Using High Probability Selling Principles When Delivering Advice

A student of High Probability Selling (HPS) asked me if we had any materials that explained how we use the principles behind HPS while we are teaching and consulting.  I replied that we do not have any such materials so far, but I plan on writing a blog post on the topic.  Here is that post.

I have been a consultant providing technical advice in the area of embossing for many years, long before I met Jacques Werth and began to learn HPS from him.  When I first started to grasp the mindset of HPS, I took the idea of not trying to convince people, and I started applying that idea to the way that I delivered my consulting advice in my embossing business.  The idea is that trying to persuade someone to buy creates a natural and almost reflexive resistance, known in the sales trade as Sales Resistance.  So maybe there is a similar thing in consulting, something we might call Advice Resistance.

I figured out the things that I had been doing to try to get my consulting clients to take my advice.  I stopped doing those things, and I quickly noticed a difference.  The more objective and neutral I was while delivering my advice, the more often they would actually follow through and do it.

When coaching and training clients about HPS, we do not try to get them to accept and follow what we teach.  We do not provide reasons or logical arguments for why anyone should do High Prob.  It has to be their choice and their decision.  If they have not decided to do this, it’s not the right time to teach them.

This is very similar to how HPS salespeople treat prospects.  The decision to buy or not to buy is completely up to the prospect.

People buy in their own time and for their own reasons.  ~ Jacques Werth


Using High Probability Selling Principles When Delivering Advice

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 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


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


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

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

Being vs Doing

by Carl Ingalls and Jacques Werth

High Probability Selling is more about being than doing.  It requires a radical change in a person, not just a radical change in action.

Who you are is revealed to other people by what you do.  People make conscious and unconscious decisions about who you really are, in response to things you do both consciously and unconsciously.  Very few people are fooled when you pretend to be someone you are not.  It feels wrong.

We teach High Probability Selling as a sales process, the details of what to do and how to do it.  Using this process will change who you are.  If it does not change you, it is not likely to work for you.

When you start using High Probability Selling, people will see a new person.  This is the kind of person that decision makers prefer to deal with.  People who cannot be or become that kind of person usually cannot “get themselves” to follow the process.  It feels wrong.

If you want to understand more about this, we recommend that you read the book “High Probability Selling” by Jacques Werth and Nicholas Ruben.  It tells the story of a person who is learning, doing, and being transformed by High Probability Selling.

Note:  You can read the Intro and the first 4 chapters of the book “High Probability Selling” online.

Being vs Doing

What We Believe In – An Intro

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

This is an overview of the things we Believe In, the fundamental beliefs at the core of High Probability Selling, the things we stand for.  Our best customers are the people who share our deepest beliefs.

  • Everyone deserves dignity and self-respect.
  • Honesty really is the best policy.  It is the most reliable strategy for real success.  People who believe this strongly enough make it true.
  • There is abundance in the world, and you will find it if you know how to look.
  • Authenticity is about being what you believe in, not merely acting it out.
  • Success comes from providing value.  We define value as what other people want.
  • Observation overrules logic.  An idea does not have to be logical to be true.  Sometimes the things that work best don’t make sense at first.
  • It’s not magic.  Ordinary people can learn and copy what the most successful people do.  No special mysterious talents are required.

We thank Simon Sinek for his TED talk on How great leaders inspire action, which inspired us to feature “What We Believe In” as a category in this blog.

Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

What We Believe In – An Intro

An Introduction to High Probability Selling

This Introduction is taken from the book “High Probability Selling” by Jacques Werth and Nicholas E. Ruben.


Why doesn’t sales training work?

Why is it that most people who attend sales training courses and seminars show very little sustained improvement? Why doesen’t modern sales training consistently produce successful salespeople?

Why is it that most sales training courses and seminars contain large doses of motivational psychology? Why is it that the sales profession is the largest user of motivational training? Is it coincidental that the next largest user is the armed forces? What is it that the armed forces and salespeople have in common that requires them to be the largest users of motivational training? How many carpenters, mechanics, CPA’s, claims adjusters or veterinarians need to attend motivational seminars in order to do their jobs?

How many professions come with a built-in fear of rejection and a reluctance to do the job? Why do approximately eighty percent of the people who enter the selling profession leave within the first few years? Why do so many who remain feel trapped or burned out in their jobs?

Why do most people try to avoid salespeople?

Is this all endemic to selling or is there something fundamentally wrong with the way we sell that causes these problems? Could it be that “Selling as the Art of Persuasion” is a concept whose time has come and gone? Could it be that it’s no longer profitable to persuade and convince prospects to buy what they don’t already want?

We maintain that persuading and convincing is no longer a viable selling strategy. Even worse, the attempt to do so causes too much tension, stress, and frustration. Therefore, we re-invented the selling process.

Everything’s changed. All the rules are different. Fear of rejection is no longer an issue. Resistance disappears. Relationships of mutual trust and respect develop naturally.

Self-esteem is a natural result of the process. Salespeople have standards. Who they are as people and who they are when they’re selling no longer have to be different.

High Probability Selling trains salespeople how to discover whether there is a mutally acceptable basis for doing business – without using manipulative techniques. High Probability Selling is not an improvement on, or a variation of, any sales technique you know. It’s a new paradigm that requires salespeople to sell with integrity in order to achieve outstanding results.

High Probability Selling takes salespeople off their knees and puts them back on their feet, with dignity, where they belong.

If you want to continue reading, you can find this Introduction plus the first 4 chapters of the book at

An Introduction to High Probability Selling

What High Probability Selling is About – Briefly

by Carl Ingalls
High Probability Selling is both a method of selling and a way of thinking about selling that is fundamentally different from how most people think about selling.
Most salespeople believe that selling is about convincing someone to buy from them.  They may use overt persuasion or subtle influence.  The objective is to change the prospect’s mind.
A different way of thinking about selling is to find people who already want what you are selling, rather than trying to convince them.  This is one of several core principles of High Probability Selling.
The way that you think about selling drives what you do.  What you do makes all the difference.
What High Probability Selling is About – Briefly