No Magic Sales Closing Techniques – Just a Proven Selling System that Produces Dramatic Results

written by Jacques Werth in about 2006, and posted here by Carl Ingalls

High Probability Selling is a structured, linear, step-by-step sales process. At each step along the way, you, the salesperson, and the prospect both have the option of saying “Yes” or “No”. Prospects close themselves each time they agree to move forward in the sales process.

The Story Behind the Process

The High Probability Selling Process is based upon extensive research of the top 312 performers across 23 industries. They were an elite group—part of the top 1% in their respective industries—who typically out-produced the top 20 percent in their industry by a factor of 3 or 4. Over a period of forty years, Jacques Werth went out on sales calls with top performers, observing and recording everything they did.

The discovery? These sales stars had intuitively created a totally new selling system. They didn’t realize it was a different system. Jacques Werth did. He collected the data, analyzed it, and put it together in this simple yet powerful system—High Probability Selling.

Top performers are the best in the business. They know the difference between a true prospect and one who is merely ‘interested’ – and will hardly ever buy. They know that preparing elaborate proposals is usually a waste of time. They know that the only prospects worth their time are High Probability Prospects: Prospects who want, need, can afford your products and services, and are willing to buy—now.

Stop Wasting Time!

The most common mistake made by salespeople is that they waste time trying to manipulate, persuade and convince prospects to buy. A lot of time and energy is devoted to activities that will inevitably lead to nothing.

Learn to Focus Your Sales Efforts on Truly Qualified Prospects.

In High Probability Sales Training, we teach you selling skills that are proven and effective. We train you to close more sales by negotiating a series of mutual agreements – beginning with the setting of the very first appointment. We train you to consummate sales with dignity and professionalism – without stress or pressure.

High Probability Selling trains you to close more sales, enjoy selling more, and to earn more money—without compromising your ethics. Is that what you want? If it is, enroll in a HPS sales training course.


Note from Carl Ingalls, on 8 Feb 2022. I copied the above text from a webpage that Jacques Werth had created in about 2006. It is typical of the persuasive style he used when marketing (but never when selling). I prefer to use non-persuasive language in my own marketing efforts, because that is more consistent with what we do and teach in High Probability Selling, and also because I believe it is best to make marketing and selling more consistent with each other. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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.

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.

Discovery / Disqualification, a New Mini-Course in HPS

The next High Probability Selling Mini-Course will be a short webinar session about the Discovery / Disqualification Questions, on Tuesday 17 December 2019 at 4pm USA Eastern Time.  39 minutes  for $39

These are the questions described in the book, High Probability Selling by Jacques Werth and Nicholas Ruben, in the chapter titled “Discovery/Dis-Qualification”, with a few modifications.

The purpose of these questions is to uncover the most common potential deal-killers early in the sales process.  The questions that appear in the book are designed for business-to-business sales.  The webinar will include business-to-consumer variations.

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 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 $10 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 about the Discovery / Disqualification Questions 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

Trust and Respect Inquiry, a New Mini-Course in HPS

The next High Probability Selling Mini-Course will be a short webinar session about the Trust and Respect Inquiry, on Tuesday 3 December 2019 at 1pm USA Eastern Time.  39 minutes  for $39

The Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI), has also been called Connecting and Getting Personal in past HPS sales training workshops.  It is described in the HPS book, in the chapter titled “Establishing a Relationship”.

In HPS, we do not attempt to create or build a relationship.  We test it.  The TRI is a discovery process.  We want to find out what sort of a relationship is likely to form with a prospective customer, so that we can make better decisions about how we will proceed.

In other sales methods, the salesperson uses rapport-building techniques to try to influence the prospect.  That is not our purpose, so we do things very differently.

This mini-course includes a description of what the TRI is and how it is used, plus the basic principles and guidelines.  It does not include any demonstration or practice, and is not designed to teach someone how to do it.  Those things are covered in the full 3-week workshop version of the material.

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 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 $15 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 about the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI) 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

Mini-Courses on Various Topics, Individual Parts of High Probability Selling

Announcing a series of Mini-Courses in High Probability Selling.  These are short topics, each delivered in a single webinar session.  39 minutes  $39

The webinar platform is GoToMeeting, led by Carl Ingalls in real-time (live).  Content is mostly audio (speaking), with some video (text, graphics).

The first HPS Mini-Course will be about the Conditional Commitment Question, scheduled for Tuesday 19 November 2019 at 1:00pm USA Eastern Time (same time zone as New York).  This first session is limited to a total of 10 participants.

The price is $39 USD per person.  However, I have 10 introductory discount coupons to give away, each $20 off.  If you want one, please contact me (Carl Ingalls) by phone at +1 610-627-9030 or by email at info@HighProbSell.com

If you want to purchase this HPS Mini-Course about the Conditional Commitment Question now, you may use this link:  https://high-probability-selling.myshopify.com/cart/31226966409276:1?channel=buy_button

The second HPS Mini-Course will probably be about the Trust and Respect Inquiry (TRI), which has also been called Connecting and Getting Personal in past HPS sales training workshops.  The date has not been selected yet.

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

Some sessions may be recorded (audio and/or video), and some recordings may be offered for sale later.


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

LinkedIn Discussion about Prospects Who Take Advantage of Salespeople

This is from a conversation on LinkedIn.  The discussion group is LinkedIn Sales / Marketing Executives (CSO/CMO).

Question:
How would you interpret this scenario?
By Mitch Emerson Co-founder, Compelligence, Inc.
Top Contributor

You’ve gone through a pretty thorough sales process with a potential customer–multiple meetings and demos for the end users and decision makers of your product or service; they say they love it and it’s what they need. They then ask for a bid so they can get it into their budget planning…and then they totally disappear–no replies to e-mails or phone calls for multiple months. They put time and interest in from multiple people at the beginning so it doesn’t -appear- to be just a competitive bid request or a fishing trip. Any tips for what you would do with that situation?

Response:
By Jacques Werth
Author “High Probability Selling”
Top Contributor

Mitch – That situation presents a valuable lesson. Many prospects take advantage of salespeople who do a lot of work in hope of getting their business.

Never do work for a prospect, unless you have an assurance from the *top decision maker* that you will get their business if you can meet his/her requirements. Then, find out what their requirements are, and figure out whether you can meet them, or not. That does not “guarantee” you’ll get their business, but it can minimize your exposure.

Regarding the described situation, respond to the request for a bid, with an offer to help them write the Request for Quotations. Then, design the RFQ so that it’s very difficult for any competitor to meet its requirements.

Using that strategy, I have sold $100s of millions, of everything from waterproofing dams, tunnels, and ballistic missile silos, to high tech capital equipment, and sales training.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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 some samples of how to say “Ok … Good-bye”, you can play the following audio

Secret Sales Tips and Tricks

by Jacques Werth

Why are those words so alluring?

The most successful salespeople seldom read articles with those words in the title.  Such articles are for salespeople who think that selling is just a bag of tips and tricks.

There are no secret tips.  There are no magic tricks.  Effective selling is about finding a sales process that works, following that process carefully, and measuring the results.  Pay attention to doing it right.  You can’t learn how to sell just by reading articles or participating in sales discussion groups.  Although it is possible to learn to sell by reading a lot of books, this doesn’t work for most people.

Books and CD’s can teach you a great deal about selling, but not much about the step-by-step details on how to actually do it.  For that, we recommend training and practice.

The idea of “tips and tricks” is just another sales trick.

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