Establishing a Relationship – Revisited

In High Probability Selling (HPS), a relationship is something that comes from doing business, not the other way around.

We do not attempt to steer the relationship.  But we do want to find out what a future relationship might be like with that person.  For instance, will we be able to trust each other?

When we have better information about a person, we make better decisions about whether or how we will do business with them.

How do you find out these things?  You can’t know any of this for 100% certain, but you definitely can improve your odds significantly, by asking questions and listening to answers in a very open way.

It’s an inquiry process.  It is described and discussed in the book High Probability Selling (Chapter 7 – Establishing a Relationship).  However, a few things have changed since that book was written.

  • We no longer call it Establishing a Relationship, because that may imply that we are manufacturing a relationship.  Internally, we call this process the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI).  Also, we teach a lighter version of that for beginners, in workshop courses called Getting Personal or Connecting.
  • At one point, the book states, “The process of Establishing a Relationship creates trust.”  We would not say that today.  Trying to use this process to make someone trust you is very likely to backfire.
  • The book also says that this is the single most important step in High Probability Selling.  I agree that this process is the most valuable thing HPS has to offer, but it is a lot bigger than just selling.  Also, some people have been very successful in doing HPS without it.  Therefore, I see its value not as a step in a sale, but rather as a whole way of interacting with people.

There is a previous blog post on the same topic from July 2010, titled Establishing a Relationship.

Workshops in Dec 2018:  Chapter 12 Updated on Tue 11 Dec for $95


Author: Carl Ingalls

Administrator for High Probability Selling Blog

10 thoughts on “Establishing a Relationship – Revisited”

  1. Its been my experience that the T&R Inquiry is the most difficult part of HPS..because it seems out of place within a selling in either ALREADY have a selling to someone you already know..or something that has developed over time AFTER the prospect has become a in goin out for drinks, etc…it seems odd to have a personal conversation during the selling process, unless it just happened accidentally..


    1. Hello Rob,

      Keep in mind that the purpose of the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI) is not to create or shape a relationship. It’s an inquiry process, and its purpose is to find out about the other person. It is valuable for this, no matter how long you’ve known the person.

      And yes, the TRI feels odd. That’s true for most things in HPS.

      High Probability Selling is for people who want things to change. That requires stepping away from the familiar and comfortable.

      Happy Discovering,
      Carl Ingalls


  2. Carl,

    I think its the approach in the HPS book..I guess it feels a little contrived.. And trying to go back and discover a trauma just seems invasive to me…and I also think its important to go straight to business if that’s what the prospect wants..what do you do in that situation?

    I tend to think its not necessary to do that..because I think people show you who they are pretty quickly..

    And I think people talk about themselves when they want to..and if they feel like it..for whatever THEIR reason it can’t really be EXPECTED to happen..


    1. Rob,
      Thank you very much for talking with me about your thoughts and feelings regarding the TRI. This has prompted me to write another article on this blog titled, “Resistance to Doing the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI)”

      I would love to hear your comments on that new article.
      Carl Ingalls


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