how to
    do running a blog.

  9. Asking questions are actually good thing if you
    are not understanding something completely, however this post gives fastidious understanding even.

  10. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did
    you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back
    as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

  11. Good article. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well.

  12. Hi there, I discovered your website via Google whilst searching for a related subject, your web site came up, it
    looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, simply turned into aware of your blog via Google, and located that it’s really informative.
    I am going to be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you proceed this in future. A lot of folks will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  13. Asking questions are really good thing if you are not understanding something totally,
    however this piece of writing presents nice understanding yet.

  14. Wonderful, what a web site it is! This weblog presents
    helpful facts to us, keep it up.

  15. Hi there terrific website! Does running a blog similar to this
    require a massive amount work? I’ve no knowledge of computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject but I just needed to ask. Thank you!

  16. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear

  17. It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  18. I am sure this post has touched all the internet
    users, its really really fastidious paragraph on building up new web site.

  19. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you
    know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

  20. I think that is among the so much vvital information for me.
    And i am glad syudying your article. But should commentary on
    few general issues, The web site style is wonderful, the artticles is really nice
    : D. Good job, cheers

  21. The difference between the love of past and present is same with respect to
    feeling. The attain net internet websites existing you aided
    with all the needed laptop or computer system software package bundle to obtain films at break-neck speeds.
    The Heartland Film Festival chooses one film each year to be the Opening Night film and includes
    a question and answer session with the filmmakers and a reception
    immediately following the event. And they account for
    over a half-hour of total footage, which isn’t good. Agreed,
    that is not free, but nevertheless if you downloaded only two movies each week that would equate to only 19 cents each movie.

  22. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital
    to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your
    blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I
    achievement you access consistently quickly.

  23. As the admin of this site is working, no uncertainty very quickly it will be
    renowned, due to its quality contents.

  24. It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s
    time to be happy. I’ve learn this submit and if I could I desire to suggest you some
    interesting issues or tips. Maybe you could write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to read more things about it!

  25. It’s great that you are getting ideas from this paragraph as well as from our argument made at this time.

  26. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!

    Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I
    care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for
    a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  27. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad
    and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad
    is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  28. Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind oof information on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, Youu have done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely
    digg it annd personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from
    this website.

  29. フィット性に優れ、着用感良好素材:身頃SPLASHER S切替SPLASHER品質:身頃ポリエステル70・ポリウレタン30切替ポリエステル75・ポリウレタン25はっ水:保水率を下げ、泳ぎやすさを高めた素材。高級ダウンブランド

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s