Your Level of Conviction

Are You Truly Convicted?

What’s your current level of conviction about your industry and the products you offer? Do you believe 100% in the industry you represent? How about the products you’re offering?

There’s a maxim in the sales industry: “You can’t sell from an empty wagon.” What does that saying mean to you?

The idea it conveys is that if you want to excel in the sales profession, you must have something of value to sell (or at least believe you have something of value.) Potential clients must perceive that value before they will trade you their money for it. It is even more important that you, the sales professional, perceive and believe in that value first.

Do you think it is possible that some salespeople sell products or services they don’t believe in? The truth is that many salespeople are not fully convinced of the value of their products or services, of their pricing structure, that their company provides quality customer service or has the best interests of their clients in mind, or that their sales manager or company management is competent.

What do you believe about your company and your industry? This is time for some serious thought. Your level of conviction about what you offer to clients and potential clients directly affects your compensation. In fact, your compensation is a mirror reflection of the amount of service you give.

Most people find it difficult to provide good service if they don’t believe in what their products do for their clients. Your level of conviction also directly affects your job satisfaction. It directly affects your internal access to your sales potential. If you don’t feel great about what you do, you will subconsciously limit your ability to truly excel in your endeavors.

When Buyers Say NoExcerpted from When Buyers Say NoCopyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. & Tigran LLC

Professional Selling – Automotive

Professional Selling AutomotiveMany automotive salespeople who haven’t yet reached the professional stage think professional selling is exactly the opposite of what it really is. They get started. They learn the product and what the special offers are then push them on the next client who comes into the dealership.

When you entered the selling field, you may have thought, “Now my job is to talk and talk and talk.” So off you go. “Here it is folks. The single, best answer to your driving needs. Oh, you’re going to love it. You’d better get one now before we run out of inventory!”

The professional automotive salesperson, the true Champion, realizes that people have two ears and one mouth, and that they should be used in those proportions. This means that after talking ten seconds, you switch your mouth off, switch your ears on, and listen for 20 seconds. This also means that instead of overwhelming your future client with your knowledge of the automotive industry and your particular line of vehicles that, you encourage them to tell you what they know, what they need and what they want.

Let’s compare the two methods. [Read more…]

Earn the Right to More Yeses

Even though you may have won a yes from your buyer, it’s important to continue to earn the right to more yeses. People buy from sales pros they trust. Once trust is established and the buyer is satisfied with their purchase (becoming a happy client), it’s time to get some referred leads.

You begin this step of the sales process by creating an exceptional buying experience for each person. Realize that this is just the first step. Just because people love buying from you doesn’t mean they’ll give you referrals. You will still have to ask for them–in a completely professional manner.

It’s highly likely that your new clients will be telling others about their new product or service, and about how nice you were. People love being the one who referred others to a great product or excellent service. It allows them to become somewhat of a hero in the minds of those other people. And, who doesn’t want to be a hero?

Setting the stage to ask for referrals should happen fairly early in your sales process. It can be as simple as stating, “Our objective is to provide such exceptional service that you can’t wait to refer us to your friends and colleagues.”

Or, you could incorporate a story about another client into your presentation as you tell about a benefit of your product. That might sound like this: “A client referred me to Sheila, an office manager who said her company had a challenge with…” It’s a bit more subtle but still gets the point across that “people refer others to me.”

more yesesAnd, here’s an extra little hint for getting multiple referrals. When your buyer goes to their contact list to get you the information to reach out to Aunt Martha or Bob in another department, their whole world is right there at their fingertips. It’s super easy to ask them to also grab the contact information for three to six other people who could benefit from your product or service.

When you incorporate asking for referrals into every client contact (professionally, not in a pushy way), you practically guarantee yourself a successful career. Don’t think of it as asking for something else from buyers. What you’re really doing is offering to serve the needs of their friends, relatives or associates.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

The Three Principles of Rapport

Building Rapport

Building Rapport

In the world of selling, there are three principles of rapport. Working with them will increase the probability that your potential clients will buy from you:

  1. Buyers like salespeople who are like them.

Have you noticed how friends adopt each other’s behaviors? Friends tend to talk to each other at a similar speed and with a similar volume. Friends tend to adopt similar behaviors such as in their postures, facial expressions, and gestures. This same exchange of behaviors occurs when you establish rapport with buyers. You and your buyers will gradually begin to adopt similar behaviors. As your behavior becomes more like theirs, you make it easier for your buyers to like you.

If you doubt this, think about the last time you were with someone who used drastically different postures and gestures than you. At first, you would have been uncomfortable—trying to recognize what those postures and gestures meant. In effect, you were trying to translate that person’s body language into something to which you could relate. Once the understanding was there, you probably felt more comfortable. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not the other person was likable. It was more along the lines of whether or not you understood him. [Read more…]

The Myth of the Natural Salesperson

It’s sad, but true, that many people think they can’t do well in sales because of The Myth of the Natural Salesperson. This common fallacy is a destructive idea that I’d like to eliminate from your mind right now.

Having trained more than five million salespeople on five continents, I’ve met a lot of strong individuals who are on the fast track. I’ve met with large numbers who haven’t put their foot on the lowest rung of their potential yet. And sadly, many of these people never will climb very high on their potential’s ladder because they are firm believers in the myth of the natural-born sales wonder.

The myth cuts two ways.

  1. A few believe they’re naturals. That’s great for confidence, but it’s often the source of raging overconfidence. When this overconfidence persuades people that they don’t have to bother learning to be competent like ordinary mortals, they trap themselves far below their potential.
  2. Many more people believe they’re not naturals, think it’s hopeless to work at becoming competent–and trap themselves far below their potential. “I’m just not a salesperson by nature. Wasn’t born with the golden touch like Joe Whizzbeau over there. If I’d been born with his wit, charisma, and bear-hug personality, I could tear ‘em up, too. But I wasn’t, so I’m never going to make it big in sales.”

Don’t be too quick to say you’re free of this myth. I hear it far too often from my seminar audiences to take it lightly. In fact, I’m convinced that most salespeople who operate far below their potential suffer from it.

Let’s attack this dangerous idea now and get rid of it.

There never has been a great salesperson who was born great. Imagine a woman in the delivery room. Her newly born infant is saying, “Make yourselves comfortable, folks, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.” Pretty silly, isn’t it? The little feller has a long way to go before he can even start learning how to walk, talk, and operate without diapers. He’s got a lot to learn, and if he’s going to be a great salesperson, he’s got it all to learn.

Psychologists still argue whether it’s instinct or learning that causes us to jump at a sudden loud noise, but they agree that everything about selling is learned. So stop excusing yourself from the hard work of learning how to be competent in your sales career. It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re a wonder or a non-wonder; you still have to pay the learning “price.”

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Sell Like JFK & MLK

Occasionally, I like to share great ideas from other trainers. Please enjoy this guest blog post by my associate Greg Hague, who trains real estate agents.

Sell Like JFK & MLK With A Position Against Tradition

When Martin Luther King passionately proclaimed, “I have a dream,” and John F. Kennedy declared, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” they were indeed the ultimate salesmen. They knew that next-level selling is about engaging us emotionally. These great salesmen didn’t first explain features and benefits. They inspired us with their dreams of bucking the boundaries of the way it’s always been.

The elite in the world of selling often accelerate their success by persuading us to embrace their vision and mission. Once I learned this lesson, the money flowed fast and my days became more exciting and fun.

In the 1990s, I introduced a controversial concept into the traditional world of real estate. The firm I founded offered sellers a way to team up with my agents, hold their own homes open, and get a break on commission if they found a buyer.

OMG! I had tampered with two sacrosanct traditions, the typical 6% commission and the notion that only Realtors should hold listed homes open. [Read more…]

The 7 Cs of Customer Service

Every client contact has the potential for selling, even if it’s just selling how good you are at customer service. Here are my thoughts, my 7 Cs of Customer Service, on how to keep sales closed, and to keep clients long-term.

All of our research has shown that the people who will stay in business and prosper through the next decade are people that live seven words. If you take these seven C-words and make each one a part of your make-up and a part of your daily business, you’ll not only prosper, but you will build that wonderful referral base we are all after.

The first C stands for Concern. I think people want to know that you are more concerned with serving them, helping them, and that they are happy, and want a long term relationship with you than you are with making the sale and getting the check. They want to feel that concern and many people in sales don’t get the dollar signs out of their eyes. If a person feels you need the sale and they feel pressure to purchase a product they’re not ready to commit to, they will fight you because they want your concern. [Read more…]

How to Keep Clients Happy

Mastering selling skills to gain new clients is one thing. Learning how to keep clients happy is another. If you’ve been in sales longer than six months, you have probably already learned that clients can be quite fickle. The reality of selling is that buyers can change their minds about doing business with you rather easily and often will at the slightest temptation.

This is where the value you bring to them makes all the difference. When you become not just a salesperson but a valued asset, you make it more challenging for them to replace you.

You see, you don’t just get people involved in your products. You build relationships with them. You, in essence, become part of their team–someone dedicated to helping them cut costs, provide better service, or whatever to their clients.  When you bring them the latest industry news or can have a non-selling conversation about the future of the industry, you’re not just a salesperson. You’re that industry expert they learn to rely on. And, there’s a lot of value in having those relationships–often enough value to keep your company off the chopping block if and when cost-cutting measures are put in place.

When clients are unhappy, they’re constantly comparing your product, the money and your level of service to that of the competition. As a business owner myself, I understand the value of keeping an eye on the hard costs of doing business. As a long-term business owner, I also appreciate the extra value that is often provided by some of our long-term suppliers–and prefer to keep doing business with them versus “shopping around.”

For a few other ideas on how to keep clients happy, watch my YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEWTC0GjzsU

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Recommended Reading

I’m often asked what books are on my recommended reading list–besides my own books, of course. I recently revised my list to include both some classics and some newer editions that contain valuable information for today’s dedicated sales professionals. As I always teach the importance of having balance in life, I teach the four pillars of success as: Spiritual Fulfillment, Emotional Stability, Physical Fitness, and Financial Independence. I’ve included books on my list that cover most of those aspects of life. I hope you find them as helpful as my team and I have.

  1. The Bible
  2. Promises by Bill Bright
  3. More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  4. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  7. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg
  8. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
  9. Life is Tremendous by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
  10. The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
  11. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
  12. Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann
  13. Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
  14. The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey
  15. Swim with the Sharks by Harvey Mackay
  16. Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden
  17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
  18. Total Money Make Over by Dave Ramsey
  19. Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden
  20. Focus on Impact by Wendy Lipton-Dibner

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

When Buyers Interrupt You

One of the primary frustrations in selling is when buyers interrupt you. Granted, you are there to serve their needs. However, as a pro, you’ve pre-planned a presentation that will both educate and motivate your buyers. It has a certain flow to it that builds from one point to the next, right?

I do teach that we need to be flexible when giving presentations by sharing only what the buyer needs to hear rather than giving the exact same presentation to buyers with unique circumstances. That doesn’t mean you let the buyer run the show. As a pro, your job is to gain and maintain control of the entire presentation. By not taking control of interruptions, you’re letting the buyer control the sale. You must do your best to stay in control with the methods I’m suggesting here and by asking questions that direct the presentation back on course.

One of the ways to prevent interruptions is to set the stage in advance of your presentation. Consider giving your potential client a pad and pen. Explain that there’s a reason for the flow of your presentation, and that is to provide information and answer questions that typically arise. Suggest that he jot down thoughts that come to him during your presentation and at the end you’ll both look them over to see if you’ve covered everything. This allows you to take control, but also allows them to feel all of their questions will be answered. It will lessen their desire to interrupt you.

If you are interrupted say something like this: “I can appreciate your question. Let me make a note of that and cover it at the end of my presentation. The information I’m about to share might just answer all of your questions as we proceed.” Then go on with your presentation. You have sidestepped their interruption but honored their need to have something specific addressed. And, you have retained control of the flow of your presentation.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Learn more about this strategy and others like it by reading When Buyers Say No.