People Use the Telephone Differently Today, and How This Affects High Probability Selling

It used to be that people would pick up the phone just because it rang.  Today, people need more reason than that.

They need to know who’s calling and what it’s about.  And even if they do want to talk with that person, they will often choose to call back later, rather than interrupt what they are doing in that moment.

In the past, people were more concerned about missing something important on the phone.  It might be a friend in need, or it might be a new customer.

Today, a ringing phone is much more likely to be a nuisance call, and much less likely to be from someone we want to talk to.  If we don’t recognize the caller ID, we let the call go to the answering machine.  And, in many cases, we can hear the voice while it is being recorded, and we can pick up the phone if we decide we want to do so.

This is all bad news for people who use the telephone to make prospecting calls, and especially for those who make cold calls.

Even though the warm calling part of High Probability Selling gives salespeople an advantage over those who do only cold calling, we have still had to modify our methods.  Many of the details that worked 20 years ago don’t pay off well enough today.

Here are a few of the changes:

  • Prospecting offers are shorter and simpler.
  • We usually leave voice mail.
  • Marketing is even more important than before.
  • We handle more incoming calls.
  • We have less control of the conversation.
  • We use social media to reach out to people, and we sometimes use email.
  • We focus more on the principles and less on the process.
  • We use a special inquiry method for prospects who call us.

But most things remain the same.  We still take no for an answer.  We still work with, not around, the gatekeeper.  We still reach out again and again with different offers, at a frequency of 3 to 6 weeks.

For upcoming sales training events, please visit the High Probability Selling Calendar

Trust and Respect Inquiry, a New Mini-Course in HPS

The next High Probability Selling Mini-Course will be a short webinar session about the Trust and Respect Inquiry, on Tuesday 3 December 2019 at 1pm USA Eastern Time.  39 minutes  for $39

The Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI), has also been called Connecting and Getting Personal in past HPS sales training workshops.  It is described in the HPS book, in the chapter titled “Establishing a Relationship”.

In HPS, we do not attempt to create or build a relationship.  We test it.  The TRI is a discovery process.  We want to find out what sort of a relationship is likely to form with a prospective customer, so that we can make better decisions about how we will proceed.

In other sales methods, the salesperson uses rapport-building techniques to try to influence the prospect.  That is not our purpose, so we do things very differently.

This mini-course includes a description of what the TRI is and how it is used, plus the basic principles and guidelines.  It does not include any demonstration or practice, and is not designed to teach someone how to do it.  Those things are covered in the full 3-week workshop version of the material.

The webinar will be led by Carl Ingalls in real-time (live).  Content is mostly audio (speaking), with some video (text, graphics).  The session will be recorded (audio and video, plus transcript), and the recording will be made available to everyone who signs up (and pays for) the mini-course.  The recording of this session may be offered for sale later.

The webinar platform is GoToMeeting.  If you have not already downloaded and installed the GoToMeeting app on your computer or mobile phone, I strongly recommend that you do so at least 30 minutes before the webinar begins.  And even if you have the app and are already familiar with GoToMeeting, please note that they have changed their user interface quite significantly recently, so I recommend joining the meeting 5 or 10 minutes early.

The price is $39 USD per person.  However, I have 10 introductory discount coupons to give away, each $15 off.  If you want one, please contact me (Carl Ingalls) by phone at +1 610-627-9030 or by email at (before you click on the purchase link below).

If you want to purchase this HPS Mini-Course about the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI) now, you may use this link:

Future HPS Mini-Courses will appear on the HPS Training Calendar at least a week before they are scheduled.


More info can be found at

Mini-Courses on Various Topics, Individual Parts of High Probability Selling

Announcing a series of Mini-Courses in High Probability Selling.  These are short topics, each delivered in a single webinar session.  39 minutes  $39

The webinar platform is GoToMeeting, led by Carl Ingalls in real-time (live).  Content is mostly audio (speaking), with some video (text, graphics).

The first HPS Mini-Course will be about the Conditional Commitment Question, scheduled for Tuesday 19 November 2019 at 1:00pm USA Eastern Time (same time zone as New York).  This first session is limited to a total of 10 participants.

The price is $39 USD per person.  However, I have 10 introductory discount coupons to give away, each $20 off.  If you want one, please contact me (Carl Ingalls) by phone at +1 610-627-9030 or by email at

If you want to purchase this HPS Mini-Course about the Conditional Commitment Question now, you may use this link:

The second HPS Mini-Course will probably be about the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI), which has also been called Connecting and Getting Personal in past HPS sales training workshops.  The date has not been selected yet.

Future HPS Mini-Courses will appear on the HPS Training Calendar at least a week before they are scheduled.

Some sessions may be recorded (audio and/or video), and some recordings may be offered for sale later.

More info can be found at

Questions About High Probability Selling From Beginning Students

Here are some questions and comments submitted by students who were just beginning to learn High Probability Selling (HPS), plus responses provided by me (Carl Ingalls).

Syd:  The scenario is scripted and far from real life (in my experience).
Me:  Yes, it reads like a script.  And yes, the scenario is far from real life in most people’s experience.  Some people want that, and some do not.  Some people want something that is very different from their experience.  Others want something that fits in with what they have already learned.  High Probability Selling can seem strange and unrealistic to someone who is used to thinking of “selling” as something you do for the purpose of getting people to buy.

Syd:  Prospects do not have this much time to talk about their personal lives.
Me:  It depends on how you interact with them.

Magdalena:  What about “transferability” of the methods of HPS to situations where “selling” is not the main part of the job?
Me:  If you see “selling” as getting someone to buy from you, then HPS does not apply at all.  If you see “selling” in a much broader sense, where you include interactions where money is not involved, then HPS ideals and methods can be applied in almost every situation where you want to work with people.

James:  Have you any experience of a trained telemarketer doing this for the salesman or does it have to be done by the individual themselves?
Me:  Several companies use trained telemarketers to find high probability prospects, and make appointments that salespeople go on.  It can work very well when the prospector and the salesperson use compatible methods.  It can also work quite terribly when they don’t.

Jimmy:  I have to talk to Managers, Engineers and Supervisors in the Mechanical Maintenance Department.  How do I get their names?
Me:  If you “have to” do this because it is a necessary part of the sales process you use, and it is not working well enough, then a different sales process may work better for you.

Jimmy:  Salesmen are usually “yesmen”.  What happens when the prospects are asked tough questions; it could be something new to them?
Me:  There are a lot of yes-men, and they don’t get much respect.  Salespeople who act with self-respect do.  This can be a novel experience for a prospect.  Very few will comment on it, especially if done in a neutral, matter-of-fact manner.  If they try to “test” you, they might say something.

Jimmy:  What to do, if the answer to any question is No or Evasive during the process.  Do you walk away if the answer is an not an emphatic Yes?
Me:  It depends on the question, and where in the process.  If they say “no” to the prospecting offer, then we say, “Ok. … Goodbye”, and call them some other time.  If the “No” means that the prospect is not a High Probability Prospect, then we walk away (for now).  When we can’t tell, we find out by asking very direct questions.  Continued evasiveness is also a pretty clear signal that it’s time to leave.  If we do not get a “Yes” to the important questions, we walk away.  However, we teach our students to go light on the disqualification until they get more experience, but always ask the questions.

David:  What’s the definitive answer to dealing with leaving voicemails?
Me:  Leave a voicemail whenever possible, and make it very short.  Include a call-back number.  If you do get a return call, treat it like an inbound prospecting call.

David:  What if the prospect asks for further information via email before deciding if it is something they want?
Me:  If requested, send information by email.  Make sure that you have composed the email in advance, and that it was created specifically to go with that prospecting offer.  Don’t try to get away with a general pitch.

David:  What could be some red flags?
Me:  There are several.  Voicemail must be very short, probably shorter than the prospecting offer itself.  If you send an email, never ever mention the fact that you did so, unless the recipient brings it up first.

Michael:  Regarding “your procedure for a purchase order” if I am meeting with a married couple at their home, should I rephrase the question for individuals and not a company?
Me:  Each of the questions in the Discovery Disqualification list can (and should) be reworded so that they apply to the specific prospect you are talking with.

Michael:  Should I ask for the client’s list of conditions of satisfaction after question 13 and before question 14?
Me:  We never ask the potential client to give us a list of their Conditions of Satisfaction.  They probably could not put them all into words.  That’s why we use that phrase.  It is a lot more than just a list of known requirements.

You are welcome to ask more questions about HPS, and I will do my best to answer.

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