Charisma vs Passion in Selling

Charisma is about charming people.  It is a way of influencing how someone feels about you.  It may be natural, or it may be a technique for getting approval.

Passion (in this context) is how we feel about something we do.  Feeling passion and expressing passion are two very different things.  The first is real, and the second may be an act.  If we are not careful, our expression of passion may be interpreted as an attempt to influence how a prospect feels about what we are selling.

Influencing how a prospect feels is one way to sell.  However, influencing a prospect is not compatible with High Probability Selling.

We teach our students to maintain an objective, neutral, and businesslike manner when selling.  We put our passion and our energy into finding people who want what we are selling and into determining how likely the outcome will turn out the way we want it to.


Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Getting Personal (17 Jan 2017, $245);  Chapter 12 Explained (26 Jan 2017, $45);  Prospecting (21 Feb 2017, $1050)

Charisma vs Passion in Selling

Questions from a Student of High Probability Selling (2016-09-03)

Adam sent me an email with questions about High Probability Selling after listening to the audio recording of the August 2016 teleseminar workshop on Chapter 12 Explained

Adam’s email appears here with his permission.  Answers from me (Carl Ingalls) are in red text (and indented).


From: Adam
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2016 5:36 AM
To: Carl Ingalls
Subject: Re: Recording of Teleseminar Workshop “Chapter 12 Explained”

Hello Carl,

first, let me thank you for the seminar file; I listened to it twice and found it very informative and constructive… it was a nice surprise to hear Jacques’ voice as well!

Here are some of my questions/queries/digressions, etc directly and indirectly connected to the seminar:

1.while listening to Jacques recordings i couldn’t help noticing his art of talking in a very specific emotionless, almost monotonous way; do you know whether this is his natural way of talking or he developed it purposefully for business, if so how could one learn/train it?  (sometimes it is quite difficult to stay “cool” on the phone or during an appointment)

A:  Jacques’ art of talking in a neutral manner comes fairly natural to him, but he does not always talk that way.  He does that in situations where it is important to do so.  Examples:  when prospecting or selling (non-persuasively), or when communicating with someone who has lost their temper (see Jacques’ post on Angry People).  He probably improved on it while copying very successful salespeople and also while playing poker.  It can be taught, and it can be learned, but it takes a lot of effort.  We teach these skills continuously in our sales training workshops and coaching.

2.prospecting on the phone and the very opening; you advised to skip “hello”…hmm, business contacts in my country are quite formal and polite; skipping any kind of greetings/introduction would be considered rude…

A:  Many of the things we train salespeople to do seem impolite and rude, not only to Austrians, but to people everywhere.  Not saying “Hello” when prospecting is just one example.  There are others.  They have all been tested in many cultures around the world, with the same results.  We tried it both ways, and we get more sales when we stop saying “Hello” in our prospecting calls.  Many of us struggle with the conflict between doing what we feel comfortable about, and doing what gets us the results we want.

3.Trust & Respect Inquiry: in the book, Sal asks many questions while telling nothing about himself in return; i understand the purpose here, but can’t help thinking, this situation is out of balance; what if the client asks once or more “how about you?” at any time during this phase? should i tell him anything from my life or wriggle out, if so, how?

A:  Asking personal questions, while offering nothing of oneself in return, is very much “out of balance.”  This is especially true when compared to a typical personal conversation.  When we do it this way, people tell us things about themselves that they rarely get to say to other people.  Why?  We don’t know.  It probably has something to do with the way we give control of the topic to the other person, and the way we avoid judgments (including very subtle ones).

Occasionally, the other person will ask a question of us.  If it is a simple and direct question, we answer it as simply as we can, and then we ask our next question.  If their question  is vague and non-specific, like “how about you?” we would ask “What do you mean?” or something like that.

It is too easy to start talking about yourself during this process.  Don’t follow any suggestion or invitation to do so.  This is about the other person, not you.  You can talk about yourself later.

4.provided i have to break up the meeting during the COS discussion; how exactly do i do it? what do i say? do i keep an option for the future meeting? etc…

A:  It may depend on the reason for the interruption.  If you know that you want to proceed with the sale later, the best thing to do is to make very definite plans to continue the process.  Making an appointment is much better than “keeping an option” (which is too vague). 

i would be very grateful if you could give me your perspective…many thanks 🙂

best regards,

Adam


Comments and questions (and additional answers) from our readers are welcome.

Questions from a Student of High Probability Selling (2016-09-03)

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

How to Say Ok Goodbye When a Prospect Says No

There are just three things to do when a prospect says “No”.  First you say “Ok” and then you say “Good-bye” and then you hang up.  However, the way you do each of these makes a lot of difference.  The meaning that the listener perceives is greatly influenced by your tone and timing.

The tone should be emotionally neutral, matter-of-fact, as if you were making a simple statement that has no “attitude”.  It should not convey your frustration about hearing “no” from yet another prospect.  It should not reveal your boredom with the process of making call after call.  It is also very important that your tone does not communicate an enthusiasm or friendliness that the prospect is likely to presume is faked.

The timing should clearly separate the “Ok” from the “Good-bye”.  Say these two words as two separate statements, with a pause in between.  Do not act like you are in a rush.  After you say “Good-bye” wait a while in silence before you hang up.  It’s best to let the other party hang up first.

Keep the intended meaning of each of these three things clearly in your mind when you do them.

  • Ok means that you acknowledge and accept what the prospect has just said.  It means that you are not going to argue.  It demonstrates that you did not have an emotional attachment to that particular outcome.  It demonstrates that you listen.
  • Good-bye means that you are done with this call.  It means that you have nothing more to say.  It demonstrates that you are moving on in a businesslike manner.
  • Waiting for a while before you hang up means that you are not dismissing the prospect.  You are not “slamming the door”.  It also gives the prospect an opportunity to ask you not to hang up yet.  This does happen, especially after you have called that prospect a few times.

To hear a sample of how to say “Ok … Good-bye”, you can click on this link

How to Say Ok Goodbye When a Prospect Says No

We Need Your Help with a Marketing Question About a Call to Action

We need your help.  What would a Call to Action from High Probability Selling (HPS) look like and feel like?  We want to hear your thoughts, and even more importantly, we want to know how you feel.

Marketing experts tell us that every “pitch” should contain a clear Call to Action, something that we want the reader or listener to do.  But they live in a persuasive world, where marketing and selling is all about pushing or nudging or influencing people into buying something.  High Probability Selling is not in that world at all.

We don’t pitch.  Instead of trying to get someone to buy, HPS is about finding someone who wants to buy what we are selling, and then communicating with that person in a way that is completely consistent with this purpose.  So, what would a Call to Action look like in order to be compatible with High Probability Selling?

It can’t be pushy.  We’ve tried that.  Our website used to say “Get Started Now!” in big bold type on the home page.  It just didn’t feel right, and one of our readers pointed this out to us recently on Twitter.  So we changed it to something else.  We thought about it, and made a guess about what might work.

Our thinking went like this.  In the world of persuasion, a Call to Action is a push in a direction chosen by the seller.  In the world of HighProb, it’s replaced by a map, so that the potential buyer can make an informed decision.  People want to know what direction to go, but they don’t want to be pushed.  What we have now starts with “What’s next?  We offer the following suggestions”.  This is followed by our best guesses about what a reader might want.

High Probability Prospecting contains a good example of a High Probability version of a Call to Action.  Another Twitter friend pointed out that we are asking someone to make a decision (a type of action) when we are prospecting and we ask, “Is that something you want?”  When we do this, we make no attempt to steer the prospect toward a particular answer.  It’s a Call to Action without a direction.

We need to be creative.  High Probability Selling contradicts conventional wisdom about marketing and selling.  We want creative people to tell us what they think and feel.

 

We thank our readers, especially Linda Sgoluppi and Russ Thoman (@Linda_Sgoluppi and @RussThoman on Twitter), for calling us into action and for helping us clarify our thoughts on this.

We Need Your Help with a Marketing Question About a Call to Action

Dodging Price Creates Doubt

by Jacques Werth

Most salespeople avoid answering the price question until after they have built value in the eyes of the prospect.  How do you feel about a salesperson who dodges your questions about price when you are the buyer?  Most prospects know exactly what the salesperson is doing and they resent it.  That resentment ends in too many “I have to think it over” results.

At the beginning of the sales process many prospects ask about price.  Most salespeople conclude that price must be very important to that prospect.  However, less than twenty percent of major purchases (excluding commodities) go to the low price supplier.

Most of the top sales producers have a very different attitude when a prospect asks about price.  They respond without hesitation, and give the prospect an authentic price range.  Example:  “Depending on exactly what you want, the price range is between $16,000 and $24,000.  Are you able and willing to buy within that range?”

Top sales producers understand that most prospects who ask about price only want to know whether the price is in the ballpark of what they can and will pay.

If the prospect does not ask the price question early in the sales process, top sales producers bring it up.  They want to know the prospect’s answer to avoid wasting time and emotional stamina on a prospect that is very unlikely to buy.

Dodging Price Creates Doubt

Why Be Afraid of High Probability Selling?

by Jacques Werth

High Probability Selling is scary.  It’s a radical departure from what most salespeople are doing.  It’s hard to believe that it will actually work.

The Fear of Loss
You may be afraid that you will lose sales if you don’t push for every single one.  If you are not closing enough sales now, you may believe that allowing your prospects to say “no” will make things much worse.  It may be difficult to believe that accepting “no” allows you to move on much more quickly to your next “yes”.
The Fear of Rejection
You may be afraid that the pain of rejection will be much worse when you listen to your prospects say “no” to you again and again.  With High Probability Selling, you will hear “no” a lot more often than you do now.  If you can learn to accept that, then you will also hear “yes” a lot more often than you do now.
The Fear of Inadequacy
You may be afraid of starting over and becoming a beginner again.  You may feel reasonably competent with the way you have been selling.  It is normal to be afraid that you may not be able to master something you don’t thoroughly understand and have never tried before.  If you are able to move ahead in spite of that fear, you could be on your way to becoming a highly competent sales producer.
Fear of Fear
Before my first fight, my boxing coach taught me something about fear.  “You can either walk away now and be terrified for the rest of your life, or you can get into the ring and deal with it.”
Why Be Afraid of High Probability Selling?

Recession: A Good Time to Sell

We published this article early last year (2008) but it seemed worth revisiting given current events.

What Good is a Recession?

Whether a recession is generally spread across all industries, or localized to just your industry, it is a great time to be selling. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters (3 month periods) when economic activity, i.e. total sales, is lower than the two preceding quarters. In severe recessions ales have been as much as 15 percent lower than the two preceding quarters. That means that (only) 85 percent of your market is still buying. However, most of your competitors will have substantially cut back on their sales efforts. They often cut back by 50 percent or more.

A Time to Sell More, Not Less

In the 1980s, at the start of the personal computer era, there were 151 computer manufacturers in the USA. Due to over-production, the industry went into a tailspin. Fifty-two of those computer manufacturers went bankrupt in the first year of that industry recession. At that time, I was the Executive VP of a company that provided manufacturing equipment and tools to the computer industry.

Most of our competitors, the suppliers to the computer industry, feared the recession. So, they cut back on their sales and marketing efforts. However, our company hired and trained more salespeople, and we increased our marketing efforts. And, that was a period of maximum growth for our company.

Think about it! During that recession, 99 of the original 151 computer manufacturers were still building and selling computers. And, their average sales went up because their failed competitors could no longer supply computers to the market. There were 33 percent fewer computer suppliers in a market that was buying 15 percent fewer computers. Therefore, the computer companies that survived did an average of 18 percent more business. However, our company’s sales to the computer industry increased by almost 100 percent because most of our competitors made themselves weaker due to their fear of the recession. While we were expanding, many of our competitors failed.

A Good Time to Gain Market Share

Even companies that have a very large market share should continue their levels of sales and marketing during a recession. That has been proven in the auto industry where American manufacturers are managed for profitability per quarter and Japanese manufacturers are managed for long-term growth. While the American car companies have cut back on marketing and sales during recessions, Japanese car companies have continued at pre-recession levels. Thus, the Japanese gained market share during the recessions and they held onto their market share gains when the recessions ended.

Adjust Your Sales Process

Whether you are running a company or your own book of business, you should be able to considerably increase your success during a recession. However, it is not “business as usual.” Having a highly effective sales process is more important than ever. You must be able to efficiently find and identify the high probability prospects. You must be able to work with them on the basis of mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual commitments.

This recession can be a good time for you.

Recession: A Good Time to Sell

He’s Got the Magic

I went into five automobile showrooms, all with the same make cars, in order to choose the one where I bought my last car.

My experience at the first four dealerships, after their big toothed smile greetings, each salesperson assured me that I would get the best deal and the best service if I bought a car from them; especially if I bought it on that day.

At the fifth dealership, a very large one, a salesperson named Walt asked me, “Do you want to buy a car, or would you like me to leave you alone while you look at the models on the floor?”

I said, “I want to buy a car” and I told him which model I wanted.

He said, “Who will be driving your new car?”

I said, “Mostly me, but sometimes my wife. She is going to drive our luxury gas guzzler, and I’m going to drive the new one to and from work.”

He said, “Does she need to be in on the decision to buy?”

I said, “Yes, but only to select the exterior and interior colors.”

He said, “What kind of work do you do?”

“I’m a sales consultant and trainer,” I said.

“I wish I had some good sales training before I got into this business,” he said. “I had to learn the hard way.”

“Most good salespeople learn the hard way,” I said. “What’s the most important thing you learned about sales?”

Walt replied, “I came to realize that the prospects are always in control and they want to be treated with respect.”

Later on, when I returned to pick up the car, I asked who the top salesperson in the agency was and they said, “Definitely that would be Walt, even though he’s kind of quiet and reserved…but he’s got something…he’s got the magic.”

He’s Got the Magic

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,
Jacques
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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).

Persuasion is a Great Way to Sell If…