Mastering The Art Of Selling – Tom Hopkins

Mastering The Art Of Selling – Tom Hopkins

Mastering The Art Of SellingOne of the classics for Sales people to read and understand… even if some of the psychology may now be a little more subtle. Tom Hopkins is one of the Masters of Sales.. here’s a summary…

To be a good sales person you need tobelieve in your product/service.

You also need to not only love what you do but you need to be passionate about it.  Your passion and enthusiasm will bring you more success than your technical sales skills

You need to find qualified people to sell to, and you need to professionally sell to those people.  You need to help them make decisions that are GOOD FOR THEM (he stresses this).

The Power of Questions

There is a universal truth in the field of sales – if I say it they tend to doubt it, but if they say it then it’s true.

The key is to take any statement of fact and turn it into a question that the prospect will agree to.

The first questioning technique is the Tie Down – a question at the end of a sentence that demands a positive response, e.g. “Investing in a quality product makes sense, doesn’t it?”

But don’t overuse it or you will come across as pushy.  Rule of thumb – for every hour of sales presentation, use no more than 2 tie-downs.

The question of Alternate Choice – a question where either answer to the question is a positive step towards agreement on your product/service, e.g. “Bill, would you like to meet either tomorrow afternoon at 3 or Friday morning at 9, which would suit you better?”

Another technique is the Porcupine – it’s when you answer a question with a question.  Just imagine that the prospect has thrown a porcupine in your lap, you need to get it off you and throw it right back to them.  For example, if they ask “When would we be able to move in?”, instead of answering it you could reply “So, when would suit you best – would you prefer x date or y date?”.  Once they respond to your question they have effectively bought.

Some Basic Fears That Stop People From Purchasing

  • The fear of being sold – people don’t want to be sold but they love to buy.  So, come across as a trusted advisor instead of as a sales person
  • The fear of making a mistake – this needs to be addressed in the presentation
  • The fear of being lied to – it is important to be totally honest about your product/service
  • The fear of incurring debt – to overcome this they need to understand the value they are getting and the return/benefit on the investment.  Pour on the value – this will diminish the investment they are about to make.
  • The fear of losing face – treat everyone in the meeting with respect and that they feel important.  Never talk down or be-little anybody.  Have empathy so that they feel that you have their best interest at heart and that you care more about them than in making the sale.
  • The fear of the unknown – during the presentation you need to educate them on the benefits that they will derive from having the product/service
  • Fear based on past bad experiences
  • Fear based on prejudice – being prejudiced by someone else saying that this is a bad idea.
  • Fear based on the words that you use – our words can have a positive or negative effect.

Here are some words to think of..

 Don’t use…  Instead use…
 Cost (too much) or price (need to shop    around) Down payment Monthly payment Contract


Sell or Sold




 Total investment or Total amountInitial  investment or Initial amount  Monthly investment or Monthly amount Paperwork, agreement or form


“Get them involved” or “Help them acquire”

Opportunity or Transaction

OK, Approve, Endorse, Authorise – (if they don’t know what this means and they ask “Oh, you want me to sign it?” then just smile , say “Fine” and give them the pen)

Closing the Sale

Everyone needs to develop their own closing style

Definition of closing – Helping people that already have the desire to own the benefits of what you provide, combining that with your desire to help them to do what is BEST FOR THEM.

Closing does 4 things:

  1. Helps them rationalise
  2. Helps them overcome procrastination
  3. Help them overcome fear
  4. Helps them overcome indecision

The close starts in one of 3 ways:

  1. The prospect asks you a Porcupine question.  You answer with a question to which they answer and you reply by say “OK, I’ll take note of that…”
  2. Do a temperature checking question or a trial closing questions, e.g. “So John, how do you feel about everything that we have discussed so far?”  You haven’t asked them if they want to buy, you’ve asked them how they are FEELING – buying is 80% emotional.
  3. Ask them a reflex question, e.g. today’s date, the correct spelling of their name, their middle name.  Once they reply then just go ahead and fill in the paperwork.

Once the form is filled out then ask them your final closing question… “Now John, if I can just get your approval right here then we can organize delivery (or the alignment consultation) for next week”.  Then SHUT UP AND WAIT.

Handling Objections

“I want to think it over” – Smile and nod and just say “That’s fine Barry, obviously you would not want to think it over unless you are seriously considering this opportunity, would you?”  They’ll say “Yep”.  You say “I assume that you’re not just saying that to get rid of me – I assume that you’ll give it very careful consideration.  Is that fair to say?”  Then ask them what specifically they want to think over (quality, colour or something else).  Then say “Seriously, is it the money?” (9/10 tmes it will be)

“It’s more than I expected/wanted to pay” – Reply by nodding and saying “Yes, these days most things probably do cost more than people expect.  How much more is it than you expect/wanted to pay?”  Then break that extra amount down into a monthly/weekly/daily amount over the total time that your product/service will benefit them.

Summary coutesy of my Blue Mountains friend Anil Puri

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