Rapport Building – Step 8: Act Relaxed

If you have a nervous or stilted manner when trying to establish rapport with clients, instead of relaxing them, you’ll put them on edge. If you’re nervous, they’ll get nervous and start raising their walls of sales resistance. They’ll question your reasons for wanting to talk with them. They’ll become suspect of your every move.

In selling situations, many of your clients will respond to your demeanor in kind. What that means is that if you come across friendly and non-threatening, they’ll feel friendly and not threatened by you. In other words, you get what you give. That’s why it’s so important to be well-prepared before meeting with your clients. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 7: Giving Sincere Compliments

Step #7 in the Rapport Setting process is to give a sincere compliment to your potential clients. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Something simple is fine as long as it’s sincere. That means it must be honest. You would never compliment someone on their “lovely home” if it was a disaster. Likewise, you wouldn’t say you like anything that you don’t honestly like.

Rule of thumb: If you don’t like something, say nothing about it. Instead, look for something else that you do like or can honestly compliment them about [Read more…]

The Creed of a Champion

As I began my long journey from complete failure in selling to millionaire success, I had a lot of self-image building to do. You see, I was the kid in school who was too shy to read out loud in class. I was more interested in playing sports and making mischief in high school than in studying. I dropped out of college after 90 days because it just wasn’t “for me.” When I did that, my dad told me, “Son, your mother and I will always love you…even though you’ll never amount to anything.” You can imagine where my self-image was as I took on the responsibility of a wife and baby with no real plan for my life. Not being a great student, it was a real struggle for me to get my real estate license after deciding construction work had no future for me.

Once I got my license, though, and started hanging around people who were making pretty good money, I wanted to do the same. I wanted it bad enough to do whatever it would take to succeed. I started learning what they knew. Every personal development seminar that was available had Tom Hopkins sitting in the front row absorbing every word the speakers uttered. This was a whole new world for me. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 6: Finding Common Ground

In the rapport setting stage of selling, your #1 goal, as stated in other blog posts on this site, is to help people to like you, trust you and want to listen to you. If you think about selling situations you’ve been in yourself, you’ll have to admit you have the same preference. The sale just seems to flow more smoothly when you learn that you have something in common with the salesperson. So, part of your job in this stage of the sale is to learn something about your buyers that you have in common and talk about it briefly to demonstrate that commonality.

Here are some areas to consider in consumer sales (B-to-C):

  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids? If so, how many? What ages? Are the kids involved in sports, music or other activities?
  • Are these people sports fans? What sports? What teams? (Take note if they’re wearing a local team’s jacket, shirt or baseball cap.)
  • What part of town do they live in?
  • Have they always lived in this city? If not, what area of the country did they move from? If you moved to the area from elsewhere you can briefly talk about first impressions of the area or what they enjoy most about living there. [Read more…]

Award Winning Book

I’m proud to announce that my latest book, Selling in Tough Times, has won the 2011 National Trophy for Business Books in the category of Tools & Methods in France.

Here’s a brief except of the book that I hope you find useful:

Steeling Yourself for Survival by Tom
Hopkins from Selling in Tough Times

In order to survive any challenge that negatively impacts your selling career, you need to follow the Boy Scout motto of “being prepared.” So, how do you prepare yourself for some unknown event that may pop up on the horizon?

You begin with a commitment to personal growth. Personal growth is a process of increasing your knowledge and effectiveness so you can serve more, earn more and contribute more to the betterment of yourself, your family and all of humankind. It demands an investment of time, effort and money. Keep in mind that if you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind.

[Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 3: The Handshake

To shake or not to shake, that is the question. It used to be that salespeople would always shake the hands of everyone they met. In today’s world, that isn’t always the case. As with many aspects of selling, clients should be treated the way they want to be treated. And, there are people out there who just don’t want to shake your hand.

Depending on what your product is, the handshake may be inappropriate. For example, if you market products to senior citizens, there’s a likelihood that they might have arthritis in their hands and shaking hands is uncomfortable for them. Be aware and be gentle with those people. If you market products to people in the health care field, they may be averse to the handshake because of the potential spread of germs. In these situations it never hurts to ask (with a smile) “May I shake your hand?”

However, in most sales situations, a handshake is appropriate and expected. Handshakes can be very telling. If yours is weak, it makes a negative first impression on your potential clients. If it’s too strong, that can also create a negative impression. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 2: Remembering Names

In sales, we meet a lot of people. And one of the most important things to every person we meet is their name. So, it’s critical that we get those name right…and that we remember them.

I’ll never forget one incident that embarrassed me so much that I immediately sought a way to change how I remember names. I had met a very nice couple and spent quite a bit of time over one weekend showing them homes. On Sunday afternoon, we found the home that met all their needs and they wanted to make an offer. As I filled out the legal documents, I said to the husband, “Shall I put your name down as Bob or Robert?” He said, “Tom, I think Jim makes a lot of sense.” [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 1: The Power of Your Smile

Your primary goal when working with a new potential client is to get them to like you, trust you and want to listen to you. That’s the absolute most basic foundation of all of my training. The reason you take the actions and use the words I teach is that they’ve all been designed and proven to make you likeable, demonstrate trustworthiness, and say something worth listening to.

This is one of the most miniscule strategies I teach, yet it can make or break your career. Don’t dismiss this or take this information lightly because it’s one of the first things people see in an intial contact and it sets the stage for how the rest of your contact goes. [Read more…]

Solve the Selling Puzzle

The selling process can be broken into very specific pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. Our goal as professionals is to put each piece in its place in order to earn a new client. Here’s an overview of ideas to maximize your efforts in each area.

The first piece in the selling cycle is prospecting. There are many ways to prospect. One of the most common is via the phone. Try this phraseology when you call a company where you’re trying to get in to meet the decision-maker: “Hello, my name is Tom Hopkins. I’m in business in the community.” Don’t give the name of your company when you’re making this type of call. “I’m calling regarding your (state what your product or service does) needs. Who in your company is responsible for that?” (Before they can answer, continue) “By the way, who am I speaking with please?”  When the receptionist gives his or her name, use it, “Ann, thank you for your help.” Many receptionists don’t get a lot of recognition. Always try to gain an ally by giving them some.

The second piece in the puzzle is called original contact. When you meet a person you must radiate the goal of helping them like you, trust you, and want to listen to you. You do this through the steps of building rapport, letting them know that they’re important to you and that you’re there to serve. Show you care in your eye contact, with your smile, and with the questions you ask about them and their needs.

[Read more…]

Work Smarter, Not Harder in Network Marketing

When it comes to getting involved in network marketing, most people experience a certain degree of fear. That’s perfectly normal. While the prospect of having your own business is exciting, if it’s your first time considering such an ‘independent’ venture, many pitfalls also come to mind. Stop right now and turn those negative fears into positive actions. Let’s focus instead on the skills you need to succeed.

The skills you need most are “people” skills. This includes an understanding of some very basic principles involving how and where to meet new people, making good first impressions, getting to know them and building the relationship.

How and Where to Meet New People

We all meet new people all the time through our jobs, while traveling, at social events, and so on. Yet, when we think about ‘having’ to meet new people to build a business, many panic at what to do. That’s because meeting new people [Read more…]