Applying High Probability Selling to the Job Search and Interviewing Process – An Email Conversation

The emails below have been shortened, by deleting some text.

From: Mike
Sent: Monday 15 October 2018 16:57
Subject: Applying High Probability Selling to the job search and interviewing process

Hello Carl,

I just finished reading High Probability Selling.

I am hoping to learn more about how High Probability Selling can be applied to the job search and interviewing process.  While reading the book I was continually struck on the applicability in this area – have you and/or your colleagues considered this?  If so, is there any specific information you may have or could offer in this area?


From: HPS Admin
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:59 PM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: Applying High Probability Selling to the job search and interviewing process

Hello Mike,

Here is an article on the High Probability Selling blog that might answer some of your questions.

Carl Ingalls
High Probability Consulting
Providing training and materials in High Probability Selling
Tel:  +1 610.627.9030  USA Eastern Time
Text:  +1 484.464.2557

From:  Mike
Sent: Wednesday 17 October 2018 11:55
To: HPS Admin
Subject: RE: Applying High Probability Selling to the job search and interviewing process

Hi Carl,

When I read ‘Josh’s Story,’ it seemed to me to be more focused on the Prospecting part of the process.  Also in demonstrating competency as related to a sales-oriented position.

While I agree that High Probability Prospecting is valuable (particularly in identifying job opportunities that are unadvertised), my greater interest relates to those opportunities for which a job advertisement/posting already exists.

I would like to discover more about how High Probability Selling can be applied to the overall hiring process, and in particular, selling yourself to a hiring manager (and others involved in the hiring decision).  Are there further more in-depth resources available in this area (i.e. the Selling and Closing part of the process)?


From:  HPS Admin []
Sent: Thursday 18 October 2018 12:25
To: ‘Mike’
Cc: ‘Paul Bunn’
Subject: RE: Applying High Probability Selling to the job search and interviewing process

Hello Mike,

Yes, there are more in-depth resources that cover the Selling and Closing parts of HPS when applying for a job that is posted.

A good place to start is to study the HPS Book and read more of articles on the HPS Blog.  After that, we offer training in the form of group workshops and/or private coaching.

When applying for a job that is posted, the odds are pretty high that they want to hire someone for the job, but not 100% certain.  Therefore, it is worth confirming this with a direct question about want, which should be asked on the phone before meeting with them.

Ask, “Do you want to hire someone for this job?”  If they answer Yes, which is very likely, ask them why.  Then continue with the steps of the HPS process as shown in the book.  Make sure you ask the conditional commitment question (it’s in the book) immediately after you have set the appointment.  Remember their answer.

If they say no or maybe to the question about want, it is probably not worth proceeding with them.

Carl Ingalls
High Probability Consulting
Providing training and materials in High Probability Selling
Tel:  +1 610.627.9030  USA Eastern Time
Text:  +1 484.464.2557

A course on how to use High Probability Selling to find a job may be a valuable addition to the training that we offer.  Most of the details can be found in the HPS Book, but they are not presented in that context.  I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Do you want to start a conversation about this here on this blog?

Comments and questions are welcome.

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

Advice for the Aspiring Financial Services Agent

by Jacques Werth

I suggest that you join a medium-sized independent brokerage that has several agents who earn $200,000 or more in commissions.  Get a commitment that you will be able to observe their top earners one day a week, while they are prospecting and selling to their own clients.  Take notes on everything they say and do.  Then, do what they do.

Do not offer to reciprocate in any way.  That kind of mentoring is priceless, and most highly successful people enjoy doing it.  If you need help closing some of your prospects, it’s okay to split the commission when they do.

Your market should focus on executives and managers of large organizations that are most likely to have substantial disposable incomes and/or a high net worth.

There are thousands of expert agents and representatives for every financial product and service who cannot sell.  They will do all of the work for a small part of your commissions.  Your expertise should be focused on prospecting and selling.  However, in the beginning just offer life and disability insurance and mutual funds.

Most important – “interested” prospects seldom buy.  Spend your time with prospects that WANT what you offer them.


How to Hire a Sales and Marketing VP

by Jacques Werth

Many years ago I was being interviewed by the Executive Vice President of a publicly traded company.  I asked a lot of questions about his personal and business background.  Then, he said:  “What’s going on?  I’m supposed to be interviewing you.”

I asked:  “Why are you hiring a new Sales and Marketing VP?”

He said:  “We’re starting a new division and our guy, the current sales VP, is going to head up that new division.”

I said:  “What qualifies him to run the new division?”

He said:  “He’s a top notch manufacturing engineer and manager.”

Me:  “How come you had him running sales and marketing?”

Him:  “We fired the previous sales VP because he couldn’t get much of a sales volume increase out of the sales force.  He had been one of our better salespeople, but he couldn’t seem to get the hang of managing.  His salespeople didn’t make enough sales calls and we lost too many opportunities to the competition.  So we stuck the present guy in the job of pushing the sales force.”

Me:  “What about the guy before the previous sales VP?”

Him:  “It was pretty much the same story.  He didn’t know how to lead the sales force.”

Me:  “You said the company has been in business for 18 years.  How many sales managers have they had?”

Him:  “About a dozen.”

Me:  “You said that you’ve been with the company for a little over five years.  What was your first job title?”

Him:  “I was on the assembly line.”

Me:  “And now you’re the Executive Vice President of a company that has almost 2,000 employees.  How many direct reports do you have?”

Him:  “Six vice presidents and a few senior managers.  Before we go on, do you want the job you came here to discuss?”

Me:  “I don’t know yet.  First I need to know who I would be reporting to.”

Him:  “Just me.”

Me:  “If I take the job, are you going to tell me how to run the sales force, or will you support me in making major changes in the way the company does business? That will include a shakeup of the sales force, the marketing department, pricing, and whatever else needs fixing.”

Him:  “I’ll have to think about that.  What kind of changes do you expect to make?”

Me:  “I’ll take that non-answer to mean ‘No’.”

Him:  “Not necessarily, what kind of changes do you anticipate?”

Me:  “Since the company has had so many sales managers, and they were all less than satisfactory, it’s clear that top management has their own requirements about how sales should be managed.  I certainly would not conform to the way top management has wanted the sales VP to do his job in the past.  I don’t push salespeople, I get their cooperation or they get replaced.  Are you willing to take risks like that, which come with real change?”

Him:  “How soon can you start?”

Me:  “You didn’t answer the question.  Will I have your total support in changing the way the company does business?”

Him:  “Yes.”

Me:  “What about the President and the Board of Directors?”

Him:  “I’m on the board, and I’m a maverick too.  And, I have the board’s complete support.  I suppose you want a contract, right?”

I said:  “Yes.  My lawyer will draft it.”

He said:  “Son, we’re going to have a lot of fun.”


Finding the Job You Want – Josh’s Story

Josh used High Probability Prospecting to find the job he wanted.  He decided to sell life insurance, because he wanted “a job selling my way, which is High Probability Selling.”

by Jacques Werth

One morning last week, I took a call from Josh.  He told me that he bought our book “High Probability Selling” and read it 8 times.  However, he hasn’t been able to sell anything.

“What have you been selling?” I asked.

“A network marketing business opportunity,” said Josh.  “I must be doing something wrong, because I know High Probability Selling has to work.”

“High Probability Selling doesn’t work for network marketing.  How did you get into that?” I asked.

“I was invited to a seminar and the presenter explained how you can make a ton of money in network marketing, I mean two or three hundred thousand a year.  A lot of people are making more than one hundred thousand in their first year.”

“Do you really believe that?” I asked.

“Yes, is there something wrong with it?”

“Well how are you doing?” I asked.

“I tried to sell the opportunity but nobody is interested,” he said.

“That’s probably because you’re not very good at lying,” I said.  “You must realize by now that the presenter was lying to you and to everyone else in the seminar.”

“I kind of suspected it, but they must be very good liars,” he said.  “So, what kind of business can I get into where I can make a lot of money without lying?”

“Do you have experience selling anything?”

“No, but I think I can learn to sell,” he said.

I asked, “Why do you think that?”

“Because I read your book and I just know I could sell that way.”

“What kind of work have you done in the past?”

“Mostly light construction, like home improvements.  But there are no jobs now because all of the skilled construction workers are fighting over the home improvement jobs.  And, there are not enough of those jobs around.”

“Some people make good money selling life insurance.  However, only about ten percent who go into that field survive.” I said.

“Do you think I could make it selling life insurance?” said Josh.

“I have no idea.  If you have the money, you could have a behavioral profile done that is a very good predictor of how well you will do in almost any profession.  But, the good profiles are expensive,” I said.  “Can you live on very little commissions while you are learning the business?”

“Yes, I could do that for at least six months, no problem,” he said.  “How do I get that kind of job?”

“By doing High Probability Prospecting, just like you read in our book.  But, now the product you are selling is you.  Can you do that?”

“I guess I’ll find out”, he said.

“Most insurance agencies will not give you a salary.  You only get commissions on what you sell,” I said.  “Also, make sure that they will let you sell the way you want to sell.”

“Thanks very much,” he said.

I said, “You are welcome,” and we both hung up.

Josh called again a day or two later.

“Well, I got a few job offers.  I just need to pass the licensing test,” said Josh.  “They told me that it is okay for me to use any sales method I want, as long as it is legal, ethical and does not get them in trouble with the compliance rules of the insurance companies they represent.”

“How did you get the job offers?” I asked.

“Right after I spoke to you, I wrote out a prospecting offer, and called all of the insurance agencies listed on the Internet that are within twenty miles of where I live.  On most of those calls I could not even get to talk to anyone in charge.  But, I did talk to about ten or fifteen agency managers and three of them asked me to come in for an interview.”

“So you had appointments for 3 job interviews after your first day of prospecting,” I said.  “What happened on the interviews?”

“When we met, the agency managers all asked me how I was going to find prospects.  I told them that I was going to use the phone to find prospects the same way I found them.  They thought that was great, and they all offered me a job.”

“Have you accepted any of the job offers?” I asked.

“No, not yet.  I want to finish prospecting my list first, and then decide which job I want.”

I thanked him and asked his permission to write his story on our blog.  I also asked him to keep in contact and to let me know how well he does selling life insurance.

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