Persuasion is a Great Way to Sell If…

Another story from my observations of top producer selling methods…

Bill Silvers was the top producer for the largest textile manufacturer in North America. He was the second of hundreds of top salespeople that I observed working with prospects and customers. During the first sales visit that I went on with him, he was showing his company’s new seasonal textile samples to the owner of a dress manufacturing company. The owner said, “Bill, none of these samples are what we want for this spring’s line. We’re going in a different direction.”

Bill said, “Okay Manny. How about telling me about any changes you plan for your summer line?” They discussed that for the next fifteen minutes and then we left.

Walking to his car, I asked Bill why he didn’t try to persuade the customer that his samples would sell. He said, “Manny knows his business far better than I do. If I tried to persuade him, he would feel disrespected, resist my persuasion and he would resent me for trying. This way, I kept his respect and enhanced the probability of doing business with him in another few months.”

Persuasion is a great way to sell if you can find people who want to be persuaded to buy. But, think about how you would react when someone tried to persuade you to buy something you did not want. You would probably resist and resent them, too. That is why prospects who want to be persuaded are so rare that finding them is a real long shot.

If you really think you are a good persuader then you probably make appointments with people who are interested in your products and services. Interested people may seem to be in need of persuasion, though they seldom want to be persuaded and most of them resist. Salespeople who prospect and sell that way make loads of appointments. However, most of them don’t do much business.

Salespeople who think they are not great persuaders often sell a lot more. They gain a big advantage by focusing on finding and making appointments only with people who already want to buy what they are selling.

Good Selling,

If you want to read more about the advantages of not persuading, the first 4 chapters of our book is available online.

If you want to experience what it feels like to talk with a High Probability salesperson, give us a call at 800-394-7762 (disconnected in 2015 – see updated contact page).

The “Real World” Numbers Game

By Jacques Werth, President
High Probability® Selling

“Sales is a numbers game” is something most salespeople are taught from Day One on the job. The general concept is true.  Almost no one, however, asks what those “numbers” really are based upon.

In the insurance industry, most new agents are taught the “Standard Sales Formula – 100/10/3”. That is, contact 100 people, get 10 appointments, and sell 3 policies.  The salespeople who still believe in this will coincidentally report having a 30 percent closing ratio.  Sounds good so far?

In reality, less than 1 percent of the million plus insurance agents in the USA can consistently produce those results. It turns out that this “Standard Sales Formula’ is nothing more than a commonly held assumption.  Other industries have their own “Standard” bogus formulas.

Bogus numbers lead to bogus sales goals and unreal expectations.  These unreal expectations inevitably result in disappointment and discouragement.  On the other hand, ‘real-world’ numbers, based on ‘real-world’ sales activity in the field, can guide you through the sales process and lead to increasingly encouraging results.  The best salespeople *really* know their numbers.

Most salespeople, however, diligently and accurately track their numbers, hoping that the standard formula will hold true for them.  When they find that reality falls short of their industry’s commonly held assumptions, most of them stop measuring what is really happening.

Because they are no longer measuring, they don’t change very much of what they’re doing, with the exception of working on a few sales techniques, based on their current view of what’s not working. They expect their results to change dramatically, and immediately.  That’s not how the world works!

One of the three primary fundamentals of the High Probability Selling process is to meticulously track all sales activity, at every step of the sales process, from initial contact through to the signing of the contract.  By monitoring and measuring the results of each discrete step of the selling process, you can constantly refine your selling skills. The result is steady, gradual improvement, until you are producing optimal results and have become a Top Producer.

If you don’t monitor and measure your sales activity, you are typical of 98% of the thousands of salespeople we’ve observed over the years. Most of those salespeople struggle with their jobs every day. Without knowing exactly what you are doing, and how much you are doing it, the probability of improving your sales performance is extremely low.

Yes, sales is a numbers game, but only ‘real-world’ numbers apply. Keep statistics on EVERYTHING that you do- it’s easy, once you get into the habit. Now is the best time to start keeping sales performance records.

Your statistics will enable you to understand, tweak, and improve your selling skills. The result?

Some initial discomfort…and a dramatic improvement in your sales success.

Note added later:  here is an example of a prospecting-activity-record-2009-06-22


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

Copyright 2007.


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

%d bloggers like this: