Using High Probability Selling with Network Marketing and with Multi-Level Marketing

Does High Probability Selling work with Network Marketing?  Does High Probability Selling work with Multi-Level Marketing?  What’s the difference?

I believe that High Probability Selling (HPS) should work with Network Marketing, when it is only used to sell a product or a service, and when several other conditions are met (see below).  However, I haven’t yet seen any examples, good or bad, where those other conditions have been met.

Jacques Werth believes that HPS will not work at all with Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), based on his own experience.  He trained a number of people in one of these organizations how to use HPS.  It was very successful in increasing product sales, but it was not successful in meeting the organization’s other objectives.  Ultimately, I suspect there was a problem with transparency.

Network Marketing and Multi-Level Marketing are similar to each other in that they both use a large number of agents (that are not employees) to do a combination of marketing and selling.  The main difference between them is that the Multi-Level Marketing is built on multiple levels of agents, where agents who are higher up in the structure collect money from those who are lower.  In Network Marketing, when all agents are at the same level, the agents make money only when they sell a product or service.

Tony Shays presents a very clear distinction between Network Marketing and Multi-Level Marketing in his article “What Is the Difference Between Network Marketing and Multi-Level Marketing?

In any system, the methods of High Probability Selling work best when the following conditions are met:

  • Clarity.  What the buyer gets must be extremely clear and definite.  Simple to explain.
  • Transparency.  Potential negatives must be at least as visible as the potential positives.  The whole deal must be visible.  Full disclosure.
  • Honesty.  If the salesperson needs to deceive someone in order to make a sale, even by just a little bit or by omission, then HPS will not help.
  • Reputation.  If the organization has a poor reputation, which can happen when some of its agents sell by misleading customers, then High Probability Selling probably won’t work.
  • Know How.  You have to know how to find people who want what you are selling, for their own reasons and in their own time.  You also have to know how to interact with these special people, in ways that are extremely different from the norm.  A good place to start is by reading the book, High Probability Selling by Jacques Werth and Nicholas Ruben (can be purchased here).  After that, we also offer training.

If your Network Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing system meets the conditions above, then High Probability Selling might work for you.


Questions and comments are welcome.  I will respond to as many as I can. – Carl Ingalls


Upcoming HPS Workshops:
Chapter 12 Explained (15 Nov or 13 Dec, $45);  Getting Personal (6-20 Dec, $245);  Prospecting (Jan-Feb 2017)

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Using High Probability Selling with Network Marketing and with Multi-Level Marketing

Sequence of Steps in High Probability Selling

In High Probability Selling (HPS), we begin with the steps in Prospecting (see below).  If we decide that the probability of a good outcome is high enough, then we proceed with Selling.  Marketing can support HPS, but is not part of it.

Prospecting

Prospecting is where we find someone who is likely to buy from us, and is where we begin to apply our tests about the probability of a desirable outcome.  Here are the steps, in sequence:

  • Getting and Using Lists
  • Creating Prospecting Offers
  • Reaching Out
  • Responding to a Prospect Who Contacts You
  • Presenting an Offer
  • Asking About Want
  • Testing Probability (Initial Disqualification)
  • Setting an Appointment
  • Asking for a Conditional Commitment

Selling

In HPS, Selling begins with the first appointment.  It may be face-to-face (in person) or by telephone, or something else.  We only do this after we have decided that a desirable outcome is sufficiently likely.  Selling ends with the close, which may be on the same appointment, or not.

  • Asking Personal Questions
  • Confirming Want
  • Testing Probability (Deeper Disqualification)
  • Asking for Conditional Commitment Again
  • Getting the Details Right (Conditions of Satisfaction)
  • Closing

Marketing

When we do something that is directed at many people at the same time, we call it marketing.  When we communicate one-on-one, we call it prospecting or selling.  Marketing is not part of the sequence of steps in High Probability Selling.

Choose a marketing strategy that works well with the selling strategy you use.  For instance, if you use a selling method that does not educate prospects, then make sure your marketing methods perform this function well.


Questions and comments are welcome.  I will respond to as many as I can.  – Carl Ingalls

Sequence of Steps in High Probability 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)

Different and Incompatible Ways of Selling

Most salespeople try to get people to buy from them.  If this is the way you want to sell, then your success will depend upon how good you are at persuading and convincing, or at least influencing people.  You give them reasons to buy.  You focus on their needs and problems and expose vulnerabilities.  You use techniques to build rapport and make them like you and trust you.  If a sale doesn’t occur, it’s because you failed.  Perhaps you weren’t persuasive enough or friendly enough.

In High Probability Selling, we look for and work with people who want what we are selling, and who are likely to buy from us very soon.  If this is the way you want to sell, then your success will depend upon how good you are at finding these people, and how good you are at assessing the probability that they will buy from you in the near future.  You let prospective customers make their own decisions, for their own reasons and in their own time.  You focus on what they want and when.  Then you focus on whether you want to do business with them or not.  If a sale doesn’t occur, it’s either because they didn’t want what you are selling right now, or because you have decided not to go ahead at this time.

Both strategies have their proponents, and both strategies have successful salespeople.  However, they are completely incompatible with each other.  You can’t pick and choose elements from each.  They just don’t mix.

Everything depends upon what you choose.  Just pick one or the other.

 

Different and Incompatible Ways of Selling

You Have to Get Personal

That’s what many of the top performing salespeople told Jacques Werth when he observed them asking very personal questions of their prospective customers.

“You have to get personal.”

Why?  “You need to see what makes them tick before you decide whether to do business with them or not.”

Jacques took careful notes on what these salespeople did when they “got personal” with their prospects, and he incorporated it into his sales process.

It’s an interview method, a way of asking personal questions.  A brief overview:

  1. Start by asking a simple question about something in the present, the here and now.
  2. Then, ask questions that go back in time, about the prospect’s past.
  3. Finally, ask questions to bring the prospect back to the present.

A few guidelines:

  • Ask questions that control the direction in time.  Start with the present, then move backward through time, then go back to the present.
  • Each question should be about something the prospect said when they first started answering your most recent question, and especially when going back in time.
  • Questions should give the other person as much latitude as possible in what they choose to say about their self.  What, How, When, Where, Who, Why.  No yes/no questions.  Nothing that steers them toward any particular answer.
  • Ask short and simple questions.  Be direct.
  • Keep all of your reactions neutral.  Nothing positive, nothing negative.  Keep calm and relaxed.
  • No comments, no opinions.  No “relating” to the prospect.
  • Listen and pay attention.

This is a discovery process, part of finding out whether we want to do business with someone, or not.  We are not trying to build a relationship, or get anyone to buy, or get someone to trust or like us.

It appears in the book, High Probability Selling, Chapters 7 and 12.  It has been called the “Relationship Inquiry” or the “Trust and Respect Inquiry” (abbreviated TRI).  We have taught it in our sales training workshops.

“Getting Personal” is a descriptive name for this process.  This name is about what we do, and not about a desired outcome (like establishing a relationship or building trust).

The Getting Personal process may be the most valuable part of High Probability Selling.  People who become proficient often talk about how it has changed their lives, in selling and everywhere else.

However, it is not for everyone.  It seems so strange and unconventional, and contrary to social conventions.  Many people feel so uncomfortable with this, that they are unable to follow the process well enough to get any benefit from it.

If you have questions about this, please put them in the comments for this blog post, so that other readers may see your questions and our answers.  If you prefer a private conversation, you are welcome to call or write.

You Have to Get Personal

How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?

This is a question that I heard Jacques Werth ask many times, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

In a selling situation, Jacques knew that attempting to convince someone was not a good use of a salesperson’s time.  However, he was usually in a marketing situation when he asked that question, and he passionately wanted salespeople to become more successful.

Now that Jacques is retired, it’s my turn to ask, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

Here are some answers to think about:

  1. I could try to convince you by giving you logical arguments and reasons why you can’t convince someone.
    • Pros:  I’m very comfortable with creating and presenting logical arguments, and I’m good at it.  It works just often enough for me to keep trying.
    • Cons:  It hasn’t worked as well as I think it should.  Too many people resist being argued into a new belief.
  2. I could give you evidence of how other people have become more successful when they stopped trying to convince people.
    • Pros:  Some people can be influenced by evidence.  In this case, the evidence is available and doing this seems logical.
    • Cons:  Many people don’t trust evidence, because it is too often twisted and used to manipulate people’s beliefs.
  3. I could give up the idea of trying to convince you, and focus instead on finding someone who already believes that convincing doesn’t work.
    • Pros:  This is less stressful than trying to change someone’s mind, and can be a lot more effective (when done right).
    • Cons:  Working with people who already believe is tricky.  It is too easy to fall back to old habits, and turn them off by saying something persuasive.  Also, sometimes you don’t have the option of choosing who you are going to work with, and can’t just go find someone else.
  4. I could list some options for you to consider, providing my understanding of the pros and cons for each option, and without trying to steer you in any direction.  I could then ask you what you want to do.
    • Pros:  More people follow my advice when I present it objectively and don’t tell them what to do.
    • Cons:  Presenting advice this way is a lot more work.  It is frustrating to know that it would be so much quicker and easier if I just told you what to think.

What do you think?

How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?

Pay Attention To What They Want

Most buyers prefer to do business with salespeople who pay attention to what they want.

Many salespeople want to sell by trying to get a potential customer to buy.  Their focus is on influencing the other person.  Not on what the person wants or doesn’t want.

A few salespeople want to sell without trying to get the other person to buy.  They would rather focus on people who want what they are selling, and skip all that persuading and convincing.

You can be successful using either method.

What really matters is how you want to sell.

 

Pay Attention To What They Want