Implementing High Probability Selling – Where to Start?

The beginning?  The end?  Bits and pieces?  All at once?  Just the parts that are comfortable or make the most sense?  Nowhere?

It takes a lot of time and effort and practice to learn how to do High Probability Selling (HPS).  There are lots of ideas to unlearn, and lots of habits to drop.

Implementing all of HPS all at once has worked very well in the past, but most of our clients prefer to learn and apply it in steps, slowly and gradually over time.

The problem with gradually adopting HPS is that the transition period can be a negative experience for prospects and customers.  Being subjected to pieces from sales methods that have conflicting purposes can make them wary.  Some sales methods just don’t mix well.

It matters where you start.  It matters because of what the prospect sees.

If you start at the beginning, and use High Probability Prospecting (with no attempt to influence, persuade, or entice), the prospect will initially have one idea of what kind of person you are and how you do business.  If you then switch to using more traditional sales methods on the same prospect, they may decide that you can’t be trusted.

We don’t know if this is the real reason or not, but we do know that people have had extremely poor results when High Probability Prospecting was followed by traditional selling methods.  If you’re going to use any parts of a sales process that is designed to get someone to buy, you’ll get better results by starting out with that process from the beginning of your interaction with a prospect.  And once you switch to using HPS with the same prospect, stay with HPS all the way through the end.

For gradual implementation, we now believe that the best place to start using HPS is at the end of the sales process.  And then add the step that comes before the end, and so on, all the way back to the beginning.

The sequence of steps in the High Probability Selling Process is shown in an earlier post on this blog, Sequence of Steps in High Probability Selling

Note:  In this article, “We” means Paul Bunn and Carl Ingalls.

Workshops in March 2018:
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 15 Mar for $95
Mindset Discovery on Wed 21 Mar for $255

Implementing High Probability Selling – Where to Start?

Finding Companies That Embrace This Philosophy

Someone anonymously posted this message yesterday via the webform on the Contact Us webpage for High Probability Selling.

Finding Companies that embrace this philosophy
Hello.  I ran across your site today after getting pitched yet another sales training program.   I have been in sales and business development for close to 30 years.   May companies are so stooped into the old school ways of selling it is ridiculous.   I embrace this philosophy but how do I connect with companies that want people trained using this thought process?  Do you have roles available within your consulting practice?

I’ve decided to provide an answer here on this blog.

The short answer is – ask them.  Use High Probability Prospecting to find a job, and use High Probability Disqualifying to filter out the ones that aren’t going to work for you.

The best detailed instructions I have seen for doing this are in a blog post written by Jacques Werth in 2009:  Finding the Sales Position You Want.

However, there are two changes we would recommend today.  The first is to make your prospecting offer much shorter, 30 words or less, even if you have to include only one feature instead of two (see Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer).  The second change is that we now recommend leaving voice mail messages (see this article).

Before accepting a sales position, find out if you will be allowed to sell the way you choose to sell, or not.  Ask about that directly.  If part of your compensation is a salary, that may mean that they are paying you to sell the way they tell you to sell.

Another article that might help is:  Finding the Job You Want – Josh’s Story

Happy Prospecting.

Workshops in Feb 2018:
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 15 Feb for $95

Finding Companies That Embrace This Philosophy

Finding Someone Who Will Refer You To Their Clients

I received the following a few days ago:

Study book continuously. I need help with last question. I am calling sports agents and I would like them to refer me to their athlete clients. I sell high risk disability income insurance. Should I say: \”Is this something your clients might want?\” Or \”Is this something you want me to tell your clients about?\”  ~ Herb Williams

Finding an agent who wants to subject his or her own clients to a call from an insurance salesperson is going to be difficult.  It will take multiple calls to the same agent before they will consider trusting you with any of their clients.  They have to see how you sell.

Multiple calls means multiple offers, and it works better when the offers are different.  The problem with your offer is that “high risk disability income insurance” covers just about everything that you have to offer to an athlete.  It’s too broad for this kind of prospecting.  When a sports agent says no to that, you don’t have anything else to offer the next time you call them.

One way to narrow yourself is to mention only one kind of disabling event and only one sport at a time.  For instance, you could say you sell disability insurance that covers motocross accidents.  The next time, it could be golf or weight lifting, or something else.

As for the final question, you could ask the agent something like this:  “Do you want any of your clients to hear about this.”  Do not include yourself in that question.

Most of the time, the answer will be no.  You say, “Ok.  (pause).  Goodbye.”  Say nothing more.  Wait a few seconds and then hang up.  (See more about saying ok goodbye in this article)

If someone says yes, always remember to ask why.

Tip.  Don’t tell them what you want them to do, and don’t ask them what they want you to do.  Ask instead, “What do you want to do.”

Additional reading:  Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer.  Please note that there is more learning to be found in the comments and replies to that article.

Workshops in Jan 2018:
High Probability Mindset Discovery on Tue 16 Jan for $255
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 18 for $95

Finding Someone Who Will Refer You To Their Clients

When Someone is Interested in Something You Sell, What Does That Mean?

It depends on how you want to sell.

If you want to sell by talking someone into buying, “interested” is an opportunity to try to do just that.  Interested doesn’t mean that they are likely to buy from you.  It only means you have someone who will probably listen to you while you talk.

If you want to sell by finding someone who is likely to buy, then “interested” is an opportunity to do some finding out.  Find out what is behind that interest.  It may mean that the interested person is close to making a purchase decision and wants some information, or it may only mean that the interested person wants to be educated.

When I first started learning High Probability Selling, I was taught that “interested” was a poison word, something that salespeople should avoid.  It means that a prospect is not ready to buy, and is likely to waste the salesperson’s time.  I understood immediately what my teachers were talking about.  I happen to be a person who is interested in just about everything, even when I have no interest in buying, and I began to feel some pity for the salesperson who encountered someone like me.

There is no need to avoid the word “interested” as long as you are clear about what it means for the way you choose to sell.  Richard Himmer (one of my other teachers in HPS) made a useful distinction between Interested and Interesting.  In High Probability Selling, the salesperson is the one who is interested, and the prospect is the one who is interesting.  It’s usually the other way around for salespeople who want to try to influence the prospect to buy.

I am very interested in any comments you may have.  You are all very interesting people.


When Someone is Interested in Something You Sell, What Does That Mean?

Using High Probability Selling Principles When Delivering Advice

A student of High Probability Selling (HPS) asked me if we had any materials that explained how we use the principles behind HPS while we are teaching and consulting.  I replied that we do not have any such materials so far, but I plan on writing a blog post on the topic.  Here is that post.

I have been a consultant providing technical advice in the area of embossing for many years, long before I met Jacques Werth and began to learn HPS from him.  When I first started to grasp the mindset of HPS, I took the idea of not trying to convince people, and I started applying that idea to the way that I delivered my consulting advice in my embossing business.  The idea is that trying to persuade someone to buy creates a natural and almost reflexive resistance, known in the sales trade as Sales Resistance.  So maybe there is a similar thing in consulting, something we might call Advice Resistance.

I figured out the things that I had been doing to try to get my consulting clients to take my advice.  I stopped doing those things, and I quickly noticed a difference.  The more objective and neutral I was while delivering my advice, the more often they would actually follow through and do it.

When coaching and training clients about HPS, we do not try to get them to accept and follow what we teach.  We do not provide reasons or logical arguments for why anyone should do High Prob.  It has to be their choice and their decision.  If they have not decided to do this, it’s not the right time to teach them.

This is very similar to how HPS salespeople treat prospects.  The decision to buy or not to buy is completely up to the prospect.

People buy in their own time and for their own reasons.  ~ Jacques Werth


Using High Probability Selling Principles When Delivering Advice

People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

People are less likely to pick up the phone today, and especially if the call is from someone they don’t know or is from a number they don’t recognize.  You are more likely to get voicemail or some other automated system, even when calling a business.

At one time, it was not practical to leave voice messages when doing High Probability Prospecting.  Salespeople who were telephone prospecting in those days got better results when they just moved on to the next number in their list.  The odds of getting a live person on the phone were much higher then.

Today, we do recommend leaving a very brief voice message.  Just your name, your company, the subject of your call, and your phone number.  As short as possible, with much less detail than a prospecting offer that you would deliver live.  The usual mistake is to say too much.

One of the consequences of leaving messages is that you may begin to receive a greater number of inbound prospecting calls (where a prospect calls you).  The skills required for handling these conversations are very different from doing outbound prospecting.  It takes a special kind of listening.  But that’s a topic for a different blog post.

Note:  Jacques Werth had written an article titled Top 6 Pitfalls of Voice Mail Messages (which appears in a list of articles on the main HPS website).  In that article, he argued against leaving voicemail.

People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

If You Could Predict Each Sale, What Would Change?

Suppose you had a crystal ball that will tell you who will buy from you and who will not.  What would you do with it?

Would you test it?  How?

How accurate would the predictions have to be in order to make a difference in how you spend your time and energy?

What would stop you?

I know the logical answers, and maybe you do too.  But I’m asking for your thoughts and feelings about this, because most of our decisions are based on our individual experience and gut feel.  Logic comes later, if at all.

What would you do?

[Author’s note.  The crystal ball has only two answers:  Yes, or No.]

If You Could Predict Each Sale, What Would Change?