Phone Phobia

The following is from a student of High Probability Selling (HPS) who calls himself Francesco the Salesman, and is published here with permission. I have done some minor editing.

Right now my BIGGEST challenge is to get into the damn phone.

I have the fear of God when it comes to using the phone.

It is AMAZING how much I can procrastinate to get into the phone!

I find EVERYTHING to do before getting on the dreaded phone.

It is funny and strange, because I have no problem at all in meeting people COLD in person, nor girls, I can even be in front of an audience of 200 people completely comfortable and with the calm of a Zen monk!

But when it gets to the phone, I start sweating cold, panic and procrastinate like there is no tomorrow.

I know that, in the end, all comes down to de-sensitization through exposure and repetition, but damn is hard to get into it to begin with.

I feel reluctance to the phone itself, besides the cold calling.

Actually I think that more than the actual cold calls, it is the phone that is my problem.

I usually try to avoid making phone calls all together.

If I can do it in person, text or email, I will usually lean over those options first and avoid or procrastinate on making a phone call.

And when I do make a phone call I sometimes get quite nervous and do not like that feeling much.

It is like a phone phobia.

It is quite limiting as you can imagine.

I remember reading something in the book “The psychology of sales call reluctance” that mentioned that usually call reluctance stems from an early childhood trauma for which one with my “first love” girl in high school immediately comes to my mind.

She was a very attractive girl (amazing legs) back in high school and the first girl I got DEEPLY excited for ever in my life (I switched from an all guys school to a mixed one) in both sexually and romantically interest and illusion.

Unfortunately she was EXTREMELY mean and nasty with me (in general too though) and she caused me quite a severe pain, especially on my first very few calling attempts to her.

Even my father teases my phone phobia saying that “Anna (the little vixen) really screwed you up to use the phone forever!”

So my problem is not as much in warming up to calling but to BEGIN calling in the first place.

In reflecting for a solution, I concluded that again a process of de-sensitization through repetition would be the best course of action, for which I was planning on setting a goal of making a certain number of phone calls every day (say 10) as a habit building exercise starting small and then ramping up the number of calls as I got more confident.

That is the idea I am currently playing with and reflecting upon.

My number one priority in my life right now is to get this “being able to make phone calls comfortably and confidently every time I want” thing down and solved, because it is a tremendous peril and HUGE limit both financially and socially and I just HAVE to get this dumb thing solved.

Francesco the Salesman

The text above is copied from emails received in late October 2018.

Judging

We try not to judge, but it’s a difficult habit to break.  Sometimes we do it without intending to.  Sometimes we are completely unaware of it.

I’m talking about the Good vs Bad kind of judging that we do when we apply it to people and what they do.  We form a value opinion, and then we drop our opinion into the world where it does its damage.

In High Probability Selling (HPS), we do our best to avoid this kind of judging.  Nothing positive, nothing negative.  Neither good nor bad.  We consider it too manipulative.  People are less likely to trust us.

It takes a great deal of work to become more aware of how our opinions – and how we state them – make other people feel judged and pressured.  Good intentions are not enough.

If you want to read some guidelines about how we avoid judging, see a previous article on this blog, “You Have to Get Personal“.

Questions and comments are very welcome.

Giving Something Away – Advice from Jacques Werth

Jacques Werth (founder of High Probability Selling), had this to say about giving away anything of value.

Always make sure that the recipient wants and will value what you give them, before you give it to them.

Don’t assume, ask.

  • Want – Do you want this?
  • Value – If I give this to you, what will you do (with it)?

Many years ago, Jacques was meeting someone in his office, and the conversation soon turned to High Probability Selling.  The visitor saw the book, High Probability Selling and expressed some interest in it.

Jacques asked, “Do you want a copy of that book?”

When the visitor said yes, Jacques asked, “If I give it to you, what will you do?”

The visitor said, “I’ll read it,” so Jacques handed him a brand new copy, no charge.

Questions and Comments from Our Audience, 2021-06

Steve Alexander wrote:

I was thinking about High Prob Sell vs Go for No.  I believe both systems are based on the two holy grails of life – 1) Whatever you resist persists, and 2) whatever you pursue eludes you.  I have noticed these two universal truths everywhere in life.  It’s amazing how simple things become once you “get it.”  Want to sell something?  Stop trying.  That’s basically how it works.  If you stop trying to sell, people will buy, assuming you have something people want.  If they don’t want it, you’re better off being quiet.  Sometimes, prospects will talk themselves into a sale, but you never will.


Adam Ruplinger wrote:

I love HPS!  I do not sell well when experiencing anxiety.  HPS eliminates my anxiety.  I cannot find a company that lets me use it.  Can you provide a list of companies using it I could apply for work?  Thank you!

Carl Ingalls replied:

I don’t have a list of companies that use HPS.  In general, large companies do not support it.  Also, when a company pays a salary to a salesperson, I take that to mean that they are paying the salesperson to sell the way they tell them to.  However, when the compensation is commission, the salesperson is generally free to use whatever method he or she chooses, as long as they get results.

When applying for a sales position, I recommend that you say the following, “I use my own sales method.  Will that work for you.”

Only mention High Probability Selling if asked.  Never try to talk anyone into it. 


Published here with permission from the authors.

Relationship Building through Prospecting

We let relationships build themselves naturally from how we work and who we are being, nothing else.  We make no attempt to create a relationship.

We demonstrate who we are every time we reach out to someone using the methods of High Probability Prospecting.

  • We get to the point quickly and directly.
  • We accept No for an answer, without question, and we go away immediately.
  • We do not try to influence or change anyone’s mind.
  • We are selective about who we will do business with, and under what circumstances.
  • We reach out to the same individual about once a month, with different offers.

These behaviors shape the relationship that forms, over time.

How Do You Sell High Probability Selling?

Jacques Werth and I talked about this many times.  I believe that it is extremely important to follow High Probability Selling (HPS) when selling it.  Practice what you teach.

One of the problems of using persuasive arguments to market and sell HPS is that you attract people who live in that world, the world of convincing people.  You end up caring about and being frustrated with people who will have an especially difficult time learning and using HPS.

As Jacques used to say, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

When you feel very passionate about something (like HPS), it is very difficult to maintain any emotional detachment when selling it.  That passion can come across as emotional pressure, which creates resistance at an emotional level.

Jacques was very well aware of the problem and knew what he had to do.  “But,” as he would say, “it’s my baby!”

And now it’s my turn.

I also feel very passionately about High Probability Selling.  It has changed my life.  And like Jacques, I can be drawn into arguments about the benefits of it (and like him, I always regret it).

But it’s not my baby, and I try to remember that.

I try to remember to:

  • Inform, not persuade
  • Talk about features, not benefits
  • Focus on individuals who already know what HPS is
  • Educate large audiences whenever possible
  • Find people who have already decided they want HPS for their own reasons, not people who feel they need to be talked into it
  • Invest in people and situations that are most likely to lead to successful outcomes in the long run

Sales Copywriting Tactics and High Probability Selling

Are sales copywriting tactics compatible with the non-manipulative methods of high probability selling?

The question is:

“Is using a marketing sales letter that uses the sales copywriting tactics of direct response marketing compatible with the non-manipulative methods of high probability selling process?”

This question was asked by a reader in a comment on this blog, and I decided to write a post about it.

The short answer is: NO.

The most common sales copywriting tactics are completely incompatible with High Probability Selling (HPS). And for most copywriters, even the fundamental purpose of copywriting is incompatible with HPS.

One copywriter explains the difference in purpose between copywriting and other writing in his article, “81 staggering lines in literature“:

“Unlike writing, copywriting exists to get the reader to do something, buy something, sign-up for something or share something.” He goes on to say, “copywriting exists to elicit an action in the reader.”

In High Probability Selling, we DO NOT attempt to get anyone to buy. Not even a nudge one way or the other. We do try to be as clear as possible about what it is that we are offering, and we do try to get the prospect to make an immediate decision about whether they want that or not. But nothing intended to influence that decision.

So, what about sales copywriting? What would that look like if you wanted to make it completely compatible with the methods and principles of High Probability Selling?

Here is what I think sales copywriting would look like if it were to be compatible with HPS.

  • Informative, without attempting to influence or impress the reader. Our primary purpose is to provide the information that someone might want in order to make a well-informed decision.
  • Honest, full disclosure of what is relevant.
  • Balanced, revealing both pros and cons.
  • Neutral, objective (factual), transparent. No exaggerating.
  • Concise, direct, to the point.
  • Short and simple, easy to read. What it’s about should be immediately apparent to the reader, as quickly as possible. If details are necessary, put them further down the page.
  • Focused more on what a customer receives (The Get), and less on what the seller does.
  • Features (what the customer gets immediately) are more important than benefits (potential later outcomes).
  • No pressure. No pushing, not even a nudge.
  • Provide options.
  • Ask for a decision. One of my favorite ways to do this is, “What do you want to do?”

My opinions on this are based on years of conversations with Jacques Werth (founder of High Probability Selling) and others, plus my own thinking and experience.

What are your thoughts and experiences about this?

The Purpose of the Trust and Respect Inquiry

Jacques Werth has taught that the primary reason for doing the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI) in a sales situation is so that you can find out whether you can trust the other person or not.

My opinion on this is a little different.

Although I believe that the TRI can be effective in discovering most of the people who might try to cheat you, I believe that this is not its most important purpose.  I have never found a dishonest person by this method, and I have only heard Jacques tell of 2 or 3 cases where he actually discovered someone like that.  And in one of those cases, he chose to do business with the prospect anyway (and ended up regretting it).

I believe that the most important purpose of the Trust and Respect Inquiry is to find out about people.

Why is it important to find out about people?

  • High Probability Selling is a personal way of selling.
  • If we are going to work with people, we will do a much better job of it when we understand them well.
  • The time to find out about what it will take to work with someone is before the sale, not after.
  • The TRI is even more valuable when it is used outside of selling.  In my opinion, the TRI is the most valuable thing we teach.

Note:  The Trust and Respect Inquiry is a special process within High Probability Selling where we ask questions about the other person in a particular way.  An early version of this is described in the book, High Probability Selling (in the chapter titled “Establishing a Relationship”).

I’d very much like to hear thoughts and opinions from people who have a lot of experience doing the TRI.  Please use the comments feature, because I’m sure a lot of our other readers would like to hear from you as well.

We Take No for an Answer – No Matter How They Say It

In High Probability Selling, we always accept “no” for an answer, and we move on.

Prospects say “no” in different ways, depending on circumstances.

For instance, suppose we are on a live phone conversation with a prospect, we present our offer, and ask “Is that something you want.”  They might answer our question with a simple “no.”  In that case, we say, “Ok.  Bye-now.”  Then we pause a few seconds in silence, and hang up.

Or, they might say something like, “I’m busy.”  As far as we are concerned that is exactly the same as a “no.”  We do not ask when is a better time for us to call again.  We say, “Ok.  Bye-now” and we hang up.

And if they say anything that sounds remotely like an objection, that’s the same as a literal “no.”

When we leave a message (by voicemail, text, or email), a lot of people say no by deleting the message without responding to it in any way.  If we do not receive any response from the prospect, we also treat that as a no.  We might say ok and bye-now in our own heads.  But everything after that is the same.  We record what offer was given, and we call them back in 3 to 6 weeks with a different offer, just as if they had said no to our offer in person.

There is an exception to the above.  When we leave a message with a gatekeeper, and we are following the HPS special protocol for Working With The Gatekeeper, we may call that same gatekeeper in a few days to ask about the response.

If a prospect does not say “Yes” to our question, “Is that something you want,” we have found that it is better to exit quickly and come back to the same individual 3-6 weeks later with a different offer, than it is to spend any more time at all talking with that prospect.  That is why Jacques Werth advised students to err on the side of disqualifying a prospect.  You are far more likely to get another chance at discovering a sale by coming back later.

Most of the time, no only means not now.

Happy Prospecting,
Carl Ingalls


Comments and questions are very welcome and appreciated.

High Probability Selling Was Discovered, Not Made

Jacques Werth discovered what he later called High Probability Selling (HPS) by observing and documenting what hundreds of highly successful salespeople were doing.  He invented the name, and he invented a way of talking about it and teaching it, and he wrote the book, but he did not invent the method of selling.  It was already out there.  That’s where he found it.

I asked him why he used the phrase “Re-invents the Selling Process” on the cover of his book.  He told me that, at the time, lots of successful authors were saying things like that on their books and it seemed like a good idea.

In those days, Jacques tended to use conventional methods in marketing.  In later years, he moved toward marketing methods that were more compatible with his preferred selling method.

One of the things that distinguishes HPS from other selling methods is that it’s all about discovery—all the way through the entire process.  Discovering a sale, not making one happen.

I see High Probability Selling itself as something to be discovered, not controlled.  That is the way I prefer to work with it.  Learning, talking, and teaching.


Comments and questions are very welcome and appreciated.

 

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