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.
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
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.
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.]
Obvious advice, but the hard part is deciding to follow it. There are so many reasons not to. Here are a few:
(Author’s note, for clarity. Why I might decide to do business with someone I don’t really trust.)
- I can’t afford to be picky – there aren’t enough choices out there.
- I don’t trust any of them, so what difference does it make.
- I trust everyone.
- I don’t trust my ability to make decisions about trusting people.
- They offer the lowest price.
- They are the most convenient to work with.
- I’ve been doing it my way for a long time, and nothing really bad has happened so far.
- I’m smart enough to outsmart them, and I know how to keep from being cheated this time.
- I enjoy taking risks.
- I don’t want anyone to think I don’t trust them.
- I am afraid of making a wrong decision about this. (from a comment by Steve Alexander)
There is value in putting your finger on exactly why you don’t want to do something. You have to accept it for what it is, before you have any hope of changing it. And even then, it can be a long process.
If you can think of more reasons you might decide to do business with someone you can’t really trust, please add them in the comments. Thank you.
Charisma is about charming people. It is a way of influencing how someone feels about you. It may be natural, or it may be a technique for getting approval.
Passion (in this context) is how we feel about something we do. Feeling passion and expressing passion are two very different things. The first is real, and the second may be an act. If we are not careful, our expression of passion may be interpreted as an attempt to influence how a prospect feels about what we are selling.
Influencing how a prospect feels is one way to sell. However, influencing a prospect is not compatible with High Probability Selling.
We teach our students to maintain an objective, neutral, and businesslike manner when selling. We put our passion and our energy into finding people who want what we are selling and into determining how likely the outcome will turn out the way we want it to.
Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Getting Personal (17 Jan 2017, $245); Chapter 12 Explained (26 Jan 2017, $45); Prospecting (21 Feb 2017, $1050)
In High Probability Selling (HPS), we look for potential deal-breakers, things that could prevent the prospective customer from completing a sale with us. We want to know as early as possible, not later.
We also ask ourselves whether we want to do business with the prospective customer or not, even when we know that the prospect is ready, willing, and able to buy. It is better to decide this before the sale is closed, not after.
The first question students often ask is, “Why on Earth would you ever turn down a sale?” Here are a few answers. I invite our readers to add more reasons in the comments.
- You might not get paid, or you might have to fight to get paid.
- This might turn out to be a very difficult customer, difficult or expensive to please, a “Customer from Hell.” Someone you are likely to lose money on.
- The customer might not get any benefit from the product or service they buy from you. You need satisfied customers in order to succeed.
- You might not get everything you need out of the transaction. Many of us need more than just money in order to continue doing what we do.
- People can tell when you feel desperate, when you feel you can’t afford to turn down any potential business. An attitude of abundance leads to more success than an attitude of scarcity does.
The next question is “How?” How can you possibly predict any of those things?
High Probability Selling focuses on how to make better predictions about whether a potential transaction will turn out well, or not. Almost every step in the process has some sort of disqualification test behind it. However, none of these tests make perfect predictions. HPS is all about assessing probabilities, not certainties.
Questions and comments are welcome. I will respond to as many as I can. – Carl Ingalls
Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Chapter 12 Explained (13 Dec 2016, $45); Getting Personal (17 Jan 2017, $245); Prospecting (Feb 2017, $1050)