Leverage the SPANCO Method to increase sales

The SPANCO method is an acronym for Suspect, Prospect, Analysis, Negotiation, Conclusion, and Order. SPANCO describes the process of transforming a prospect into a customer through the 6 phases of the sales process. It is a very useful sales technique for mastering your sales process and increasing your conversion rate.

Morvan Carrier

Acquisition Strategist & Co-Founder


What is the Spanco method?

Origin of the SPANCO method

Spanco is a sales method thought to have been invented by the Xerox company .

It's a very easy technique to follow to steer your sales process before the end goal: conversion. It is in a way a roadmap for the entire sales team so as not to skip steps and better support your prospect in the sale.

At each step of the SPANCO method , you must take stock of your prospect's situation and act accordingly. It also allows the establishment of performance indicators at each stage to identify weaknesses in your sales process.

Indeed, if at the beginning you will have to learn a lot about your prospect to answer all his questions ... In the end you will have to act rather like a real advisor to create a bond of trust.

Definition of SPANCO

You'll understand SPANCO is an acronym for S uspect, P rospect, A nalysis, N egotiation, C losing and O rder Ongoing.

In French, it could be translated as follows:

  • Suspect : define the ideal target and build a qualified customer file
  • Prospect : the lead is identified and must be contacted using suitable prospecting methods to obtain an appointment.
  • Analysis (approach) : The discovery and in-depth analysis of your prospect's needs. This phase is crucial and prepares your future argument.
  • Negotiation : it is the moment of the commercial offer, your argument must make it possible to demonstrate that your solution is the best to meet the prospect's need.
  • Conclusion : It is now necessary to conclude the sale, you must explain to him the last important modalities (deadlines, conditions of sale)
  • Purchase order (order management): the contract is signed! But this is only the beginning, you must finally follow the process until delivery and ensure that your customer is satisfied.

The different phases of the SPANCO method

Suspect: identify and qualify the prospect

This is the first step in your commercial approach. Before being a prospect, each person is potentially "suspicious" of being interested in your product or service.

For example, at this point you may have:

  • a list of e-mails obtained by subscribing to your newsletter on your site
  • the directory of all the companies in your sector
  • your personal contacts

You will agree, so you have a long list of suspects, yes, but not necessarily a qualified list.

Your first job will be to conduct the survey to qualify this base.

You need to know your target inside out: who is really going to be interested in your product? What are their needs, their concerns?

We can draw a parallel with the work of qualifying your ideal client via the buyer persona. These fictitious people that you are going to imagine will help you recognize your real targets and therefore prospects.

👉 To find out more and to create your buyer personas

Prospect: use the right means of contact

The sales team was able to determine a list of contacts. The goal now is to get a meeting with your prospect.

To do this, you must implement an effective prospecting strategy, bring value from the first contact and use different methods:

  • Phone calls
  • a prospecting e-mail
  • A connection
  • Social selling

To choose the most suitable method for your target and determine the best timing, we advise you to read our dedicated article on B to B commercial prospecting.

Analysis / approach: knowing how to listen to the prospect

Here, the Sales team begins its discussion with the prospect . This is the first meeting.

During this meeting, the approach of salespeople must be as neutral as possible and above all be done through active listening. The prospect has the freedom to express his needs and problems in real time and this is what will allow you to better meet his needs in the next phases.

To complete the dialogue, the Sales team asks questions that will help them better analyze and qualify the customer's needs. See on this subject: SPIN Selling which is a very effective sales technique for good customer discovery.

During the exchange, a plan of actions to be taken can be suggested by your sales team to your prospect to answer his problem: it is the moment to present your company, product or service. Be careful to adapt the approach according to the answers previously given by the prospect.

At the end of the interview, you can send content capable of answering any doubts the prospect might have expressed. This could for example take the form of a customer testimonial or a video demonstration of the product.

Also read:

👉 What is B2B content marketing used for ?

👉 Why and how to make a marketing video ?

Negotiation: propose a “tailored” offer for the prospect

In the previous phase, you were able to dispel your prospect's doubts. He should therefore be reassured, you know his needs and his obstacles to the purchase.

Remember that at this point your solution should become obvious to the prospect.

How? 'Or' What ?

Thanks to your precise and tailor-made sales pitch .

This one must make the difference and show your strength compared to another product.

Ask yourself, how does your product meet the needs of your prospect? List all the benefits of your product. And for that, learn how to properly build your sales pitch thanks to the CAB method .

Finally, if you feel, for example, that the issue of price is the weak point of your pitch, why not offer an introductory offer to allow your prospect to test you over a short period of time? Be creative and know how to adapt!

Conclusion: be transparent about the conditions of the sale

It is now up to you to complete the sale which will be manifested by the signing of a quote or simply by a sale.

Even if your prospect is convinced , there are still a few details (and not the least) on which you must agree and which are part of your commercial contract:

  • terms and conditions
  • the price
  • the offer
  • the delay

You can encourage the customer to continue (and sign, therefore) by accurately describing the next steps in the buying process.

If you need to change the terms or if there are areas of disagreement with your client, you will have to negotiate. My advice ? Use the BATNA negotiation technique to find the best possible deal. Remember that negotiating does not necessarily mean lowering your price (on the contrary!).

Purchase order: manage the relationship with your customer

The order is placed ! Well done, but it's not over ...

Your role is to ensure the management of the order so that it meets the customer's expectations. You are his only interlocutor, it is therefore up to you to keep your commercial promise .

You need to follow the sale and not be shy about measuring customer satisfaction at the end of it.

This is where the sales process ends but where the trusting relationship with your customer begins.

Do the different stages of SPANCO seem clearer to you? Have you managed to draw a parallel with your own sales? Now let's see why you should really consider it.Qu’est-ce que la méthode Spanco ?

Why use SPANCO?

To structure your commercial approach

SPANCO covers all stages of qualifying a prospect for sale. It is a real roadmap.

Thanks to this process, you can identify precisely what work should engage your Sales team. For example :

  • at this stage we must prospect while keeping in mind our target
  • at this stage it will be necessary to mobilize this precise argument It is a real tool to carry out your business meetings or to think your sales funnel on your website. It gives you a real vision:

You can thus visualize the progress of your sales.

SPANCO is particularly useful and can be applied for any type of sale.

However, if you are in the case of a long sale that involves a major transformation for your client (change of a payment solution for example), you should also be interested in the MEDDIC method which is particularly appreciated at Sales Odyssey.

To improve your sales cycles

SPANCO allows you to quickly measure the performance of your actions.

If 100 people were on the lead sales process, why are you only making 10 sales?

What are the steps you need to rework?

If on paper, each step corresponds to a state, sometimes there is not necessarily a sales meeting for each step. Some steps are done implicitly or via your website… But you need to make sure that you don't skip any steps! Are things that clear to the customer? Could your client have been lost at some point?

So keep in mind not to go too fast.

SPANCO shows us the obvious and yet it is sometimes overlooked! So we summarize what you need to do at each step:

So, have you identified the different phases of selling your product? Have you prepared the right arguments for each phase?

From now on you will no longer be able to say that you do not understand why you do not convert… 😉

The 3 most Frequently Asked Quesitons about the Spanco Method

What is the SPANCO method?

The SPANCO method is an acronym for Suspect, Prospect, Analysis, Negotiation, Conclusion and Order. It is a sales technique that was developed by the Xérox company.

What is the goal of the SPANCO sales technique?

The SPANCO method describes 6 phases of a sales cycle and allows you to keep control of it. This method allows you to better track your prospects and identify any weaknesses.

What are the advantages of SPANCO?

This method applies to all types of sales and is very easy to understand and use. In addition, SPANCO can very easily be combined with other sales techniques such as SPIN SELLING or the SONCAS method.