Questions from a Student of High Probability Selling (2016-09-03)

Adam sent me an email with questions about High Probability Selling after listening to the audio recording of the August 2016 teleseminar workshop on Chapter 12 Explained

Adam’s email appears here with his permission.  Answers from me (Carl Ingalls) are in red text (and indented).

From: Adam
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2016 5:36 AM
To: Carl Ingalls
Subject: Re: Recording of Teleseminar Workshop “Chapter 12 Explained”

Hello Carl,

first, let me thank you for the seminar file; I listened to it twice and found it very informative and constructive… it was a nice surprise to hear Jacques’ voice as well!

Here are some of my questions/queries/digressions, etc directly and indirectly connected to the seminar:

1.while listening to Jacques recordings i couldn’t help noticing his art of talking in a very specific emotionless, almost monotonous way; do you know whether this is his natural way of talking or he developed it purposefully for business, if so how could one learn/train it?  (sometimes it is quite difficult to stay “cool” on the phone or during an appointment)

A:  Jacques’ art of talking in a neutral manner comes fairly natural to him, but he does not always talk that way.  He does that in situations where it is important to do so.  Examples:  when prospecting or selling (non-persuasively), or when communicating with someone who has lost their temper (see Jacques’ post on Angry People).  He probably improved on it while copying very successful salespeople and also while playing poker.  It can be taught, and it can be learned, but it takes a lot of effort.  We teach these skills continuously in our sales training workshops and coaching.

2.prospecting on the phone and the very opening; you advised to skip “hello”…hmm, business contacts in my country are quite formal and polite; skipping any kind of greetings/introduction would be considered rude…

A:  Many of the things we train salespeople to do seem impolite and rude, not only to Austrians, but to people everywhere.  Not saying “Hello” when prospecting is just one example.  There are others.  They have all been tested in many cultures around the world, with the same results.  We tried it both ways, and we get more sales when we stop saying “Hello” in our prospecting calls.  Many of us struggle with the conflict between doing what we feel comfortable about, and doing what gets us the results we want.

3.Trust & Respect Inquiry: in the book, Sal asks many questions while telling nothing about himself in return; i understand the purpose here, but can’t help thinking, this situation is out of balance; what if the client asks once or more “how about you?” at any time during this phase? should i tell him anything from my life or wriggle out, if so, how?

A:  Asking personal questions, while offering nothing of oneself in return, is very much “out of balance.”  This is especially true when compared to a typical personal conversation.  When we do it this way, people tell us things about themselves that they rarely get to say to other people.  Why?  We don’t know.  It probably has something to do with the way we give control of the topic to the other person, and the way we avoid judgments (including very subtle ones).

Occasionally, the other person will ask a question of us.  If it is a simple and direct question, we answer it as simply as we can, and then we ask our next question.  If their question  is vague and non-specific, like “how about you?” we would ask “What do you mean?” or something like that.

It is too easy to start talking about yourself during this process.  Don’t follow any suggestion or invitation to do so.  This is about the other person, not you.  You can talk about yourself later.

4.provided i have to break up the meeting during the COS discussion; how exactly do i do it? what do i say? do i keep an option for the future meeting? etc…

A:  It may depend on the reason for the interruption.  If you know that you want to proceed with the sale later, the best thing to do is to make very definite plans to continue the process.  Making an appointment is much better than “keeping an option” (which is too vague). 

i would be very grateful if you could give me your perspective…many thanks 🙂

best regards,


Comments and questions (and additional answers) from our readers are welcome.

Author: Carl Ingalls

Administrator for High Probability Selling Blog

5 thoughts on “Questions from a Student of High Probability Selling (2016-09-03)”

  1. Most cultures are taught to “make nice.” People call it acting civil, or polite, or appropriate. The key word is “acting.” It often means behaving in some way that is phony. HPS is based on being authentic.

    “Hello, how are you today?” is usually phony, for most of the time we don’t care how they are today, beyond that they are well enough to talk with us. The authentic greeting on the phone is, “This is Steve. I am calling from ABC Company, and I am offering blah blah blah. Is that something you want?”

    When you do a T&R inquiry, you carry forward the original authenticity. Your connection with the other person becomes more personal than they are accustomed to. They feel drawn to connect with you because you are asking them personal questions, and listening without judgment (if you’re doing it right) – something they seldom, or maybe never, have experienced in their entire life.

    Over time, they may become close friends with you. I have had this happen quite often, and I consider it a bonus of HPS. It feels strange at first, but it will pay big dividends going forward if you experience is anything like mine.


  2. In the old sales paradigm, there is some emphasis I have noticed on having a certain look and having the trappings of material success. So in real estate for instance, the sales manager would discourage someone from having a beard because they would say that person would not look trustworthy, Also, there would be some pressure to drive a fancy car to convey success to the client. I am wondering if in High Prob, we would need to be concerned about these types of things? I imagine that with the process we would actually be more trustworthy since we are not manipulating the client or trying to push something on the client, but is there any point where we should consider these subconscious cues such as “do I look trustworthy” or “do I communicate success by my type of car, or suit, etc”? What are your thoughts?

    Many thanks,


    1. Don’t worry about “looking good” so much. Pay attention to the prospect. What does he want? What’s important to her? The color of your tie, or the brand of your watch won’t carry the day.


    2. Joseph – It is better not to be concerned with impressing people. If we think too much about that, it will probably show, and then we risk looking like the kind of salesperson who needs to impress people. An experienced decision maker can see right through that. – Carl Ingalls


Leave a Reply to Carl Ingalls Cancel reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: