People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

People are less likely to pick up the phone today, and especially if the call is from someone they don’t know or is from a number they don’t recognize.  You are more likely to get voicemail or some other automated system, even when calling a business.

At one time, it was not practical to leave voice messages when doing High Probability Prospecting.  Salespeople who were telephone prospecting in those days got better results when they just moved on to the next number in their list.  The odds of getting a live person on the phone were much higher then.

Today, we do recommend leaving a very brief voice message.  Just your name, your company, the subject of your call, and your phone number.  As short as possible, with much less detail than a prospecting offer that you would deliver live.  The usual mistake is to say too much.

One of the consequences of leaving messages is that you may begin to receive a greater number of inbound prospecting calls (where a prospect calls you).  The skills required for handling these conversations are very different from doing outbound prospecting.  It takes a special kind of listening.  But that’s a topic for a different blog post.

Note:  Jacques Werth had written an article titled Top 6 Pitfalls of Voice Mail Messages (which appears in a list of articles on the main HPS website).  In that article, he argued against leaving voicemail.

People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

New Workshop on Prospecting with High Probability

This sales training workshop on High Probability Prospecting begins on Tuesday 21 February 2017 and ends on Tuesday 25 April.  It includes 10 group sessions on 10 consecutive Tuesdays, plus 30 minutes of private coaching for each individual.

Group sessions begin at 9:00am USA Eastern Time (same time zone as New York City).  Duration of each group session is 90 minutes to 2 hours.

All group sessions and private sessions are conducted by telephone and recorded, using our teleconference system.  Recordings are sent to the participants.

The price is $1050 USD per student.

High Probability Prospecting is how we find people who want what we are selling, and how we determine the likelihood of doing business with them.  It is a detailed process of how to contact people (reaching out), and how to respond to people who contact us.

The High Probability Prospecting process has been updated to reflect changes in the way people communicate, and especially in the way people use the telephone today.  There are changes in the details of what we do, but the fundamental principles are the same as before.

This workshop will be taught by Paul Bunn, with assistance from Carl Ingalls.

For details or to purchase, please see our webpage about the prospecting workshop, at  You are also welcome to contact us, by calling +1 610-627-9030, or by emailing

Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Chapter 12 Explained (26 Jan 2017, $45)
Prospecting (21 Feb 2017, $1050)

New Workshop on Prospecting with High Probability

Upcoming Workshops in January 2017

Upcoming Workshops:

  • 17 Jan 2017 – Getting Personal, 3 Sessions, $245
  • 26 Jan 2017 – Chapter 12 Explained, 1 Session, $45
  • ?? Feb 2017 – Prospecting, 10 Sessions, $1050

Getting Personal with High Probability Selling – Level 1.  This is a good place to start learning HPS.  It is a group workshop on one of the most important parts of High Probability Selling, which is how we interact with people.

The price is $245 per person.  This covers 3 sessions, spaced 1 week apart, plus recordings of each session (which are sent to participants only). Conducted by telephone (teleconference, interactive), with practice exercises to do during and between sessions.  Led by Carl Ingalls.

Schedule. The next Getting Personal workshop starts on Tuesday 17 January 2017, and continues with the two Tuesdays that follow (24 and 31 Jan).  The starting time for each session is 2pm USA Eastern Time.  Duration of each session is 1 to 2 hours.

For more details, or to purchase, please see

Chapter 12 Explained.  This is a review and explanation of all of the steps in the entire High Probability Selling process, with answers to participant’s questions.

The price is $45 per person.  This covers 1 session, 60 to 90 minutes long, plus a recording of the session.  Conducted by telephone (teleconference, interactive), with questions and answers.  Led by Carl Ingalls.

Schedule:  Thursday 26 January 2017, at 3:30pm USA Eastern Time.

For more details, or to purchase, please see

To listen to a sample of the 18 Aug 2016 recording of this workshop, please click here.  The full recording is available for purchase for $29 USD.

Prospecting with High Probability – New.  This group workshop covers a detailed process of how to contact people (reaching out), and how to respond to people who contact us.

Updated Process – The High Probability Prospecting process has been updated to reflect changes in the way people use the telephone today.  The expert in the updated version of High Probability Prospecting is Paul Bunn, who will be teaching this course.

The price is $1050 per person.  This covers 10 group sessions, 60 to 90 minutes long, plus 30 minutes of individual coaching for each participant.  Conducted by telephone (teleconference, interactive), with questions and answers.  All sessions are recorded.  Recordings of group sessions are sent to the group.  Recordings of individual sessions are sent to the individual.

Schedule – February 2017.  Dates and times will be announced here on this blog as soon as they are have been determined.  If you have a preference, please let us know.  Sessions will be spaced 1 week apart.

For more details about this workshop and what is covered, please see

Other Workshops.  For information about other group workshops, and also about individual coaching, please visit the HPS training webpage at

All times are in USA Eastern Time, which is the same time zone as New York City.

All prices are in USA Dollars.

Upcoming Workshops in January 2017

Relationship Selling

Would you trust someone who tried to form a relationship with you solely for the purpose of selling you something?

Many salespeople believe that the key to getting someone to buy is to build a “relationship” first.  They are the ones who say “how are you” on a cold call.

Saying “how are you” on a cold call is one of the signs that someone is going to try to get you to buy.  You may have noticed that, consciously or unconsciously, and it may affect your decision about whether you will buy from that salesperson or not.

In High Probability Selling, we don’t try to build relationships.  Relationships come from doing business, not the other way around.

Relationship Selling

Limit the Scope of Prospecting Offers

A High Probability Prospecting offer should be very specific, with a limited scope.  Avoid using a more general offer that tries to encompass most of what you do.

Some examples:

Instead of saying “I sell life insurance”, use at least two separate offers, where each excludes the other:

  • “I sell a whole life insurance policy that …”
  • “I sell a term life insurance policy that …”

Instead of saying “We offer IT support services”, break that down into two or more very specific offers:

  • “We provide a remote help desk service that …”
  • “We offer a network monitoring service that …”

This can be a very scary thing to do.  It doesn’t feel right to purposely exclude such a large portion of the audience in each prospecting offer.

Part of the reason it doesn’t feel right is that most of us are too desperate about each prospecting call, and emotionally attached to a positive outcome.  This makes us behave as if this is our only chance to get the prospect to buy from us.

But High Probability Prospecting is not about “getting” the prospect to buy.  It’s about finding someone who wants what we are selling, and is ready to buy now.

We do that by calling the same prospects over and over, with different prospecting offers.  Over time, they get a very good picture of what we are about.  Doing this in small bites gets better results than trying to get the entire message across at once.

Limit the Scope of Prospecting Offers

High Probability Prospecting Offers Reviewed Here

We invite you to submit your High Probability Prospecting Offer as a comment on this post.  Jacques Werth and/or Carl Ingalls may review your prospecting offer and provide suggestions on how it can be made more consistent with High Probability Prospecting.

We also invite other readers to comment on people’s prospecting offers.  Many of our readers are very knowledgeable about High Probability Prospecting.

Before you submit a prospecting offer for review, keep in mind these points.

  • Review Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer (a previous post on this blog).
  • Add a comment to this blog post, and include your prospecting offer in your comment.
  • Before you click on the button to submit your comment, you may want to click on the checkbox that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”.
  • Submit only one prospecting offer at a time.  If you put more than one prospecting offer in your comment, we are less likely to respond.
  • Do not include any hyperlinks in the body of your comment.  You may enter a hyperlink in the text box labeled “URI” if you wish.
  • Your comment (and any replies to it) will be public, available for anyone to see.  You may use your real name and your real company name if you want, or you may use an alias instead, like “This is John Doe of ABC Company.”

Please note that this is an experiment.  We don’t know how well it will work.  If it turns out well, we may continue it.  If not, we may remove this post and all comments.

2019 Update – This experiment has been going very well.  Readers are welcome to post High Probability Prospecting Offers for review.

High Probability Prospecting Offers Reviewed Here

Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer (Updated)

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls – Updated May 2019 by Ingalls

Structure.  There are 3 parts to a High Probability Prospecting Offer:

  1. Identify yourself (full name) and who you represent (name of organization).
  2. Identify what you are selling in this particular offer.
  3. Identify one or two features about what you are selling.

After we present the offer, we ask, “Is that something you want.”  We do not count that as part of the offer.

Guidelines.  Keep these points in mind when creating a prospecting offer.

  • Make the offer very specific.  Do not try to create an offer that covers everything you sell.  When a prospect says “no” to your offer, you need to have a different offer the next time you call the same prospect.
  • Be factual and use neutral matter-of-fact wording and intonation.
  • Use simple language.  Avoid jargon, even when you are certain that the prospect would understand it.
  • No persuasion, no convincing arguments.  Do not include anything that sounds like a reason why the prospect should buy.
  • Do not use the words “you” or “your” or “yours” in the offer.  The first time we refer to the prospect that way is when we ask the question after the offer.
  • Be very brief and concise.  Use a maximum of 30 words in the offer, even if it means you have to use one feature instead of two.
  • When you identify yourself, it is best to start with “This is”.  The results are better than if you say “My name is”.  We don’t know why.
  • Don’t say “Hello” and don’t say “How are you”, unless the prospect says something like that to you first.
  • Use your full name.  Never use just your first name by itself.
  • For instance, “This is Jacques Werth of High Probability Selling.”
  • When you identify what you are selling, make sure your wording is simple and easy to understand.  Also, it is better to make it clear what a customers gets from you (the “Get”), rather than saying something that you do.
  • Use Features, not Benefits.  A feature is a concrete attribute that describes part of what you are selling, part of what the prospect gets immediately.  A benefit is a positive outcome that can happen later.
  • A feature can be something that differentiates your product or service.
  • A feature can be used to “paint a picture” of what you are selling, in a way that makes it more real or solid in the prospect’s mind.
  • Use features to make your offer more specific.  Next time you call the same prospect with an offer for the same product or service, use a different set of features.

Having good prospecting offers is important, but it’s only part of the process.  How you use your prospecting offers is just as important.

Happy prospecting.

2019-05-14 Update by Carl Ingalls

Previously, we recommended a maximum of 45 words in the offer, and we also recommended two features in each offer.  We now believe this makes the offer far too long, and we now recommend a maximum of 30 words in a High Probability Prospecting Offer.  Shorter is usually better, even if it means that you have to use only one feature instead of two.

I have added several details to the guidelines that were not in the original post.  – Ingalls


Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer (Updated)