What do High Probability Selling and improvisational acting have in common?

Some of the guidelines for improvisational acting have much in common and harmonize well with the mindset of High Probability Selling (HPS) and also with the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI) process.

I invite you to watch this TED video about improv:  Be An Improvisor.  Change the World.

Here’s a summary of the rules of improvisation found in the video, and how each relates to High Probability Selling:

1. MAKE A CONNECTION — We focus on who the other person is, what kind of decisions they make, how things usually turn out for them, and how they react.  The conversation is about the other person.  It’s not about us.

2. LISTEN — We listen in a special way because we want to learn and find out things.  The less we talk, the better we listen.  We listen to the other person without influencing them, so we get the deeper truth, and not just what we hope to hear.  We listen to what they say, we remember it, and we ask about that.

3. SAY “YES, And…” — It’s about accepting what another person just said or did, and then adding to it.  In HPS, we do this without agreeing or disagreeing.  We usually convey this by what we do, without saying those words out loud.  We add to the conversation by asking the other person to tell us more about what they said.

When we do use words to convey our acceptance without judgment, we might say something like, “Yes, I see” or “I hear you” or “OK”.  We keep our tone of voice neutral and calm.

As a magician who performs magic shows and magic entertainment, I avoid contradicting or arguing with an audience volunteer who I have invited onstage.

Instead, just like a jazz musician, I feed off the spectator’s and audience’s energy and steer it in a positive direction to enhance their magic experience.

4. BE IN THE MOMENT — 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, rather than after having invested valuable time with someone who clearly disqualified themselves up front.  Discover it in the moment.  Then, you have the time to respond, and to choose your best course of action, whether to continue or walk away.

5. STAY FLEXIBLE — This is especially important with Inbound Prospecting.  Adapt to what the other person says and does.  In the TRI process, we give control of the topic to the other person, and we follow their lead.

6. AVOID PRECONCEIVED IDEAS — Never make any assumptions or presumptions or guesses about the other person’s background or story.  No leading questions, no questions that suggest an answer.  Ask open questions rather than closed ones, whenever possible.

7. RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHOICES — When a prospect says “no” to our prospecting offer, we respect that by saying, “Ok.  Bye now.”  And then we go away.  Accept without judging.  No comments.  No reactions.  Keep calm and neutral.  Don’t act surprised.

8. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE — It’s ok if you don’t feel like disqualifying a prospect just because of how they answered your disqualification questions.  Ask the questions anyway, and do what you feel like doing, without deciding in advance what the answers must be.  Gain the experience, and your inner voice will update itself.

9. FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION — Use it or lose it.  Practice will improve the accuracy of your intuition.  We rarely have enough data to make a purely logical decision.

Learning to listen, connect, and play like an improviser can make all the difference, whether selling a product, an idea, or ourselves.

 

What do High Probability Selling and improvisational acting have in common?

Intro to Prospecting, a New Mini-Course in HPS

The next HPS Mini-Course will be a short webinar session, an Intro to Prospecting with High Probability Selling, on Fri 7 February 2020 at 1pm USA Eastern Time.  39 minutes for $39

This mini-course covers the basic principles and guidelines of the High Probability Prospecting method.  How it differs from other selling methods and why.

Individual prospecting offers will not be reviewed in this mini-course.  There are other options available for that.

The webinar will be led by Carl Ingalls in real-time (live).  Content is mostly audio (speaking), with some video (text, graphics).  The session will be recorded (audio and video, plus transcript), and the recording will be made available to everyone who signs up (and pays for) the mini-course.  The recording of this session may also be offered for sale later.

The webinar platform is GoToMeeting.  If you have not already downloaded and installed the GoToMeeting app on your computer or mobile phone, I strongly recommend that you do so at least 30 minutes before the webinar begins.  And even if you have the app and are already familiar with GoToMeeting, please note that they have changed their user interface quite significantly recently, so I recommend joining the meeting 5 or 10 minutes early.

The price is $39 USD per person.  However, I have 10 introductory discount coupons to give away, each $5 off.  If you want one, please contact me (Carl Ingalls) by phone at +1 610-627-9030 or by email at info@HighProbSell.com (before you click on the purchase link below).

If you want to purchase this HPS Mini-Course on the Intro to Prospecting with High Probability Selling now, you may use this link:  https://high-probability-selling.myshopify.com/cart/31226966409276:1?channel=buy_button

Future HPS Mini-Courses will appear on the HPS Training Calendar at least a week before they are scheduled.


More info can be found at www.HighProbSell.com/workshops/index.html#minicourses

Intro to Prospecting, a New Mini-Course in HPS

Frequent Repetition of the Same Sales and Marketing Messages

Salespeople and marketers use a lot of repetition when their intention is to persuade.  They push the same message over and over again, and very frequently.  It makes sense for them.

This does not fit with High Probability Selling.  When prospecting by phone, we use different offers, and we space them apart by 3 to 6 weeks.  This is one way that we demonstrate that we listen, and that we accept no for an answer.  Repeated and frequent messages would not demonstrate that.

So, what about prospecting by email?

The way a prospect says “no” to an offer can vary, depending on how the offer is delivered.  With a live, real-time conversation, we usually get an immediate answer.  With a delayed message (like email or voicemail), a prospect usually says no just by ignoring it and deleting it.  The salesperson often gets no feedback at all, and doesn’t know whether the prospect even saw the message.

When I apply the HPS mindset to leaving a prospecting offer as a message, I treat a No Response the same as an intentional No.  I wait a minimum of 3 weeks (usually longer) before reaching out to the same person again, and I make sure that future offers to that person are memorably different from past ones.  And, while continuing to follow HPS guidelines, I never mention the fact that I had sent any previous messages.


Comments and questions are very welcome.

Frequent Repetition of the Same Sales and Marketing Messages

New Product for Sale – Turning Cold Calling into Warm Calling – teleseminar recording

This is a recording of an interactive teleseminar presented by Jacques Werth sometime between 2006 and 2009.  He explains the basics of using High Probability Prospecting by telephone.

The price is $43 USD.  Delivered as an MP3 digital download.  32.4 MB, 71 minutes.

You can listen to a sample here.

You can purchase this recording here (and then click on the button for Turning Cold Calling into Warm Calling).

This is Jacques Werth at his best.  He presents some very good arguments about why salespeople should follow High Probability Selling when prospecting.  A good stab at answering his own question, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

However, this is High Probability Prospecting as it was taught 10 years ago.  The basic principles remain the same, but some important details in the steps of the process have changed since then.


Comments and questions are welcome.

New Product for Sale – Turning Cold Calling into Warm Calling – teleseminar recording

Dealing with customer who realized that I called again – a question from a student

I recently received the following email from a student of High Probability Selling, who had some questions about prospecting.  I have edited the email slightly.  I replaced the sender’s real name with Tom Prospector, and the real company name with XYZ Company.  I am publishing the edited version here (with permission).  My response appears below the email.


I am an insurance agent from Singapore. I bought the HPS book from amazon and also downloaded the recording on “selling in financial services”. 

Some customer recognised that I called again after 3 weeks. Some reacted neutrally while recognising that I called. Occassionally some confronted me over the phone asking me why I called again while they clearly said no before. I then asked them if they want me to remove them from my list. They said yes and I removed. 

I understand that we want the familiarity but not the sense of creating a nuisance for them. I am a new guy in sales and I was a bit paranoid of getting a complaint, even though I checked through DNC religiously before calling. 

So my question is for HPS, is this part of the game, or am I doing it wrong-not tweaking the script enough?

First script: Hi I am Tom Prospector from XYZ Company. I am selling life insurance that can give you a million dollar coverage, for 20 years, for less than 200 dollar a month. Is that something you want?

Second script: Hi I am Tom Prospector from XYZ Company. I am selling affordable life insurance that can give you half a million coverage in death and total permanent disability. Is that something you want? 

My concern is am I commiting the mistake of having insufficient difference in the two messages. If I am not doing anything wrong, I should just focus on Complying with laws and regulations only and continue with what I am doing, understanding that such confrontation is part of the game?


Yes.  As you had guessed, your prospecting offers are far too similar to each other.  People are very likely to think they are the same, and especially if you call back as soon as 3 weeks.  The first thing to do is to make your prospecting offers sound very different.

A small amount of confrontation is unavoidable.  However, you can reduce it significantly by following our guidelines more closely than you have so far.  Study the HPS Blog post, “Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer“.  Also, be sure to read the comments.

Here are some examples of what you can do differently:

  • We no longer say “Hi” or “Hello”.  We get better results by getting straight to business without trying to seem friendly.
  • If you are prospecting in English, say “This is [name]” instead of “I am [name]”.  If you are prospecting in Chinese, find the closest equivalent.  The intention is to sound the same, whether you are calling a stranger or a colleague that you have been working with (without relying on caller ID).
  • Use factual words.  Avoid words like “affordable”, anything that is a matter of judgment or opinion.
  • It is better to talk about what you offer in terms of what the customer receives than to talk about something that you do.  We call this The Get.  “I sell life insurance” is slightly better than “I am selling life insurance”, because the focus is a little more on the noun, and a little less on the verb.
  • Avoid using the words “you” or “your” as part of the prospecting offer.  The first time we say “you” is when we ask “Is that something you want.”
  • One way to make your prospecting offers different from each other is to be less complete in each offer.  Leave things out.  Focus on only one feature at a time.  For instance, one offer can focus on the death benefit, while ignoring the disability.  Another offer can focus on the disability aspect, while ignoring the death benefit.
  • Another way to reduce confrontation is to keep your manner neutral and businesslike.  No enthusiasm or high energy.
  • In English, it is normal to speak with a rising intonation at the end of a question.  Some people do that even when making a statement (and we call that uptalk).  In contrast, we are careful to end every statement, as well as every question, with a downward intonation.  We get better results that way.
  • The cost of life insurance depends on a number of factors, including age and health.  Is “less than 200 dollar a month” an accurate statement for every person on your prospecting list?  Find a way to be truthful.

Here’s another tip.  Instead of asking someone if they want you to remove them from your list, ask them if they want to be removed from the list.  It makes a difference.  We don’t ask people what they want us to do.  We focus on the get.

Thank you very much for your question, and for the opportunity to share with a wider audience.


Comments and questions are welcome.

 

Dealing with customer who realized that I called again – a question from a student

Be Brief and Be Gone

“Be brief and be gone” is a guiding principle when calling prospects.  We say who we are and what we are offering, as concisely as possible.  We know that we are an interruption to their day, so we get out as quickly as we can, unless they tell us they want what we are selling.

And then we call again in a month or so, and do the same with a different offer, and so on.

People buy in their own time, and for their own reasons.  The purpose of each prospecting call we make is to find out if the time is now for that prospect, or not.

Credits.
“Be brief and be gone” — from Paul Bunn
“People buy in their own time and for their own reasons” — from Jacques Werth

 

Be Brief and Be Gone

No Means Not Now

The following conversation is taken from a recent coaching session on High Probability Prospecting, with some minor editing.  The student had been prospecting for a few weeks, and was still on his first round (calling prospects for the first time).  He was frustrated that many people were saying “No” to his offer prematurely.

C:     You are concerned that they are saying no before they know what you have to offer.  This is not important in High Probability Selling.  It only matters when you’re trying to entice someone into buying.

It is important for you to be clear in what you’re saying.  It’s not important for you to finish the offer.  Let them decide when they want to exit.

S:      I’m ok with them saying no, after they’ve heard my offer.  My feelings are not hurt by it.

C:     But it’s not ok for you when they say no before you’re finished telling them what it is.

S:      Yeah, because I don’t think they know what they’re saying no to.

C:     Remember that, as far as we’re concerned, when they say “No” it means not now.

S:      Well, that’s a convenient interpretation isn’t it?

C:     Why convenient?

S:      Well, isn’t that a nice way to kind of convince yourself that, ok that’s just not now.  But you feel, in actuality, that they don’t want to have anything to do with you.  Especially since so many don’t even hear the entire offer.

C:     The main reason we interpret it this way is to remind ourselves that we’re going to call them again later.  Because if you think of “No” as being no, no, no, never, you’re not going to call them again.  And if you do that, you’ve lost one of the most powerful things in High Prob.

When we say not now – you’re not in that place yet, you’re still on the first round.  So it’s not real yet for you.

S:      Not real in that there is a noticeable difference when you call people the second and the third and the fourth time?

C:     Huge difference.  You’re going to get more sales from the people you’ve called a second, third, fourth time, than you are from the people you’ve called once.

S:      I’ve read that more sales are made on the seventh to twelfth call.  That’s where the money is really made.  So don’t stop calling.  So, this basically is playing on that.

C:     Yes, it is based on that.  The Not Now is real.  A lot of the times it just means that they don’t want to hear anything from you right now.  It might change another time, or it might never change.  They’ll usually tell you.  They might tell you to stop calling.

But, most people – as soon as they realize after the second or third call that you’re not going to waste their time with a long spiel – they are far more likely to allow you to continue calling them.  And then, when it does become Now for them, because their circumstances have changed, or whatever, a good outcome is more likely.

Here are some extra thoughts on the topic:

No means Not Now when:

  • You get to the point quickly
  • You accept “No” for an answer without any question or discussion or hesitation
  • You go away quickly (be brief and be gone)
  • You stay in the present moment
  • Your purpose is to find the next “ace in the deck” (someone who wants what you are selling)
  • You call them again and again and again, 3 to 6 weeks apart, with different offers

No means Never when:

  • You never call that person again
  • You are emotionally attached to the outcome (desperate for a sale, and especially this one)
  • You are using a sales method that works by getting the prospect to buy
  • You try to turn a No into a Yes
  • You won’t let go
  • You drag it out
  • They tell you to never call them again

Comments and questions are welcome.

 

No Means Not Now