15Bending Win Probability in Your Favor

Life is a school of probability.

—Walter Bagehot

Let's pause for a final reality check:

  • No sucks.
  • The only way to avoid no is to never ask.
  • If you don't ask, you won't sell anything.
  • If you don't sell anything, your income suffers, you can't pay your bills, and you get fired.
  • Losing your job and starving sucks worse than no.
  • Yes is better than no.
  • Yes has a number.
  • To get what you want, ask enough times and you will get a yes.
  • Getting to yes means you must embrace a load of suck in the form of no, rejection, and objections.
  • You can reduce the probability of getting a no and change your yes number by bending win probability in your favor.

Imagine you are in a small, intimate arena. On the floor, in the center are two chess masters, locked in a head-to-head, winner-takes-all match. Every seat in the area is filled, yet there is total silence as each master calculates the win probability of the next move.

At the World Series of Poker Championship final table, after thousands of players have been eliminated, there are only a handful left and millions of dollars at stake. Each card, each hand, evokes on palpable anticipation. The players, behind dark sunglasses to mask their emotions, are intense as they calculate the win probability of each hand, bet, raise, fold, or bluff in this high-stakes game.

In chess and poker, every move, every hand has a win probability. It's a simple matter of mathematics based on what's on the table or board. ...

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