Tom Hopkins is a master sales trainer and presenter. He has delivered more than 3,200 seminars and helped more than 2 million people strive for greater success in the selling profession.
His first book, "How to Master the Art of Selling" has sold more than one million copies, making it the best selling book ever on the subject of "how–to" selling techniques. With his audio tapes, hundreds of thousands of salespeople (including me) drive from appointment (Tom prefers to call them "visits") to appointment with Tom Hopkins helping them turn their cars into classrooms.
The first time I saw Tom Hopkins live was at the Sheraton Hotel in Valley Forge, Pa in 1982. I had just read his book and listened to the entire series of cassettes on How to Master the Art of Selling Anything... and I was pumped. Tom held the standing room only audience in the palm of his hand for six hours. Every person in that audience will remember that day. And... so will his audience in Charlotte this day.
Everyone in the audience was leaning forward...in the buying position. Hopkins literally had them on the edge of their chairs the entire day. He is a sales wordsmith of the first order.
Hopkins delivered meat. Information you could take to the streets and convert to commissions – Tom prefers to call them "fees for services."
In fact, there were several words he recommended salespeople change in their jargon to take away the prospects fear of buying. A few examples are:
- cost or price = amount or total investment
- down payment = initial amount or initial investment
- contract = paperwork, agreement or form
- buy = own
- problem = situation or challenge
- objection = area of concern
- cheaper = more economical
He challenged the audience that to be better salespeople we must discover our areas of sales weaknesses and strengthen them. A 50 question sales skill evaluation was part of the seminar and Hopkins promised everyone a computerized diagnosis in a few weeks. He donned a stethoscope to make his point. The sales doctor. The audience loved it.
Hopkins encouraged the audience of 1,000 to learn to accept rejection and failure as a part of the profession. He said "When I fail, I look at what I did right, not what I did wrong." He challenged everyone to look at these inevitable events in a new way. He said, "I never see failure as failure only as:
- A learning experience.
- The negative feedback I need to change course in my direction.
- The opportunity to develop my sense of humor.
- The opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.
- The game I must play to win."
The benchmarks of his presentation centered around fundamental issues of sales and life's ethics. They are brilliant. They are simple. They just ain't easy.
- Selling is finding the people to sell and selling the people you find.
- Great sales presentation consists of three parts:
- Tell them what you're going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Tell them what you've told them.
- In sales the objective is moving people to decisions.
- Failure is an event, not a person.
- Make people feel important.
- Build your business on truth.
- Listening is more important than talking.
- Get your prospect (future client) involved by asking questions.
- Learn the science of asking questions.
- Use tie down (aren't you, isn't it, doesn't it) questions (questions that command yes answers) to confirm your prospects agreement.
- Learn to recognize buying signals.
- Know when to ask for the sale.
- Take notes during the selling process, especially when the prospect is talking.
- Giving exceptional service will keep the people you serve in your camp forever, and get them to recommend their friends and associates.
- Do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.
- Have fun.