Beyond the Sale – A Consultant’s Story

For some people, closing the sale is the only thing that matters.  But for many of us, what happens after the sale is even more important in the long run.

A consultant’s success goes beyond getting paid to give advice.  If the client does not take the consultant’s advice, the client won’t get any value from it.  And if they don’t get any value, they are not likely to hire the consultant again.

Before I started learning about High Probability Selling, I always thought that I needed to work harder to convince my clients to accept my advice.  Stronger arguments, presented more enthusiastically.  But it didn’t always work, and that concerned me.

And then, as I learned more about the principles behind HPS, I asked myself, “What if I delivered my ideas with less push instead of more?  What if I presented them more objectively, more balanced, with both the negatives and the positives?  What if I didn’t try to tell my client what to do, but rather make it completely their decision?”

Ultimately, I am selling my ideas, and I need my clients to buy into them.  It’s a sale beyond the sale.  It’s not about money, because they’ve already agreed to pay me to tell them what to do.

So how do I use High Probability Selling to do this sale beyond the sale?  How do I deliver my advice?

I studied the process that Jacques Werth calls the Conditions of Satisfaction (in the book, High Probability Selling) and I adapted the principles behind it to deliver the details of consulting advice.  In place of the list of Features, I used a very complete list of choices that the client could take.  For each choice, I gave my opinions about the benefits and detriments (based only on my experience and judgment), and I also asked others to contribute their own opinions about outcomes.  I usually wrote this all down on a whiteboard or flip-chart.  And then, at the end, I asked the HPS Closing Question:  “What do you want to do?”

No matter what they choose, I win (and so do they).

 

Beyond the Sale – A Consultant’s Story

The Essence of High Probability Selling – New Workshop

We recommend this course for people who are just beginning with High Probability Selling (HPS), and have read the book at least once.  We also recommend it for people who have had some previous training and want a refresher.

Topics covered:

  • What is High Probability Selling
  • How Does HPS Differ from Other Sales Methods
  • How Has It Changed Since the HPS Book Was Written
  • Mindset of High Probability Selling
  • HPS Sales Process, Sequence of Steps
  • When HPS Works and When It Does Not
  • Questions and Answers

The course is 1 webinar session, about two hours long.  Real-time interactive conversations between participants, led by Carl Ingalls.  Mostly audio, some visual.

We record the webinar session and make the recording available to the participants.

We interview each applicant by telephone before accepting them as a student.

Price:  $95 USD per person.  We accept PayPal and most major credit cards around the world.

Date:  Friday 9 August 2019.

Time:  3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, USA Eastern Time (same as New York City).

To Enroll:  Contact Carl Ingalls, by phone +1 610-627-9030, or by email info@HighProbSell.com.  Please do not send any credit card information by email.

For more information, please visit our webpage at www.HighProbSell.com/workshops/essence/

For other training in High Probability Selling, please visit our HPS Training webpage.

The Essence of High Probability Selling – New Workshop

Open vs Closed Questions – Revisited

A closed question is one which restricts the ways in which it can be answered.  Yes or No.  This or That.

An open question gives the other person a great deal of freedom in how they choose to answer.  These questions often begin with words like what, why, when, who, where, and how.

In High Probability Selling (HPS), we ask a lot of questions, both open and closed, each in their own place and time.  It’s a discovery process.  There are a lot of things to find out.

When we ask a prospect anything about want, we always ask a closed question.  We want to hear a simple yes or no answer.  “Is that something you want?”

If a prospect says “yes” to our question about want, we ask, “Why?”  That’s a very open question.

After we set an appointment for our next meeting or phone conversation with the prospect, we ask an open question again.  We ask, “When we meet, if our packaging meets your criteria, what will you do?”  We leave this as open as possible, without suggesting an answer.  We never ask, “Will you buy from me?”

When we ask questions to find out what kind of person the prospect is, and what sort of relationship is likely to form, almost all of our questions are open ones.  We learn more that way.  (See Chapter 7 in the book.)

In the Discovery / Disqualification process (Chapter 8 in the book), most of the questions we ask are open questions.  Even the closed ones leave the other person some latitude in how they might choose to respond.

Near the end of the sale, when we review the details, we we ask a series of closed questions.  For each feature, we ask, “Will that work for you?”

And finally, at the close, we ask another open question:  “What do you want to do?”

Jacques Werth (co-author of the book, High Probability Selling) has written about using open questions in the context of needs-based selling (Questions: Open-Ended or Close-Ended?).   That article seems to suggest that HPS asks more closed questions than open ones.  However, the opposite is true.  We just use open questions for a different purpose than all of the “getting-people-to-buy” methods of selling.

Open vs Closed Questions – Revisited

Dealing with customer who realized that I called again – a question from a student

I recently received the following email from a student of High Probability Selling, who had some questions about prospecting.  I have edited the email slightly.  I replaced the sender’s real name with Tom Prospector, and the real company name with XYZ Company.  I am publishing the edited version here (with permission).  My response appears below the email.


I am an insurance agent from Singapore. I bought the HPS book from amazon and also downloaded the recording on “selling in financial services”. 

Some customer recognised that I called again after 3 weeks. Some reacted neutrally while recognising that I called. Occassionally some confronted me over the phone asking me why I called again while they clearly said no before. I then asked them if they want me to remove them from my list. They said yes and I removed. 

I understand that we want the familiarity but not the sense of creating a nuisance for them. I am a new guy in sales and I was a bit paranoid of getting a complaint, even though I checked through DNC religiously before calling. 

So my question is for HPS, is this part of the game, or am I doing it wrong-not tweaking the script enough?

First script: Hi I am Tom Prospector from XYZ Company. I am selling life insurance that can give you a million dollar coverage, for 20 years, for less than 200 dollar a month. Is that something you want?

Second script: Hi I am Tom Prospector from XYZ Company. I am selling affordable life insurance that can give you half a million coverage in death and total permanent disability. Is that something you want? 

My concern is am I commiting the mistake of having insufficient difference in the two messages. If I am not doing anything wrong, I should just focus on Complying with laws and regulations only and continue with what I am doing, understanding that such confrontation is part of the game?


Yes.  As you had guessed, your prospecting offers are far too similar to each other.  People are very likely to think they are the same, and especially if you call back as soon as 3 weeks.  The first thing to do is to make your prospecting offers sound very different.

A small amount of confrontation is unavoidable.  However, you can reduce it significantly by following our guidelines more closely than you have so far.  Study the HPS Blog post, “Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer“.  Also, be sure to read the comments.

Here are some examples of what you can do differently:

  • We no longer say “Hi” or “Hello”.  We get better results by getting straight to business without trying to seem friendly.
  • If you are prospecting in English, say “This is [name]” instead of “I am [name]”.  If you are prospecting in Chinese, find the closest equivalent.  The intention is to sound the same, whether you are calling a stranger or a colleague that you have been working with (without relying on caller ID).
  • Use factual words.  Avoid words like “affordable”, anything that is a matter of judgment or opinion.
  • It is better to talk about what you offer in terms of what the customer receives than to talk about something that you do.  We call this The Get.  “I sell life insurance” is slightly better than “I am selling life insurance”, because the focus is a little more on the noun, and a little less on the verb.
  • Avoid using the words “you” or “your” as part of the prospecting offer.  The first time we say “you” is when we ask “Is that something you want.”
  • One way to make your prospecting offers different from each other is to be less complete in each offer.  Leave things out.  Focus on only one feature at a time.  For instance, one offer can focus on the death benefit, while ignoring the disability.  Another offer can focus on the disability aspect, while ignoring the death benefit.
  • Another way to reduce confrontation is to keep your manner neutral and businesslike.  No enthusiasm or high energy.
  • In English, it is normal to speak with a rising intonation at the end of a question.  Some people do that even when making a statement (and we call that uptalk).  In contrast, we are careful to end every statement, as well as every question, with a downward intonation.  We get better results that way.
  • The cost of life insurance depends on a number of factors, including age and health.  Is “less than 200 dollar a month” an accurate statement for every person on your prospecting list?  Find a way to be truthful.

Here’s another tip.  Instead of asking someone if they want you to remove them from your list, ask them if they want to be removed from the list.  It makes a difference.  We don’t ask people what they want us to do.  We focus on the get.

Thank you very much for your question, and for the opportunity to share with a wider audience.


Comments and questions are welcome.

 

Dealing with customer who realized that I called again – a question from a student

Don’t Say It – Be It

Saying you are honest is fast and easy, and you can shout it out to as many people as you want.  Being honest takes a lot longer for people to notice, but is far more believable.  The same is true for just about any other virtue we might want to advertise about ourselves.

Using words to impress can backfire.  It’s a shortcut, too often used by people in place of actually implementing the qualities that they want their words to imply.  And this can create doubt, the sort of doubt Shakespeare was talking about in the line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Walking the Talk is not good enough.  Skip the talk.  Just walk.

 

Don’t Say It – Be It

Be Brief and Be Gone

“Be brief and be gone” is a guiding principle when calling prospects.  We say who we are and what we are offering, as concisely as possible.  We know that we are an interruption to their day, so we get out as quickly as we can, unless they tell us they want what we are selling.

And then we call again in a month or so, and do the same with a different offer, and so on.

People buy in their own time, and for their own reasons.  The purpose of each prospecting call we make is to find out if the time is now for that prospect, or not.

Credits.
“Be brief and be gone” — from Paul Bunn
“People buy in their own time and for their own reasons” — from Jacques Werth

 

Be Brief and Be Gone

“Never Be So Sure of What You Want, That You Wouldn’t Take Something Better” – Chris Voss on Negotiating

Chris Voss is a master of negotiating, and especially in hostage situations.  In this You Tube video, he explains many of his basic principles for negotiating successfully.  Paul Bunn and I saw a lot of parallels between the principles Chris Voss follows in a negotiation situation and the principles we follow in a High Probability Selling situation.

The video is titled “CEO Chris Voss: Negotiate Like Your Life Depends On It | iConic Conference 2017 | CNBC” and is a little over 33 minutes long.  The You Tube URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKrs7HdhUjM

I invite you to watch and listen to him speak, and then post your thoughts and comments on this blog.

 

“Never Be So Sure of What You Want, That You Wouldn’t Take Something Better” – Chris Voss on Negotiating