Conversation with a Long-Time Student of High Probability Selling

Jon Williams reached out to me (Carl Ingalls) on Facebook Messenger recently, with some questions about the application of High Probability Selling.

I am posting our conversation here with some minor editing, and with permission.


Jon: I wanted to ask you, have you ever been asked about how to sell things that aren’t as straight forward as a product per se. Like artwork, finery items like collectors stuff?

I heard this marketers take on it and she said you’ve got to look at what people want and “need” (manufacturing the need because they want it) and focus on that rather than the literal item.

I was thinking more about this and thought that’s definitely a decent start and to think about what the collectors want, the history of the piece or collection (as a feature), etc.


Carl: I have had several people inquire about selling something that is not very tangible. HPS is one example of that. I have also been asked about selling art. Collector’s items are fairly straightforward, at least on the selling side.


Jon: Gotcha. Ya I’ve always wondered about strictly non-tangibles.


Carl: If you see your job as one of influencing someone to buy, then HPS methods do not apply at all. The marketer person you mentioned recommends methods that are consistent with that. You really have to pick one or the other. If you flip back and forth [between influencing and not influencing], people won’t trust you.


Jon: Influencing or making offers based on what they want?

That’s what I took away from it as far as what they were saying. She walked us through her thinking and then applied that back to her style which I agree can certainly come off more “getting this or that” vs discovery.


Carl: If the people you reach out to do not have a clear picture of what you are offering, you need to have a good marketing system in place that educates them. Don’t try to do it during one-on-one selling. Extremely inefficient and unrewarding.


Jon: From what I’ve learned in marketing, it applies to everything, which is, truly know your audience and get real feedback from their perspective, the good the bad and the ugly.

If we have this and don’t add to it, then it becomes easier to “make offers”. 🙂


Carl: Making an offer based on what the other person wants is perfectly consistent with HPS, and is not an attempt to influence their decision.


Jon: Ya that’s what I focus on too 🙂

We’ve all had about enough of the internet hype and all this pressure to sell based on their need.

What about empathy?

Do we actually care about the human on the other side? Or are they just another dollar with a pulse?

That’s been made clear via high prob and very verrry few sales training does this well or at all. (Marketing training seems even worse because it’s so removed from the one-on-one)


Carl: In classical HPS outbound prospecting (one-on-one), we normally do not know what the individual wants. We may know something about the probabilities, based on the demographics used when purchasing a list. And the most efficient way of finding out if they want what we are offering is simply to ask them directly. The more specific [the offer], the better.

With the newer HPS Inbound prospecting (where a prospect reaches out to the salesperson), we listen to find out what they want, and we decide if we want to offer something based on that.


Jon: I do hear the better ones saying this method where they do interviews with their existing customers or clients, not to sell them anything new but to gain understanding from their perspective.

I do love this method of listening to them and going from there.

I think you shared this once, that when we start listening we may find they have a completely different want than what we thought at the beginning.


Carl: Some people call that marketing research [doing interviews with existing customers].

Most of the time, I’m a one-man operation. This means that I fill all of the roles. Market research, marketing, prospecting, selling, fulfillment, office manager, etc.


Jon: How have you found that to work for you?

I’m the same way. I only want about 2-3 really solid clients when I get there.


Carl: I like the variety of roles, a lot. However, going solo is a very lonely job, and I do have trouble with that.


Jon: Ya, I’ve heard that too, about the lonely part. For now I don’t mind but it may change later, lol


Carl: I’m looking forward to doing a 3-session workshop on the TRI, starting this Tuesday 11 Jan. That’s real connection with real people, and teaching them how to do it too. Of course, you already know about that.

By the way, I’d like to put our conversation on the HPS Blog. May I have your permission to do that? I’ll probably use just our first names. Any thoughts?

Probably some minor editing. I’ll send you a copy to review first.

This is an example of one-to-many marketing that educates.


Jon: Ya that’s perfectly acceptable with me. Thanks for asking ☺️


Carl: You are very welcome. And I really appreciate the thoughtful conversation.


Jon: Yes it’s helped me understand the differences too and to get clear myself.


Questions and comments on this blog are very welcome.

Relationship Building through Prospecting

We let relationships build themselves naturally from how we work and who we are being, nothing else.  We make no attempt to create a relationship.

We demonstrate who we are every time we reach out to someone using the methods of High Probability Prospecting.

  • We get to the point quickly and directly.
  • We accept No for an answer, without question, and we go away immediately.
  • We do not try to influence or change anyone’s mind.
  • We are selective about who we will do business with, and under what circumstances.
  • We reach out to the same individual about once a month, with different offers.

These behaviors shape the relationship that forms, over time.

Sales Training: 17-21 May 2021

Wed 19 May:  Essence of High Probability Selling – a Refresher Course on Zoom

A two-hour summary of all of High Probability Selling, including updates.  Also suitable for beginners who have read the book, High Probability Selling.

From noon to 2pm, USA Eastern Time, on Wednesday 19 May 2021.

$95 USD per person.

To purchase, go to
https://high-probability-selling.myshopify.com/cart/29453902151740:1?channel=buy_button


Thu 20 May:  Rapport (TRI) Basics, a Mini-Course on Zoom

Introduction to the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI), which is what we do instead of trying to create rapport or build a relationship.  Why we do it, and the basics of how and when.

From 11:00am to 11:39am, USA Eastern Time, on Thursday 20 May 2021.

This is a short mini-course, 39 min for $39 USD.

To purchase, go to
https://high-probability-selling.myshopify.com/cart/39310700675132:1?channel=buy_button


Fri 21 May:  Prospecting Workshop, a Continuing Series of Sessions on Zoom

A mix of structured instruction plus individual coaching.  We rotate through all of the elements of High Probability Prospecting, in detail.  Continuous, ongoing — start, skip, pause, or stop anytime.

Recommended for people who want guidance in creating and delivering their own High Probability Prospecting Offers.

This week’s session will be 12 noon to about 2:30pm, USA Eastern Time, on Friday 21 May 2021.

$97 USD per session, with discounts when purchasing more than one session at a time.

I recommend that you check with me (Carl Ingalls) before signing up or purchasing any of these prospecting workshop sessions, just to make sure that this really is what you want.

If you decide that you want to purchase and attend one session, go to
https://high-probability-selling.myshopify.com/cart/39315062358076:1?channel=buy_button


Upcoming Sales Training Options in High Probability Selling

Prospecting Workshop Series:  Virtual Class Instruction Plus Individual Coaching

Sessions = Continuous, ongoing — start, skip, pause, or stop anytime
Price = $97 USD per session, with discounts when purchasing multiples sessions
Next session = Thu 29 April 2021, from 1:00pm to about 3:30pm (USA Eastern Time)
Frequency = Once every week or two (see HPS Training Calendar for updates)
Duration = 2-3 hours each session
Platform = Interactive video meeting via Zoom
Details = Prospecting Webpage
Contact = Carl Ingalls, phone +1 610-627-9030, text +1 484-464-2557, email, webform

Recommended for people who are ready to go beyond the basics of High Probability Selling (HPS), and who want guidance in creating and delivering their own High Probability Prospecting Offers.


Mini-Course:  Trust and Respect Inquiry Basics

Sessions = 1 (short, 39 minutes long)
Price = $39 USD
Date = Monday 3 May 2021
Time = 11:00am to 11:39am (USA Eastern Time)
Platform = Interactive video meeting via Zoom
Contact = Carl Ingalls, phone +1 610-627-9030, text +1 484-464-2557, email, webform

Recommended for people who want to understand the basics of the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI). How it works and when we use this tool. Communication guidelines.

Recorded. The mini-course session will be recorded. The recording will be made available to all participants, and may be made available for sale later.

This mini-course is an introduction to the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI). For a course that goes much more deeply into the TRI, with virtual class instruction plus coaching, please see Rapport and Connecting Workshop.


Mini-Course:  Prospecting Basics

Sessions = 1 (short, 39 minutes long)
Price = $39 USD
Date = Tuesday 11 May 2021
Time = 1:00pm to 1:39pm (USA Eastern Time)
Platform = Interactive video meeting via Zoom
Contact = Carl Ingalls, phone +1 610-627-9030, text +1 484-464-2557, email, webform

Recommended for people who want to understand the basics of High Probability Prospecting. Guidelines for creating and delivering offers.

Recorded. The mini-course session will be recorded. The recording will be made available to all participants, and may be made available for sale later.

This mini-course is an introduction to High Probability Prospecting. For a course that goes much more deeply into the the entire process, with virtual class instruction plus coaching, please see our Prospecting Workshop Series.

We Take No for an Answer – No Matter How They Say It

In High Probability Selling, we always accept “no” for an answer, and we move on.

Prospects say “no” in different ways, depending on circumstances.

For instance, suppose we are on a live phone conversation with a prospect, we present our offer, and ask “Is that something you want.”  They might answer our question with a simple “no.”  In that case, we say, “Ok.  Bye-now.”  Then we pause a few seconds in silence, and hang up.

Or, they might say something like, “I’m busy.”  As far as we are concerned that is exactly the same as a “no.”  We do not ask when is a better time for us to call again.  We say, “Ok.  Bye-now” and we hang up.

And if they say anything that sounds remotely like an objection, that’s the same as a literal “no.”

When we leave a message (by voicemail, text, or email), a lot of people say no by deleting the message without responding to it in any way.  If we do not receive any response from the prospect, we also treat that as a no.  We might say ok and bye-now in our own heads.  But everything after that is the same.  We record what offer was given, and we call them back in 3 to 6 weeks with a different offer, just as if they had said no to our offer in person.

There is an exception to the above.  When we leave a message with a gatekeeper, and we are following the HPS special protocol for Working With The Gatekeeper, we may call that same gatekeeper in a few days to ask about the response.

If a prospect does not say “Yes” to our question, “Is that something you want,” we have found that it is better to exit quickly and come back to the same individual 3-6 weeks later with a different offer, than it is to spend any more time at all talking with that prospect.  That is why Jacques Werth advised students to err on the side of disqualifying a prospect.  You are far more likely to get another chance at discovering a sale by coming back later.

Most of the time, no only means not now.

Happy Prospecting,
Carl Ingalls


Comments and questions are very welcome and appreciated.

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.

 

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

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.

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.

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.

 

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