13 Self Instructions for Sales Success

In my book, The Official Guide to Success book, I teach about the power of self instructions for sales success. These are also called affirmations. They are positive messages we develop for ourselves. After all, no one else can motivate us as well as we can motivate ourselves, right? Our internal, self-motivations are ten times more powerful than an external motivation we could ever receive.

The book is filled with affirmations on varying topics, but I’ll share the 13 most popular with my long-time sales students. When you begin speaking these words to yourself on a daily basis, or even several times each day, you’ll be thrilled with how your life and career start improving.

  1. I’m alive. I’m awake. And, I feel great!
  2. Today, I’ll meet the right people in the right place at the right time for the betterment of all.
  3. I take full responsibility for my actions, and for my life. My well-being is in the best hands it could possibly be in: my own.
  4. I am a winner. I am a contributor. I am an achiever. I believe in me.
  5. I read something positive every night and listen to something helpful every morning.
  6. I avoid negative people and negative input from the media. When someone tries to dump some negative thinking on me, I refuse to accept it.
  7. It’s amazing how often I meet interesting new people who have an enthusiastic outlook.
  8. I get paid a lot of money because I’m terrific at what I love doing.
  9. I’m always finding new ways to make my life better and new things to learn and enjoy.
  10. I have a high degree of personal integrity that leads me to put out extra effort.
  11. I emphasize the positive in everything I do. I look at the good that can come out of every situation. I talk about the best qualities of every person I meet. I concentrate on the good aspects of every place and thing.
  12. I’m organized because I plan my days and follow my plans.
  13. I understand that life comes down to how I invest my seconds. I do the most productive things at every given moment.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Podcast Interview on Sales Chalk Talk

Hugh Liddle, THE Sales Wizard, and co-host Jim Hamlin interview a huge variety of special guests who share Ideas about sales, marketing, business and success that will help you create more sales and more income for you and your company.

They have interviewed me a couple of times and sent this link for me to share.

Tom Hopkins on Sales Chalk Talk

Just click on the play button and enjoy the show!

The Buyer’s Mindset

As a sales professional, it’s critical that you put everything else out of your mind when approaching buyers and focus on the buyer’s mindset.

When put into a sales scenario, the buyer’s mindset subconsciously shifts, asking important questions which must be answered before they are comfortable moving ahead with the sales process. Because this is a subconscious process, we know that it is always at work. We can count on it. More than that, we can make it our ally.

How often have you heard yourself, or others saying the words, “I’m just looking” when approached by a salesperson? It doesn’t matter what the buyer’s individual personality style may be, this is a universal, knee-jerk reaction because of the mindset change we all undergo when a sales scenario starts.

We are thinking,

  1. “I don’t need you, your product or service;”
  2. “I don’t have any reason to trust what you have to say;”
  3. “I don’t need any help to determine if you have a product or service that interests me;” and
  4. “I’m in no hurry to make a decision.” So, basically, “Let me shop by myself, thank you.”

One of those four thoughts will be the starting point in most sales situations you encounter. Once you understand that and work from that point of view, you will more quickly reduce sales resistance and increase sales acceptance.

The following four words, and the questions they bring to your customer’s mind, control every sales situation: Need, Trust, Help, Hurry.

Here’s how.

NEED

 “I feel no need.” Your goal as a one-call closer is to help them change their mindset to one of “I feel some need.”

TRUST

“I feel no trust.” No one will let you persuade them to do or own anything if they don’t trust you. So, you must work toward helping them think, “I feel some trust.”

HELP

“I want no help.” No one ever wants to admit they’re helpless. However, you can certainly help someone see that you can provide answers in areas where they may not be as educated as you are. After all, you are a trained professional in your field. So, you need to change their mindset to one of “I want some help.” And, that you are the one I want to have help me.

HURRY

“I feel no hurry.” Your job is to help them see that by taking care of the buying decision today, they’ll be better off than if they wait. They need to think, “I feel some hurry” in order to take action. It’s your job to create urgency.

It is extremely important that you learn how these four very specific words help define your potential client’s sales resistance. They are the primary barrier between “no sale” and “sale.” They are the main line of defense. They will keep you from providing the prospective client the very product or service they agreed to talk over with you and/or need the most.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from Sell It Today, Sell It Now.

 

The 4 P’s of Presenting Products

When presenting products to prospective clients, think of yourself as a match maker. Before this point, you’ve met and gotten to know both parties. You know what they’re looking for in a match. Now, it’s time to introduce them to each other. Granted, when presenting products, they rarely have opinions about where they end up (except in some service businesses). Your goal is to help the buyers see how nicely the product will fulfill a need in their lives or in their businesses.

So, the presentation is a big deal to the buyer. It needs to impress them, educate them, and it doesn’t hurt if there’s a little fun involved with it. To help you prepare a dynamic presentation–one that wins over prospective  clients more often than not, I suggest following the four P’s of presenting products.

  1. Prepare. Be ready to meet the expected challenges in introducing new buyers to your product or service. This involves knowing your product inside and out; knowing the industry; and knowing what the competition has to offer (and is saying about your product.)
  2. Practice. Knowing what to do and doing it are entirely different things. Musicians, athletes and all other professionals practice what they’ll do, say, and play when they perform. Why shouldn’t you? After all, your income depends on your ability to help buyers see the value in owning your offering. Practice with a partner and be willing to accept constructive feedback. No partner handy? Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself delivering the whole presentation (no shortcuts!).
  3. Perform. This is especially important when you’re new to sales, or if you’ve not given any presentations in a while. Practice is great … and important … but nothing beats delivering your presentation to a living, breathing, qualified client. Your friend, your mirror or your video recorder won’t be investing in your product. Get some real-life experience and feedback.
  4. Perfect. The top pros never stop learning from their experiences or from the experiences of others. They are constantly on the lookout for those little nuances or even major overhauls that could provide a better experience for the buyer and better results.

Real success in sales doesn’t require any special God-given talent. You already have the talent. All you need is drive, commitment, discipline and heart.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

How often do you follow up?

I’m often asked, “How often do you follow up with a potential client?” Or, “How much do you follow up on a lead?”

Sales can be a frustrating business when potential clients don’t answer your calls, don’t return your calls, and don’t respond to emails, letters or whatever type of communication you use. With all the great technological advancements of our times, buyers have many ways to hide from us. But, if they’re hiding, maybe they don’t really have an immediate need. How are you to know if they won’t communicate?!!?

My philosophy on follow up is that you:

Follow up, follow up, follow up until they buy … or die.

That statement usually gets a chuckle from my seminar attendees. Some people who read that line of advice will cringe internally because they hate doing follow up or they give up after a couple of attempts at contacting leads.

The “cringers” are the ones who lay the groundwork for the champions. With their “couple of attempts” to contact leads, they leave a reminder that the buyer had expressed a need in the benefits of their product. It may have seemed important to the buyer at the time, but then as it happens, other things take priority. However, there was a reason they thought it was a good idea to leave their contact information in the first place.

Champions follow up in various ways, at different times of the day/week/month until they connect. Then, through proper questioning, the pros find out what that reason was. They know that the time required to attempt each contact is minimal compared to the potential return if/when they are finally able to serve the buyers’ needs.

Be a follow up nut in a fun and friendly way. Leave messages to build curiosity in the minds of the buyers so they’ll want to speak with you to learn more about how their lives will be better or they’ll save money or live a healthier lifestyle or sleep better at night after they’re happily involved with the benefits of your product or service.

Always remember: Even if it turns out the lead is not qualified to own your offering, they very likely know someone who is. So, even if you don’t end up serving their needs, when you’ve left a positive impression of professionalism and determination, they’ll be willing to tell others about your excellent service.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Blog Survey Results

042BZC01Our blog survey results are in!

Recently, we decided to use our own strategy of asking just a couple of survey questions of our clients to get some feedback … possibly on how to change course in our direction and serve them better with this blog. We asked three questions, but rather than limiting the answers to one per question, we offered multiple options, which provided a ton of information. And, we included a comments/suggestions option for those who wanted to expand upon their multiple-choice answers.

Our first question was “What day of the week would you prefer to see a new blog post?” The largest percentage of respondents (33%) chose Monday. We had been posting on the blog on Tuesdays. Only 5% of our blog subscribers chose that day. Hmm. Looks like we missed the boat on serving the majority, didn’t we? We are re-vamping our blog postings … and guess which day of the week we will now be posting?

Our second question was about content. “Which topics would you most like to see covered?” The percentages were pretty close for “Addressing Concerns/Handling Objections,” and “Prospecting.” Running at third place was the topic of “Presentations.” As we move forward with our blog editorial calendar you’ll see more of those topics covered.

Our third question was about whether or not to continue with guest blog posts. We had been including them on the last Tuesday of the month for a while, but noticed a low rate of response to them. (Reference our first question results above.) Our respondents overwhelmingly enjoy the guest posts (79%) because they know I only include posts from people I trust in the training world. I will continue to request posts from others speakers, authors and trainers that I know.

The greatest wealth of information gained from the blog post survey were suggestions for 33 topics for new content! I can’t thank the respondents enough for this input. It’s easy to sit here and say, “We haven’t covered this … or that” but to know for certain what our clients need does what, Champions? It tells us what they want to “own,” doesn’t it?

When is the last time you’ve conducted a survey of your clients? If it’s been a while, it’s time to develop a simple survey that you can do by phone, in person or via email. Use a mix of open and closed questions to gather information … and don’t overwhelm yourself by sending it to 50,000 clients. If you have a large number of clients, break them down into smaller groups and ask questions specific to their use of your product or service. You’ll get better information.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Selling Value vs Price

As a sales professional, please realize the difference in selling value vs price. If you are selling a value-based product against a price-based product, trying to compete on price is a recipe for an unfulfilling sales career. People who make purchasing decisions primarily on price will encourage a bidding situation between competitors.

When selling value, you can avoid bidding situations by establishing your value proposition early in the sales appointment with a discovery question about their intentions: “Is the lowest investment your only consideration, or is quality also important?” You want to hear the buyer say something like “Price is important, but we also want the quality to be good.”

Later in the sales process, if the buyer hesitates on the investment for your product, you simply refer back to their earlier statement about value. “I’m sorry, I thought you said earlier that you were interested in both pricing and quality.”

“Well…yes.”

“Do you feel it is reasonable to pay the same for two different levels of quality?”

“Um…”

Remain calm because that earns you more negotiating time with the buyer. Sincerely ask about the buyer’s previous statement with the intention to understand. You want to discover what she is thinking at this point. If your buyer suggests your value-based product should be priced the same as your price-based competition, then you probably didn’t persuade her very well about the value of your product during the presentation.

The second way to avoid a bidding situation is refuse to participate. Let’s replay the example above. The buyer says, “Your bid is at $4,100 and your competitor’s bid is at $3,600. Match the competitor’s price or I will buy from them.”

You respond with, “I’ll be glad to see what we can do for you about lowering your investment. However, to ensure getting you the highest-quality product, I may not be able to match the competitor’s bid.”

Many buyers are so conditioned to deal in price, they are caught off guard. “Well, uh…why not?” your buyer asks.

That is your opportunity to affirm the value of your products. “Because there are too many ways to cut corners when the money is tight. We don’t believe in cutting corners. We charge enough to do the job right the first time.”

You’ve just planted a seed of insecurity in the buyer’s mind. She starts to wonder what she’ll lose in quality by playing the price game. You just reset the focus of the conversation from price back to value. If she is still in the conversation, she will probably say, “How low can you go?”

“I’ll check on it and get back to you as quickly as possible.” What you’ve just done here is to stall her from purchasing from the competition. If she’s really interested in how low you can go, she will wait for your answer before making any decisions.

The buyer may decide that value is a more important factor after all. Or the buyer may go ahead and buy from the competitor. But one thing the buyer won’t do is bid down your company and negatively affect your ability to move your product at a higher amount with other potential clients. You opted out of the bid-down situation, protected your margin structure, and made a powerful statement to the buyer about the value of your products. More important, you have made a powerful statement to yourself about the value of your products. Most salespeople “talk the talk” about the value of their products, but their actions betray their level of conviction when buyers squeeze them on price.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. and Tigran LLC.

Excerpted from When Buyers Say No. Order an autographed copy here for less than Amazon charges for the book: http://www.tomhopkins.com/p/1590.html 

7 Ways to Re-Think No / Selling Skills

MazeA big part of your job in sales is to be the person in the company who gets the “no’s.” My job as your sales coach is to provide you with ways to re-think no.

In the English language, the word “no’ can carry many meanings. It would be a financially costly mistake for you to assume that the meaning your buyers assign to the word “no” is the same as the meaning you assign to it. Some of the possible meanings of “no” are as follows:

  1. Lingering questions: In sales, the word “no” very often means that the buyers haven’t had all of their questions or concerns addressed yet. Perhaps they’re confused about how your product compares to that of the competition. That’s a challenge you must be prepared to address. A confused mind often says “no.” It’s an instinctive protective device of the human psyche. If buyers don’t see a clear way to go with regard to your product, they’ll put off making any kind of decision.
  2. Inadequate explanation of benefits: If you’ve done your job of qualifying your buyers and are confident that your product will indeed serve their needs well, a “no” just means you haven’t completed the client education process that’s inherent in selling. If this is the case, it’s not necessarily a flaw in your presentation. Different buyers need different amounts of information delivered in different ways before considering a decision.
    Generally speaking, it’s better to give too little information and have  buyers ask for more (in this case, by saying “no”) than to give too much information and lose buyers on the basis of information overload or boredom. Trust your instincts during your presentations and close when you feel buyers have enough information to make an educated decision. If buyers consistently ask for more information after your initial closing attempt, then it is time to make an adjustment in your presentation.
  3. Additional discovery is required: A “no” may mean that you need to investigate further to determine what aspect of your presentation wasn’t clear. Remember, a confused mind says no. You may need to be more direct and persuasive during your presentations.
  4. A misstep in qualification: You may need to go back to the qualifying or needs identification step in the sales process to be certain you are presenting the right product for their situation. This “no” may be due to you missing something when you were identifying needs earlier in the sales appointment. It also may be due to a buyer being unclear as to his or her true needs. Because your presentation was effective in educating the buyer on what you incorrectly understood to be the appropriate product or service, the buyer may say “no” to your initial offering. The buyer may not be aware that you carry another product that will meet their newly-realized needs. Only with further conversation can you discover this epiphany and then present the better product.
  5. Unrevealed questions/objections: Perhaps the buyer hasn’t told you everything yet about their circumstances as to needs and their ability to afford what you’re offering. What? Don’t buyers tell you everything up front that you need to know to offer a win-win opportunity and close the sale? Sometimes this is merely an issue of trust. After buyers say “no” is one of the most powerful times to build trust.
    As mentioned above, buyers are often unaware of their real objections and questions until they start to become educated about the products and services that provide solutions. Or, perhaps they like the product but not the financial terms you’re offering. The point is that by using the proper selling skills, tools, and strategies in the correct manner, you can continue to move the sale forward despite initial reluctance from buyers
  6. Timing: Their “no” might just be a way of slowing the sales process down. It might mean “no, not right now.” Good timing is important when you make purchases, so why wouldn’t it be important to your buyers? By discussing options in timing, you may discover a time-frame that is quite agreeable to your buyers even if it isn’t for today.
  7. No, not you: With some buyers the “no” you hear could even mean “no, not you.” Please realize that with some product sales the buyers don’t just buy the product—they’re buying future involvement with you. In many cases, the sales person becomes the key connection between buyers and the company and they may just not have been “sold” on you. They may not feel comfortable with your ability to serve their needs. You always have to demonstrate your own level of competence right along with demonstrating your product’s benefits. Remember, people like to do business with people they like. It’s an important part of your job in the sales process to help them to like you and to trust you, so they’ll listen to what you have to say – to take your advice and want to be involved with you in a long-term business relationship.

There are many reasons that potential clients might say “no” but lack of interest is probably not one of them. Disinterested people won’t waste their time meeting with sales people and listening to presentations. So, when you have their attention, it’s because they’re truly interested in knowing if you, your company and your product can resolve an issue or challenge they’re having. The job falls to you to identify or discover what their needs and expectations are as they relate to your product or service.

You are the only one who can ultimately determine what each “no” means in every one of your selling situations. You do that by keeping the conversation alive through the use of precisely-crafted questions. By mining the information you need to know in order to determine if and how you can help them, you’ll close more sales that previously would have gone by the wayside.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from When Buyers Say No by Tom Hopkins & Ben Katt. We match or beat Amazon’s investments on Tom Hopkins’ books.

The Foundation of a Financial Services Career

AA018406The foundation of your financial services career includes your attitude, enthusiasm and goals. You see, you can have all the product knowledge in the world and excellent people skills, but if your attitude is sour and you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re doing and where you’re going, you might as well not bother getting out of bed in the morning. Your lack of enthusiasm will show. Worse, it’s contagious. If you’re not upbeat and excited about what you do for people, they won’t be either. If you don’t engage their emotions, they won’t do business with you. [Read more…]

Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself?

Before each client contact, ask yourself this: Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself? This means giving yourself a quick attitude check. Are you concerned about your production this month? Or, are you more concerned with whether or not you have the right solution for the client?

LS002546When you present an attitude of helpfulness at the beginning of every client contact, you’ll become a top closer in sales. By approaching selling situations with the goal of helping the client, you won’t come across aggressively—and by no means will you be average or typical. And, with a helpful attitude, you’ll knock the dollar signs out of your eyes, which will put the buyer at ease.

I teach my seminar attendees that a salesperson’s income is a scoreboard reflection of the amount of service he or she gives to others. If you’re not happy with your current score (aka income), it’s time to improve the level of service you’re currently providing.

Improving your service begins with taking on an attitude of servitude. It also means taking control of your personal environment. If something that’s going on in your personal life is distracting you from your job, it may show to potential clients. When they feel you’re distracted, they’ll want to extract themselves from working with you.

Don’t risk losing sales or long-term clients because non-career challenges you are facing distract you from providing the service you know you need to deliver. Do whatever it takes to give your clients all that they expect and deserve. They’ll reward you with their business…and referred leads.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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