Top 10 Tips for Prospecting Success with High Probability Selling

by Jacques Werth, Founder of High Probability Selling.  © 2006

To succeed in sales, you must be able to find and close a sufficient number of qualified prospects.  That points up the reason most salespeople that do traditional “cold calling” fail.  They fail because most of the appointments they make are with Low Probability Prospects who cannot be closed.  Furthermore, their attempts to get an appointment with everyone they talk to causes so much resistance that most prospects will not talk to them again.  That prevents them from developing a favorable relationship with most of their prospects.

The ability to prospect efficiently, effectively and enjoyably will enable you to meet with prospects that need, want, and can afford your products and services - now.  Your confidence will soar, and empower you to develop a consistently superior income stream. 

Follow these 10 Tips for Prospecting Success:

  1. Start with a highly targeted prospecting list, consisting of people or companies that are most likely to buy your type of products and services.  Use a highly reputable list broker to find such a list.  The cost should be no more than 25Ę per name.  Start with a list of no more than 500 names.  You cannot afford to develop your own list, unless you already have a book of business.  In that case, call your existing customers as if they are new prospects.
  2. Call every name on your list every 3-4 weeks.  Understand that only a small percentage of your list will be ready to buy the first time that you call.  Many more will be ready each successive time that you call.  Most prospects will not want to meet with you until you have presented prospecting offers at least three times.
  3. Present a “prospecting offer” of no more than 45 words that clearly states who you are, what you are selling, and two features of your product or service.  Finish up with “Is that what you want?”  Each time you call, change the two features.  That will prevent most prospects from getting annoyed.  It will also eliminate most of the rejection that is caused by traditional cold calling.
  4. If the prospect says “No” or “I am not interested,” you say “Okay, good bye.”  Do not press for an appointment.  Do not try to engage the prospect in a conversation or ask any questions.  That will be the most pleasant sales call they ever get.  It will assure that less than 1% of the prospects will ask you not to call again.
  5. Schedule your prospecting sessions for 3½ hours.  Take a fifteen-minute break between each hour.  That is more productive than five prospecting sessions of one hour each.
  6. Tape yourself.  Use a tape recorder with an open microphone to tape your side of each call.  Start the tape when the prospect answers.  Listen to how you sound.  The goal is to hear yourself using your usual conversational tones.  Do not try to sound like a professional salesperson.  Do not come across as overly enthusiastic, unusually friendly or enticing.  Just relax and present your offer without persuasion.
  7. Always be in a “Disqualification” mode.  Be determined to spend your selling time only with High Probability Prospects.  Disqualify low probability prospects quickly and courteously.  Donít allow desperation or anxiousness to deter you from that mission.
  8. Accept the fact that prospecting really is a “numbers game.”  The most important numbers are your Dials Per Hour and the ratio of prospecting Offers to Dials.
  9. Keep accurate records of your prospecting sessions.  We have trained thousands of salespeople to be successful prospectors.  The most successful keep accurate records.  The act of keeping records will cause your subconscious mind to constantly improve your results.
  10. Telephone prospecting is the most productive way to build up your sales volume, with very little up-front expense and a minimum of marketing expertise.  Start with telephone prospecting, and eventually you will get so many referrals from your existing customers that you will need to get an assistant to do your prospecting for you.

2019 Update and Notes written by Carl Ingalls, March 2016

These prospecting tips are for finding people who want what you are selling, and who are ready and able to buy now.  They don't work if your aim is to get people to buy from you, even if you are applying a gentle form of persuasion.

Jacques Werth often asked, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”  He wrote this article (and many others) while he was still struggling with that, and testing to see if convincing worked better in Marketing than it did in Selling. 

Some of the details in the prospecting steps described in this article have been modified since this was written, and may not match precisely what you have learned in recent training or coaching.