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

High Probability Prospecting Questions from a Reader

I recently received an email with some questions about High Probability Prospecting.  The email appears below (in blue), with permission from the author, and my answers are included (in black and italics) after each question.


Hi Carl,

Thanks for teaching the methods of High Probability Prospecting and High Probability Selling. I was really excited when I read the blog, because I found an honest, respectful and profitable way of selling. Hence, I bought the book and 2 mp3 (Selling Financial Services and Chp 12 explained)

I have a few questions after listening though.

  1. How many times should we call a prospect before we move on? In Selling Financial Services, Jacques said that he once called a company 27 times before he got their business. Is there an optimum number of times to call, or should we just keep calling them forever? (assuming they do not ask us to stop calling them)
    My answer:  As long as they keep answering the phone and listening to your offers, call them forever, even if they always say no.  If you leave an offer by voicemail, and you do not get a call back, then treat that the same as if they said no.  If they ask you to stop calling, then stop.
  2. If the prospect do not pick up the phone, do we call them again in the same month until they pick up, or do we call them the next month?
    My answer:  If no one answers, not even voicemail, then call again as soon as you finish your list, even if it is the same day.  Try different times of day, and different days of the week.  If you continue to get no answer at all (not even voicemail), then reduce your frequency of calling that number, from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to a couple of months and eventually never.  Remember that it is more profitable to call someone who always says no, than it is to call someone who never hears your offer.
  3. How many numbers should I be calling? Assuming I prospect 3 hours a day, as recommended in the blog. Also, do I change to a fresh list of numbers to call every year, every 2 years etc?
    My answer:  We recommend that you start with a list of 500 numbers, and then add numbers as needed.  Do not remove anyone from your list just because time has gone by.  A “fresh” list is not as valuable as your list of people who continue to listen to your offers, even when they say no every time.

Anyway, I realised I asked a lot of questions which might be in your training course. Hence, if you could just answer the first question, I would be very grateful. Thank you for your help.

Best regards
{name withheld on request}


Workshops in August 2018:
Connecting on Tue 14 Aug, 3 sessions for $255
Chapter 12 Explained & Updated on Thu 16 Aug, 1 session for $95

Comments and questions are welcome.

High Probability Prospecting Questions from a Reader

Responding to a Telemarketer

I tell the telemarketer that I’m not a prospect.  I wish them good luck on their next call.  I say goodbye.  And then I hang up.

Why?

  • Saying I’m not a prospect is better than saying no, and especially when they haven’t asked whether I want what they are selling or not.
  • I used to say something negative, but that just left me with a negative feeling about the encounter.  Saying something positive (and something that is also sincere) has a better effect on me.  I can get back to being me more quickly.
  • Referring to their next call is my way of planting a seed, an idea that their time and efforts might be more profitable if they put less focus on this one interaction, and more focus on the whole endeavor.  That is one of the basic concepts in High Probability Selling.
  • I say goodbye when I am done with a conversation.  I say it in a neutral tone, the same way I would if I were the person placing the call.
  • I hang up.  It’s kinder than hanging on while they continue to talk.

There are some exceptions.  If I can’t interrupt the caller, I’m not interested at all, and just hang up.  If it is a human caller, and I have time to be interested in the person, then I might have a conversation.  If the person is interesting to me, I might ask, “How long have you been doing this?”

I’d like to hear from you, my readers.  How do you respond to a telemarketer, and how does that make you feel?


Workshops in May 2018:
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 17 May for $95

Responding to a Telemarketer

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

Finding Companies That Embrace This Philosophy

Finding Someone Who Will Refer You To Their Clients

I received the following a few days ago:

Study book continuously. I need help with last question. I am calling sports agents and I would like them to refer me to their athlete clients. I sell high risk disability income insurance. Should I say: \”Is this something your clients might want?\” Or \”Is this something you want me to tell your clients about?\”  ~ Herb Williams

Finding an agent who wants to subject his or her own clients to a call from an insurance salesperson is going to be difficult.  It will take multiple calls to the same agent before they will consider trusting you with any of their clients.  They have to see how you sell.

Multiple calls means multiple offers, and it works better when the offers are different.  The problem with your offer is that “high risk disability income insurance” covers just about everything that you have to offer to an athlete.  It’s too broad for this kind of prospecting.  When a sports agent says no to that, you don’t have anything else to offer the next time you call them.

One way to narrow yourself is to mention only one kind of disabling event and only one sport at a time.  For instance, you could say you sell disability insurance that covers motocross accidents.  The next time, it could be golf or weight lifting, or something else.

As for the final question, you could ask the agent something like this:  “Do you want any of your clients to hear about this.”  Do not include yourself in that question.

Most of the time, the answer will be no.  You say, “Ok.  (pause).  Goodbye.”  Say nothing more.  Wait a few seconds and then hang up.  (See more about saying ok goodbye in this article)

If someone says yes, always remember to ask why.

Tip.  Don’t tell them what you want them to do, and don’t ask them what they want you to do.  Ask instead, “What do you want to do.”

Additional reading:  Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer.  Please note that there is more learning to be found in the comments and replies to that article.


Workshops in Jan 2018:
High Probability Mindset Discovery on Tue 16 Jan for $255
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 18 for $95

Finding Someone Who Will Refer You To Their Clients