Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

Structure.  There are 4 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 a feature about what you are selling.
  4. Identify a different feature.

Note that the question you ask after presenting the offer is not counted 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.  You need to be able to call the same prospect again with a different offer.
  • Be factual and use neutral matter-of-fact wording.
  • Use simple language.  Avoid jargon, even when you are certain that the prospect would understand it.
  • Avoid persuasion.  Do not include anything that sounds like a reason why the prospect should buy.
  • Be very brief and concise.  Use a maximum of 45 words in the offer.  Less is better.
  • 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”.
  • Use your full name.  Never use 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.
  • A feature is a concrete attribute that describes part of what you are selling.  It is not an expected outcome or benefit.
  • 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.


2016-10-28 Update by Carl Ingalls

We now believe that 45 words is far too long, and are now recommending a maximum of 30 words in a High Probability Prospecting Offer.  Less is usually better, even if it means that you have to use only one feature instead of two.

When counting the words in your offer, make sure you include all 4 parts of the offer that are listed at the beginning of this blog post (unless you skip part #4).  However, do not include the question you ask immediately after the offer.

 

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Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer

51 thoughts on “Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer

  1. Edward Barba says:

    This is Edward Barba over at Class 1 Insurance. We provide Malpractice/Professional Liability coverage for SkinCare Professionals. They save 20% and more. Is this something you want?

    Like

  2. Kenny says:

    This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing.

    We source “Made in USA” products to be promoted at stores like yours.

    We currently offer the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes.

    The starter kit is $375 and includes an assortment of our most popular flavors.

    Is this something you want?

    Like

    1. Kenny says:

      OR would it be better to leave off the bit about “to be promoted at stores like yours” as it sounds leading…? Also instead of “currently offer” is just flat out “we offer” better for being more straight forward?

      Like

    2. Hello Kenny,

      The offer itself should not make any reference to the person you are talking to. Do not include the words “you” or “your” or “yours” in the body of the offer.

      The only exception is at the end, when you ask “Is that something you want?” or “Is that something you want for your company?”

      There are other things that can be improved in your offer, but I prefer to address only one thing at a time.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

      1. Kenny says:

        Hello Carl,
        Thank you for your help with this..and by the way, you look vaguely familiar to me. Have you ever worked in education, in or around the NY metro area?

        That aside, your suggestion to remove you or your, so it’ll sound more like:

        This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing.

        We source “Made in USA” products.

        We currently offer the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes.

        The starter kit is $375 and includes an assortment of our most popular flavors.

        Is this something you want?

        Like

        1. Hello Kenny,

          You are very welcome. And thank you for giving us the opportunity to review your prospecting offer so that our readers can watch (and learn).

          I have never worked in the NY metro area. You may have seen someone who just happens to look like me.

          Carl Ingalls

          Like

        2. Kenny,

          It might help if you review everything you say in your prospecting offer, and see how each piece fits into the 4 parts of a High Probability Prospecting Offer that are described at the beginning of the Guidelines post above.

          You might notice that there is something in your offer that does not fit into that.

          Carl Ingalls

          Like

        3. Kenny,

          Your prospecting offer should have exactly 4 parts. Try numbering each line of your prospecting offer (1 to 4), and make sure that each numbered line delivers the concepts that are described in the post.

          Carl

          Like

  3. Kenny says:

    1) This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing

    2)We sell products that are “Made in USA”

    3)We’re offering the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes

    4)Our starter kit is $175 and provides you with a 51.39% margin

    Is this something you want?

    Like

    1. Kenny says:

      Wait! Correction…

      1) This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing

      2)We sell products that are “Made in USA”

      3)We’re offering the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes

      4)Our starter kit is $175 and provides a 51.39% margin

      Is this something you want?

      Like

    2. Kenny,

      First, make a very clear statement about who you are and the name of your company, with nothing else added. It is not clear to me what the actual name of the company is. Are the words “sales&Marketing” part of the name of your company, or is the name of the company just “This-or-That”?

      Second, make a very clear statement about what it is that you are selling in this one particular offer. Are you selling a line of electronic cigarettes, or are you selling a starter kit? Pick just one, and put that in Line #2.

      Third, “made in the USA” is a feature, something you might say about what you are selling. But first, you have to be clear about what it is that you are selling.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

      1. Kenny says:

        Carl,
        Yes the full name of my company is “This-or-That,sales&Marketing”

        So:

        1) This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing

        2)We’re offering the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes

        3)We sell products that are “Made in USA”

        4)The line provides a 51.39% margin

        Is this something you want?

        Like

        1. Kenny, this is essentially what you offer – if my rewrite is correct. Then, you will have 21 days to call the same prospects again, with an offer that has two different features.

          1) This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That, Sales and Marketing

          2) We offer the “Burn and Smolder” line of electronic cigarettes,

          3) That are made in America.

          4)This product line provides a 51.39 percent margin

          Is that the kind of product line you want to sell?

          Like

          1. Kenny says:

            I have made some modifications to the offer. How about?:

            This is Kenny Annunziato, I have a company that offers electronic cigarettes to retailers.

            They’re American made, reasonably priced and very competitive.

            You’ll keep 51 dollars for every 100 you sell.

            Is this something you want to do?

            Like

          2. Hello Kenny,

            If you put your prospecting offer back into the numbered statements (1 thru 4), I think you will do a lot better.

            Give it a try, and one of us will take another look.

            Carl Ingalls

            Like

          3. Kenny says:

            1)This is Kenny Annunziato, I have a company that offers electronic cigarettes to retailers.

            2)They’re American made.

            3)You’ll keep 51 dollars for every 100 you sell.

            4)Is this something you want to do?

            Like

          4. Kenny,

            I suggest you review the structure of a High Probability Prospecting offer that is explained at the beginning of this article. A few weeks ago, you were following that structure more closely.

            What’s happening now?

            Carl Ingalls

            Like

  4. Kenny says:

    I had gotten some advice from a friend and thought it made perfect sense, so am trying to incorporate it.

    1)This is Kenny Annunziato, I have a company that offers electronic cigarettes to retailers.

    2)They’re American made.

    3)You’ll keep 51 dollars for every 100 dollars worth that you sell.

    4)Is this something you want to do?

    What am I missing, Carl? I have changed the wording in such a way to invite clarity over confusion. By saying the name of my company, This-or-That, sales & Marketing, it causes a distraction from the purpose of my call. Most people haven’t heard of my company, and I don’t want them preoccupied with that. I would rather they hear my offer. If I say the name of my company, they won’t be as able to focus on the offer itself, for having to categorize the company name. Is that off base do you think? I had also since adding the new information, removed the phrases “reasonably priced and very competitive” under the assumption that you would have said it was persuasive language. Since then, I have reconsidered it, and don’t think it is persuasive language although I suppose indirect as it begs the question of comparison. While we are talking about persuasion here, please help me understand something. Since reading High Probability Selling, I have the point of view that you guys view persuasion itself as negative, and not worth pursuing. Am I incorrect in that assumption? Do you advocate the use of persuasion or don’t you? If you don’t, then for you to say to me “If you put your prospecting offer back into the numbered statements (1 thru 4), I think you will do a lot better.” doesn’t sound right. Doing better would be out of my hands if I am not out to persuade, but only inform, wouldn’t it? It is very likely I am misunderstanding since these concepts are all very new to me. Please help me understand. Thank You, Carl.

    Like

    1. Kenny,

      If you want to learn High Probability Selling, I will try to help you.

      If you want to learn something else, that’s ok. It’s a decision only you can make.

      We do encourage people to experiment with variations on High Prob, but we want people to be successful first. The only way we know how to do that is to teach them High Probability Selling and Prospecting, in its precise detail.

      People who have tried to modify High Prob before actually doing it have been remarkably unsuccessful. They usually end up doing a lot worse than if they had stayed with purely conventional selling methods. It appears that High Prob just doesn’t mix well.

      What do you want to do?

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

    2. Kenny,

      One of the negatives of High Probability Selling is that it doesn’t make much sense to a lot of people, and especially to those who are accustomed to the logic of conventional selling. If making sense is important to you, then this might not be a good choice. We don’t offer much of that.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

  5. Kenny says:

    Carl,
    My apologies for not getting a reply off to you sooner. Having read the book, HPS makes perfect sense to me. My challenge is that even after reading the book twice, and even after reading through the posts here on the site, it is still kind of fuzzy to me. Part of me wishes I had the money to purchase your coaching so that I could totally immerse myself in it, and part of me is scared to death. I am under tremendous pressure to get it right, and I don’t want to ask too much of you guys seeing as I haven’t paid for your time or expertise. I am thankful you’ve helped as much as you have, and really don’t know what to do. What do I WANT to do? I want to grow. Looking at the first adjustment, to remove the name of my company from the offer, is that a mistake in your estimation? What do you want me to do?

    Like

  6. Kenny says:

    1) This is Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That,sales&Marketing

    2)We’re offering the “burn and smolder” line of electronic cigarettes

    3)We sell products that are “Made in USA”

    4)You can keep 51 dollars for every 100 dollars worth of product you sell

    Is this something you want?

    Like

    1. Kenny,

      This is pretty good. It fits the four-part structure of a High Probability Prospecting offer, with all of the pieces in all of the right places. However, I think it can be improved a little bit.

      Line #1 is ok. However, I don’t understand the punctuation you have used. I don’t see a space after the comma, and the word “sales” is not capitalized. Is this significant? Does it indicate a special way of pronouncing the company name? If what you actually say sounds like “This or That Sales and Marketing”, then that is probably the way you should write it. If there is a pause in it, then a comma can indicate the pause.

      Line #2 is ok.

      Line #3 would be better if it referred more directly to what you are selling in line #2, which is a line of products. For example, “These products are made in USA.”

      Remove the word “you” from line #4. We have found that prospecting offers work better when they do not include the words “you” or “your” or “yours” in them. The only time you should refer to the prospect is in the question that you ask after the offer is stated.

      One way to remove the “you” from line #4 is “Retailers keep 51 cents from each dollar of products sold.”

      The version that Jacques suggested on 12 December is a good example, as long as the details in it are accurate.

      Happy Prospecting,
      Carl Ingalls

      Like

  7. Kenny says:

    Hey Carl,
    I have pasted the rewrite of Jacques and adjusted line 3. Also instead of saying “This is” have changed it to “I’m” does this or that work(pun intended jokingly)?

    1) I’m Kenny Annunziato with This-or-That Sales and Marketing

    2) We offer the “Burn and Smolder” line of electronic cigarettes,

    3) That are made in America.

    4) This nets 51 dollars for every 100 dollars worth of product sold

    Is that the kind of product line you want to sell?

    Like

    1. Kenny,

      You are continuing to make purposeful changes that deviate from High Probability Prospecting.

      If you are doing this because you want us to justify each detail in the process that we teach, I can save you a lot of time. The answer for every detail is the same.

      Jacques Werth started out as a salesperson who couldn’t make a sale, even though he had studied all of the things that were supposed to work. Then he started observing and recording what the most successful salespeople were actually doing, whether it made sense or not. When he started doing those things, he became very successful. When the people he trained started doing those things, they became very successful.

      Occasionally, someone would discover a small modification that had measurably better results. If these improved results were repeatable (and teachable), the modification was incorporated into what we teach.

      That’s why we teach people to say “This is” instead of “I’m” or “My name is” or a lot of other things.

      The same is true for all of the other changes that you have suggested.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

  8. Kenny says:

    Gentlemen,
    I want to thank you for all your help and guidance. I have decided at this time to stop offering this product line altogether. It doesn’t work for the things I care about most, and my integrity is more important to me than earning a buck. Electronic cigarettes are still cigarettes which are a slow death sentence. I won’t sell things that I wouldn’t buy myself. It took hearing from a very dear friend earlier today to put this in perspective for me. I will continue to study your approach as I feel it DOES fit my core personality and does not in any way have me second guess myself as “traditional” sales techniques or strategies surely have had me questioning. I am taking a hiatus from business to get my head straight but will surely check in from time to time, and will also keep you posted with any new developments. Again, thank you so much for sharing your time, knowledge, and wisdom with me. I appreciate all you’ve done and all you do.

    Very Best Regards,
    Kenny

    Like

  9. Hi Jacques/Carl

    I will be calling non-businesses i.e and general public and i have been using your guidelines BUT been saying during my opening “Hi is this NAME”………….then i go into my pitch as per your guidelines.

    My question is, i noticed you do NOT do this when you do this. Is this because you are calling businesses only and dont need to address a name why?

    Again, i feel as if i MUST use the persons first name when calling my lead list as i am calling the general public i.e non-businesses.

    Do you understand what i mean and can you please shed some light on my situation or what is the best into script to use would be even better (the rest if fine i, only taking about the very initial stages of the call)

    Much appreciated guys if you can help me on this one as im stuck on this issue

    Warm Regards
    John

    Like

    1. Hi Jacques

      Thanks for your prompt reply (as ever)

      For total clarity would that look like this “Can i talk to FirstName LastName, please.”

      Regards
      John

      Like

      1. John,

        The exact wording that Jacques spelled out in his reply to you works measurably better.

        If you do it any other way, you might feel more comfortable about it, but you won’t be as successful. The difference is enough to matter.

        Carl Ingalls

        Like

  10. Dimitri Zubrich says:

    Hi, Jacques. This is Dimitri and I need your help. Can you please take a look at this script?

    Hi ____ this is Dimitri Zubrich from American National Insurance. We help business owners with affordable insurance that provides better coverage and better business protection. Is that something you want for your company?

    Like

  11. Dimitri Zubrich says:

    This is Dimitri Zubrich from American National Insurance. We help business owners with affordable insurance that provides better coverage and better business protection. Is that something you want for your company?

    Like

    1. Kenny says:

      Dimitri, Although I am new to HPS, it seems to me that using the word “better” is disrespectful as it seems to wish to make the decision about quality for the prospect instead of allowing the prospect to decide for themselves what is better or worse. Further, “affordable” is another relatively subjective term. It comes off as sounding sleezy to me. I could be wrong, have been before and surely one of the more seasoned HPS professionals can correct me if I am not understanding. If we are to do business under the condition of MUTUAL trust and respect, that means not only your potential customers respect/trust you, but also that you respect them. Do you see how it is disrespectful to overtly tell someone what is or isn’t a “better” thing or an “affordable” thing? What do you want to do?

      Like

    2. Hello Dimitri,

      It would be more direct to say that you are selling insurance. Saying that you “help business owners” sounds like camouflage. You are not selling your help.

      Prospecting offers that contain the word “help” get poorer results than offers that do not include that word, when using High Probability Prospecting.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

  12. Kenny says:

    Dimitri,
    You’re welcome. It’s the most I could do. One of the more seasoned HPS practitioners can surely guide you in the direction needed to honor the HPS system of selling. I am not yet familiar enough to help any more than I hopefully have. I am sure that Jacques or Carl will be able to get you where you seemingly want to go. They have both helped me tremendously. Best of luck in your pursuit of being trustworthy and respectable. Have a great_____!(you fill in the blank). 🙂

    Regards

    Like

  13. I have been using your system when calling and I learned some things I can change that I read here.
    I would like to give you my offer and see if you have any suggestions as to how we might improve it as I am not getting results.Here it is :
    Hello, Customer Name, this is Susie Salisbury with Progressive Technology. I wanted to let you know that we offer technology management services, such as daily back up verification and remote help desk. Is this a service you want?
    99% of the time I get no. End of conversation.
    Please let me know if you have any ideas. We provide IT Support.
    I appreciate any feed back you may have.

    Thanks
    Susie

    Like

    1. Hello Susie,

      My first recommendation is that you drop the “I wanted to let you know that” wording. High Probability Prospecting is about what the prospect wants, not what you want.

      My second recommendation is that you don’t say “hello”.

      It is very important to get directly to the point of identifying who you are and what you are offering.

      Carl Ingalls

      Like

    2. Susie,

      My next piece of advice is to make your prospecting offers a lot more narrow in scope. It is a lot better to use a series of very narrow offers, each identifying something very specific, than it is to use a single offer that covers everything.

      For instance, you could use one offer that only talks about daily backup verification, and a separate offer that talks about the remote help desk.

      When a prospect says “No” to a very general offer, they are saying “No” to you.

      When a prospect says “No” to a very narrow offer, they are only saying “No” to that specific offer.

      Happy Prospecting,
      Carl Ingalls

      Like

    1. Hello Julius,
      The offer that you posted as a comment to “High Probability Prospecting Offers Reviewed Here” a few minutes later is a lot closer to a High Probability Prospecting offer than your comment above. I replied to that other one.
      Happy Prospecting,
      Carl Ingalls

      Like

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