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High Probability Selling


Book reviews > High Probability Selling


Werth, J. and Ruben, N.E. (2005). High Probability Selling, Fort Washington, PA: ABBA


Here's a stupidly simple idea: sell people things that they want to buy. Werth and Ruben have taken this obvious truism and turned it into a selling method that you might wonder why all sales people don't use.

The book is written as a conversation that shows a person learning the method. At first I disliked this, then I got used to it and eventually liked it. It makes it easy to read and you learn alongside the rookie sales person. For visual learners, some diagrams would have been helpful, and an appendix with a summary of the key points would also be a good reference.

The story starts with description of the basic concepts, showing the limitations of traditional selling, before getting into the main technique. The book concludes with discussion of finer points and a complete sale shown in a single chapter.

A basic principle is early, frequent and up-front qualification (called 'Dis-qualification') to minimize wasted sales time. This means ensuring that the prospect needs, wants and can afford the product and that their 'Conditions of Satisfaction' can be met. The approach adopts a very direct method in ensuring this, asking up-front and not pussy-footing around. This is good for sales person who does not want to waste time. It works also for customers who also do not to waste time, but could miss those who might seek more attention.

An interesting approach in closing is that the sales person never asks for the order. They just present the facts and ask the prospect what they want to do.

There are several things that I particularly like about the method. It first is customer-centric, seeking to help them rather than being focused first on achieving sales quotas. It is also high integrity, allowing the sales person to feel good about what they do. Finally, it is a sound method for building repeat business.

This method may not suit all sales situations. An underlying assumption that there are plenty more fish in the sea and that it is not worth taking time to persuade the prospect. It also assumes that rapid dis-qualification is good for the customer, which may not always be true.

Overall, this book is an island in a sea of similarity, going against the grain in showing an approach that is both good and effective. For this, it deserves the five-star rating and an unqualified recommendation.


Buy Me

Jaques Werth and Nicholas E. Ruben, High Probability Selling, ABBA Publishing, 1992 

  A simple principle, excellently developed: Sell people things that they want to buy. A major breakthrough in selling presented in a very readable format. The trick is in the dis-qualification and high integrity. If you sell, buy this book.



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