Popular Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Best – or Even Good

by Paul Bunn

If everyone is thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.     – George S. Patton

Turnover in the sales profession is extremely high compared to most other professions.  The failure rate for financial services agents and representatives is greater than 90 percent.

Look at the world of sales experts, sales trainers and sales consulting firms. You will find nearly all of them are offering the same way, or a better way, of selling based on the same three main goals:

  • Find prospects that apparently need your products, services, or solutions.
  • Get those prospects to agree to meet with you, in person or over the phone
  • At that meeting, or subsequent meeting(s), persuade them to buy from you

 

There are other aspects of that way of selling, such as: building a relationship and rapport, getting referrals, overcoming objections, improving your presentation, identifying decision-makers, etc.  But these are just supporting elements of the three main goals.  Seems simple enough. 

Consultative selling, solution selling, SPIN selling, value based selling, trusted advisor, buying facilitation, B2B, M2M, etc., whatever the current popular variation, nearly everyone in sales is pursuing those three main goals.  Most salespeople and their managers accept it as the only way to sell. It is also accepted as the only way to measure and market the effectiveness of their training.

So, why is the failure rate so high?  Why are there so many new, and supposedly better, variations of a system that is generally accepted as the only way?  Why does it need so many modifications?

We have discovered that there are only two groups of people that do not embrace the sales methods used by most salespeople: 

  • Top producers, the ones that make up the top one or two percent of salespeople
  • Prospects and customers – including salespeople when they are not selling

This discovery is a result of 40 years of research, consisting of in-person direct observation of hundreds of top producers in multiple industries while they were prospecting and selling.   We found that over 80 percent of these top producers did not follow the universally accepted selling models.  Also, they did not accept or work towards the popular and accepted goals of selling.  They used a sales  process that formed the basis of what is now known as High Probability Selling (HPS).   

Most salespeople will continue to stay with what is popular. However, if you believe that popular doesn’t necessarily equal best, then High Probability Selling might be for you.

Listen and Learn

We teach High Probability Selling and Prospecting.  You can listen to a recording of one of our Participative Learning Sessions by clicking here.

You can contact us by clicking here… even if you disagree.

Or call us at 800-394-7762 (disconnected in 2015 – see updated contact page). 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

How Successful People Make Decisions

by Carl Ingalls and Paul Bunn

A colleague here in our office recently shared the following strategy for succeeding in business:

“If you want to be successful in business, do business with successful people.”

How we communicate with them is a significant element of that strategy. We’ve developed a table comparing sales communication methods that are more consistent and less consistent with the way successful people make decisions. You can see the table here at our website.

 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

So You Think You Lost the Sale?


Losing a sale is something that we’ve all experienced.  Sometimes it feels like the prospect’s mind seemed to change for no apparent reason, sometimes you had a sense that there was something negative in the mind of your prospect, but you just couldn’t figure it out. Perhaps, worse than the actual event is the discouragement you feel when you cannot determine why you lost this sale.  Then, you are left to worry about when and how you will lose the next one.

You may have analyzed these sales situations and re-examined your sales process over and over again. Were there other competitors that were being considered?  Did they decide to stick with an existing supplier?  Was the prospect just looking for a "free" education?  Was there an undisclosed decision-maker who vetoed you?  Did you miss an incomplete answer or partially ignore an objection?  Did the prospect just decide not to decide?

Reviewing a lost sales opportunity and your sales process is a good idea. However, by the time you realize that you won’t get the sale, it’s usually too late to learn the real reason.  At that point, most customers don’t want to reveal all of the details of their decision.

The time to find out why a sale is not going to go through is early in the sales process, when you’re meeting with the prospect.  Discover it in the moment. Then, you have the time to respond, and to choose your best course of action.

Of course, the idea of a lost sale implies that there was an opportunity there at one point and that you, the salesperson, somehow lost it.  In most of these cases there really was not much chance of making the sale in the first place.  The key is making that determination as soon as possible, before you spend more time, effort and resources.

For over forty years, we have observed hundreds of top-performing salespeople, in the field, while prospecting and on appointments.  The way that they solve this problem is to simply ask a complete set of direct, pertinent questions about the most common end-of-the-sale "deal-killers." They do that very early in the sales process.

Asking questions is not a new sales concept. The critical differences are in the type of question, the purpose of each question, how the questions are delivered and the how responses are handled. These questions are part of a pre-planned sequence, which is part of a mutual discovery and commitment process.

Discover what the customer wants and doesn’t want to see in your proposal, before you prepare it.  Discover whether there are other decision makers, influencers, or competitors.  Find out what may be happening in the background that could keep them from doing business with you.  These are all legitimate questions.

Attempting to close a sale without this information is the kind of strategy that creates anxiety and stress.  Success comes down to asking the right questions and acting on the answers in a way that improves your sales productivity.  These types of questions create a series of "opt-in or opt-out" discussion points for the prospect and the salesperson. Invest your time, energy and resources where you will get the best return on those investments.

Many salespeople are unwilling to ask the "hard questions."  However, you will gain the respect of most prospects when you do.  For the top producers we’ve observed, asking those questions is one of the primary reasons they are so successful.  You might often think you lost a sale when, in the same circumstances, a top producer will know it was not a real sales opportunity in the first place.

For more information on how to do this, click here.

 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Paul Bunn – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

Consultative Selling is Obsolete

Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Consultative Selling and all of its relatives such as SPIN Selling, Solution Selling, Strategic Selling, Customer Focused Selling, Buying Facilitation, etc. are merely variations of the "Needs Selling" systems of the 1960’s. ?Consultative Selling? has been in vogue with salespeople for over three decades – with good reason. Most salespeople still believe that finding prospects who need their products and services, and then convincing (or helping) them to buy, is a viable sales strategy. Thus, acting like a consultant might seem to be the best way to initiate the sales process. However, in today?s world that strategy is obsolete.

Information Overload, caused by massive increases of all forms of communications, has radically changed the markets for virtually every product and service. It has made prospects and customers far more knowledgeable, sophisticated, skeptical and sales-resistant than they were just ten years ago.

Hardly anyone is fooled by Consultative Selling anymore. Most prospects are worn out and disgusted by salespeople who ?just want to ask a few questions so that they can help them.? They have heard dozens of variations of pitches designed to arouse their interest and desire. Salespeople that act like Advisors or Consultants are misrepresenting their true agenda, which is to make a sale.

Everyone knows that the primary objective of salespeople is not to help prospects, clients and customers; it is to produce sales in order to earn money. Salespeople would be doing some other kind of work if they didn?t get paid for producing sales.

If you feel disturbed or upset by these assertions, but want to learn more, that is a good thing. If you resent and resist them, then you are destined to continue to work too hard, and struggle too much, trying to improve your mastery of an obsolete selling system.

Here is one of the primary clues to the obsolescence of Consultative Selling. You find yourself working with prospects who need, and have an interest in, what you are selling ? only to find that nearly all of them are the wrong prospects?at the wrong time.

It is now entirely feasible to find an abundance of prospects who already know about their needs for the benefits of your products and services. These are prospects who are ready to spend time and money to satisfy those needs. That kind of ?high probability prospect? is being continuously created by Information Overload.

Here is another clue. These ?high probability prospects? don’t want a new best friend. Whether on not they really like you is unimportant to them. Attempts at "building rapport" or ?creating a relationship? turn them off.

Most high probability prospects don?t expect to buy the best possible solution to satisfy their needs. They just want to buy a satisfactory solution that they can absolutely rely on to serve their purpose. Therefore, they want to deal with a salesperson that they trust and respect; one who also trusts and respects them. However, they don?t trust and respect people who try to appear as if they are consultants ? instead of what they really are ? salespeople. In order to be trusted and respected you must be authentic.

Thousands of top producers, in almost every industry, have learned or figured out most of the steps of a sales paradigm that eliminates the need for persuasion, convincing, manipulation, and misdirection. These top producers know how to find and meet with high probability prospects when they are ready to buy or specify their type of products and services. They can quickly develop relationships of mutual trust and respect with their prospects. They know how to prevent objections, and to close effortlessly without pressure or discomfort.


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time?Sell Well

Jacques Werth ? High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

How Top Salespeople Maintain Their Dignity and Self-Respect

Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Prospects and customers, no matter their titles or status, are people like you and me.  We all have a very strong preference for dealing with people that we respect. 

The degree in which a prospect feels respect for the salesperson is extremely important.  It is almost as important as their trust in the salesperson.  We don’t really know whether it is a deliberate behavior of top salespeople to maintain their dignity and self-respect, or whether it is a character trait.  Either way, it is very important to adopt that attitude and learn that attitude and behavior if you want to become a top producer.

Many of our highly successful graduates have reported tremendously improved relationships with their prospects and customers.  They also cite far greater enjoyment in their work and much higher levels of self-esteem.

Becoming someone who is a widely respected salesperson is relatively easy to learn how to do.

It starts with the disqualification mindset.  The stated purpose of each prospect contact is to determine whether there is a mutually acceptable basis for doing business, now.  If not, you will (temporarily) disqualify the prospect.  That enables a relationship of equals.  You, the salesperson, are no longer a supplicant.

One simple step can be that you stop saying “Thank you,” when the prospects have done nothing more than share time with you.  You understand that they not doing you a favor; they are with you in the hope or expectation of getting something that they want.  Your time is just as valuable as any prospect’s time; if for no other reason than it is your life.

Adopting an attitude of dignity and self-respect enables you to be comfortable about saying “You’re welcome” and mean it, when the prospect says “Thank you” as he/she hands you a signed contract.

Of course, it is much easier to do if you know how to acquire an abundance of high probability prospects. 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

Are You New to NLP?

 

Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

A software salesperson related the following story about one of his recent sales appointments. 

“I went into a meeting with a prospect in his office, and our conversation started with him asking, ‘Tell me again what your software does.”

As he spoke I noticed the prospect, whose elbows had been on the arms of his chair, was moving his hands down alongside the arms of his chair. So I moved my hands down alongside the arms of my chair. 

Our conversation continued, and then the prospect pulled his chair back from his desk and crossed his legs.  Then I crossed my legs in the same manner.

A few minutes later, the prospect leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head, interlocking his fingers. 

About a minute later, I put my hands behind my head, mirroring his movements. The conversation was going well as I explained the benefits of our software system.

A short time later, the prospect put his left hand back down on the arm of his chair and, with his right hand, reached around the back of his head grabbing his left ear. 

Then, I tried to emulate the prospect’s new movement and the prospect interrupted me, saying, “No, it’s the right hand holding the left ear… Are you new to NLP?” 

Savvy prospects like this one are becoming more and more prevalent.   They know a technique when they see one, even the “subtle” ones.  Selling to these prospects requires an entirely different way of thinking about sales, instead of learning another technique of persuasion.


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

 

I Just Learned a New Business Principle

 

By Paul Bunn
High Probability Selling

During lunch today, I went to my optometrist in an attempt to get my classes repaired.  It was a minor repair.  I could have done the work once I purchased the parts.  The only problem was that my optometrist’s business is set up to facilitate the purchase of new glasses. 

Customers that want repairs or parts, no matter how minor, are directed to the department that sells frames and lenses.  I waited for about 30 minutes, anxiously waiting for someone to assist me.  Nothing happened. 

I don’t necessarily blame the salespeople.  After all, why handle a minor repair job when a much more immediately lucrative set of glasses might be sold?  And they were just following the owners’ business model.  And I clearly didn’t fit their model. 

And that model has a flaw.  The awareness of what customers, in my case existing long-term customers, want…other than selling a new pair of glasses to us every year or so…was somehow overlooked.

Once I realized that, unless I was willing to wait another hour or two, my repair was not going to happen at that establishment I went to a nearby mall and had Pearle Vision do it in less than 5 minutes.  I walked in, said what I wanted, they fixed the glasses, at no charge.  Easy.  Quick.  Apparently a good fit to their business model.

While at the Pearle location, I noticed something else.  Their counter displays stated the key features of their services – instead of the latest cool frames to buy – the one I noticed most was a 60-day complete satisfaction guarantee.  From personal experience, my existing optometrist doesn’t have that either.

My next glasses purchase will likely be from Pearle.  I wonder if my (old) optometrist, a long established neighborhood-type place that I purchased from every year for 10 years or so, is aware of that.  

Events like this one get me thinking about how well we do at being aware of what our customers want, versus what we want to sell.

Do you know what your existing customers want? 

Does your business model make it easy for both of you to find out?  And deliver?

Have you tested it lately?

 

 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Paul Bunn – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

Are You Missing Your Best Niche Market?

By Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Every salesperson has a great niche market that 99 percent aren’t even aware of.  The concept of a niche market is not new.  The meaning of the term is as varied as the number of sales, marketing and business people trying to identify, define or pursue a niche.  If you find the right niche, your sales volume will skyrocket.

A typical niche may be a group of millionaires that own helicopters, or an affinity group of retired doctors and lawyers, or large-scale forested landowners.  The list is only limited by our imaginations and exposure to the worlds within the world around us.

There is one niche market, however, that exists for virtually every salesperson or businessperson out there.  And it is not defined by commonly used demographic factors.  It is a segment of nearly every market that goes virtually unnoticed, except by the best salespeople.

That niche is made up of prospects that, thanks to the information age, already want the benefits of your type of product or service.  If asked in an appropriate way, they would actually confirm that they want what you’re selling, and that they will do business with you if you can meet their requirements to do so.

These are their “psychographics”:

  1. They’ve figured out why they want the benefits of your product or service.
  2. They don’t need to be sold to.
  3. They don’t respond favorably to persuasion, however subtle.
  4. They don’t want (or need) to be educated about your offering.
  5. They are not merely interested in what you’re offering.  They are ready to make commitments to do business.
  6. One of the things that determines who they buy from is whether they trust and respect the salesperson they’re buying from.  Whether they “like you” is unimportant.

They are out there. Right now.  In your market.  In your industry.  Hoping to encounter a salesperson that they can trust and respect, and do business with in a direct, open and transparent way.  You need a prospecting system that is designed to communicate in a way that allows them to identify themselves. 

Now you have options that are not just variations on the theme of selling as most people know it.

You can sell in a way that requires attempting to make people, most of whom aren’t buyers, into customers…or…sell in a way that requires finding the people that are buyers and making the determination of whether or not it is mutually beneficial to do business.

What do you want to do?

 

 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

 

 

How Top Producers Eliminate Objections

By Jacques Werth
High Probability Selling

Many salespeople try to rationalize that objections are good because they indicate the prospect’s level of interest and pinpoint the keys to making the sale. That is analogous to saying that you should not prevent the cause of pain in your body; pain is good because you then know what ailment to cure.

Take notice of the kinds of objections that salespeople are plagued with and how some otherwise smart salespeople try to overcome them. Some objections are caused by flawed prospecting methods. Other objections are caused by flawed sales methods. Instead of learning a new sales process, or a new way of thinking about sales, most salespeople try to use clever rhetorical manipulations to overcome each objection. Those manipulations raise the prospect’s sales resistance, which then creates an adversarial relationship.

The way top producers prevent objections is to tell all of the detriments of each feature – along with the benefits – before the negatives occur to the prospect. Most prospects are just as smart as salespeople. Therefore, avoiding or obscuring the negatives is not a viable sales strategy. Even if everything that you tell them is true, that is not good enough. Withholding negatives is perceived to be half-truths by most salespeople. However, most prospects perceive half-truths to be lies. "Total Disclosure" eliminates objections and creates relationships of trust and respect with clients and prospects.

The High Probability Selling process eliminates almost all objections with the technology of Total Disclosure.


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

The Right Relationships with the Right Prospects at the Right Time

by Jacques Werth

Most salespeople practice “Consultative Selling.” Using this popular sales method, they believe that their job is to meet with prospects who have an apparent need for their products and/or services. They spend most of their selling time with prospects who don’t know what their needs are or what “pains” their needs are causing them. That is why they advocate elaborate, quasi-soft-sell techniques to get prospects to open up. They are in fact, attempting to sell these prospects at a time in their buying cycle when marketing activities are more effective.

The High Probability Selling process is based on our observations of top producing salespeople, and one of the things that we learned is that they focus their selling time with prospects that are ready to buy now. Top producers are not willing to meet with prospects when they are only interested in a product or service. Top producers only set appointments with prospects that:

  • Already want the benefits of their products and/or services.
  • Are ready to spend the time and money to acquire them.

We refer to them as “High Probability Prospects”

Finding that kind of prospect is easy, almost as easy as it is for consultative salespeople to find prospects that may need what they have to offer and are “really interested” in learning about their products and/or services.

Top producers do not give the prospect an appointment unless they agree to the following “Rules of Engagement.”

  • The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether they have a mutually beneficial basis for doing business
  • The meeting is scheduled for a specific amount of uninterrupted time, i.e., 40 minutes, 90 minutes, or whatever time is necessary for the sales process.
  • That they will make a mutual conditional commitment on the decision (yes or no) to go forward with the purchasing process at the first meeting.

Starting the sales process at that point changes the dynamics of the typical appointment, and the relationship development process. By only working with prospects who need, want and can afford to buy – and are ready and willing to buy now – the salesperson can begin the meeting with the relationship development process with complete cooperation. The entire process is one of trust and respect for both the prospect and the salesperson.

Given the difference in the starting points and the conditions under which they meet the prospect, salespeople who utilize the High Probability Selling process have an unfair advantage over those who practice consultative selling.

It’s easy to recognize consultative salespeople. They are the ones who try to convince themselves, and then their prospect, that the only reason they want an appointment is for the opportunity to help the prospect.

Do you want to meet with interested prospects, or do you want to meet with prospects who want to buy your type of products and/or services? Do you want all the frustrations of overcoming sales resistance, or do you want to sell without pain. If you are in sales, you are making one of those choices every day.

 


If you want to learn the process and mindset of top producing salespeople, you want to learn more about High Probability Selling.

Until Next Time…Sell Well

Jacques Werth – High Probability Selling

Copyright 2007.

 

Tags: How+to+sell, The+secret+to+selling, Selling+and+Persuasion

 

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