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.

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…]

Choosing What to Sell

mallOne of the questions I’m asked most often by people who are new to the selling profession is about choosing what to sell. My answer isn’t what they expect. They want me to tell them to work in a specific industry or to sell the latest “hot” product. But that’s not how it works.

In order to do the job of selling well, you must believe in your product and the benefits it provides to your clients. So, my answer is this, “The best product for you to sell is one that you truly believe in and can speak about with great enthusiasm and, if at all possible, from personal experience.”

  • When you believe in your product and its benefits, you’ll do the work necessary to become an expert on it.
  • You’ll be excited to talk about it.
  • You’ll gain a clear understanding of what type of person or company makes an ideal client for you.
  • And your selling job will be fun.

[Read more…]

Poor Time Management Is a Career Killer

clockI’m sure you realize that poor time management is a career killer. Click the following link to watch a special video message and learn how you can manage your time more effectively: Poor Time Management in Sales

You see, we all have 86,400 seconds in a day. No one has any more, no one has any less. The key to great income, great financial independence in the future is making those seconds productive and not waiting for business but going out and making it happen.

Too many people in selling careers fail simply because they haven’t mastered the ability to control their time. They have a strong desire to retain the freedom offered in a selling career, but they don’t have the strength to master their time effectively.

Managing your time in selling is an awesome responsibility. If you are willing to accept that responsibility, you must also create a burning desire within yourself to master time-management techniques. You must develop a tremendous pride in your ability to manage time in order to do it well. And, time management is really self-management. We all have the same amount of time each day. It’s how we use it that matters. When you invest as little as 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you want and need to accomplish the next day, you’ll be more productive and reap the rewards of greatness.

To determine whether or not you’re handling your time well, ask yourself this question, “Based on my overall production, which is a reflection of my ability to properly manage my time, would I buy stock in me?” If your answer is no, you’ll need to learn to control your time and temper your freedom or you’ll find yourself becoming a “job jumper,” possibly jumping right out of sales entirely.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International Inc.

Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline. [Read more…]

How to Be Ready When It’s Time to Close

The actual closing of the sale is by far the most important step in the selling process. That’s why it’s critical that you know how to be ready when it’s time to close. Without that final commitment, you haven’t sold anything, have you? When you’re a pro, closing should be the most natural part of the process. Everything else you do leads to that point.

I teach lots of techniques for prospecting, meeting people, qualifying, presenting, demonstrating, and addressing concerns—and they’re all important. But, unless you can close, you’re like a football team that ca4.1.1n’t sustain a drive long enough to score.

The biggest complaint I hear from most salespeople is that they don’t know when to start closing. Those people just don’t understand the simple fact that a true Champion salesperson is closing all the time. He or she is constantly trying test closes and will go into the final closing sequence anytime they sniff the sweet smell of success (such as when they hear the client start talking as if they already own the product or when the client relaxes his or her body language or even when they begin asking more questions).

The problem with too many salespeople is they get so wrapped up in the steps in their selling sequence that if the prospect wants to go ahead with the purchase before they’re finished presenting, they lose their momentum and go tripping awkwardly into the close, which can cause tension and make the buyer hesitate or decide to re-think their decision.Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who will get sold fast. If you keep talking instead of closing, you’ll run the risk of un-selling them just as fast. So, during every step of the selling cycle, you must keep one eye on the prospect at all times watching for cues as to their readiness to go ahead.

Okay. They’re ready. Where are your closing materials?

To become a top professional in selling, you must always have your closing materials with you. You must be ready to close anywhere and at any time. I’m sure you’ve heard of sales being closed at lunch, on the golf course, or at the health club. I even have a student who closed a sale in a barn while the farmer was milking cows.

The salespeople who closed those sales and kept them closed were ready, willing, and able when the client was. They were able to change gears and move to their paperwork smoothly. The salespeople who lost those sales didn’t have their closing materials, or tried to manipulate the ideal closing setting and the client cooled off by the time they were ready to take the order.

Why make things so hard on yourself? A supply of closing materials should take up permanent residence in your briefcase, club locker, car trunk, home and office desk. Keep these forms handy everywhere you go.

Careful thought must be given to the how and when you’ll produce your closing materials. Many prospects will tighten up and try to change gears if they see you pulling out forms or reaching for your tablet. Don’t risk upsetting the emotional balance that’s tipped in your favor. Keep a clean, crisp form under a few pages of your presentation binder, notebook, or time planner at all times. It will be easily accessible and not require a lot of motion on your part to get it out. Nothing should distract your attention from the client’s every word or movement when you can see that they’re ready to close.

If at all possible, get into the habit of writing brief notes during every presentation. Your prospect will get used to seeing you writing and not be put off when you begin writing on the actual agreement.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros

Telephone SkillsYou might think that everyone knows how to use a telephone and that the topic of Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros is antiquated. For some, possibly you, that may be true. However, based on the calls received by me, my wife, and members of my staff, there is a great lack of skill in the general selling populace. Because of our experiences, even recently, we all agreed this topic should be addressed.

The pathway to riches is that opening in the front of your head called a mouth and one of your biggest assets is the telephone. Most appointments are set by telephone and there are certain steps to follow to do it well. [Read more…]

How to Sell to Couples

In consumer sales, you will often have the opportunity to sell to couples the opportunity of owning your product or service. In many cases, they will close each other on the sale. That’s my favorite time! When one or the other spouse is favorable to the decision, don’t jump right in to close. Wait to see how they work through the decision.

There will, however, more likely be  times when they’ll both sit on the fence. When that happens, I suggest trying The Best Things in Life Close. What you do when using this close is to compare this buying decision to other decisions they have made and have been happy with. It’s especially helpful when they’ve admitted they want the product, but they’re just struggling with saying “yes.”

Here’s what I recommend you say: “Isn’t it true that the only time you have ever really benefited from anything in your life has been when you said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no?’ You said ‘yes’ to your marriage (optional — and I can see how happy you are). You said ‘yes’ to your job, your home, your car — all the things that I’m sure you truly enjoy. You see, when you say ‘yes’ to me, it’s not really me you are saying ‘yes’ to, but all of the benefits that we offer. Those are the things you really want for your family, aren’t they?”

Of course, you would not use the optional phrase of “and I can see how happy you are” if the air is charged with disagreement. However, if they do come across as a happy couple…a united front, give it a try. These words have been proven to change the mood of the sale quickly and help buyers say ‘yes.’

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Questions for Building Common Ground

closed saleSince I teach the importance of establishing common ground with potential clients, I’m often asked for suggestions of topics. Because of that, I’ve generated a simple list of questions for building common ground to share. Use whatever is appropriate for your type of sales situation or simply use these questions as models for developing your own.

Here are a few subjects to give you an idea of how building common ground can begin.

Job Related:

  • Tell me a bit about your job.
  • Tell me what you do for a living.
  • What’s your occupation?
  • What do you like most/least about your work?
  • How long have you been doing this?
  • What’s the most interesting part of your job?
  • What gives you the greatest amount of satisfaction at work?

Child Related:

  • Do you have any kids?
  • Do you have any children?
  • What are their names?
  • How old are they?
  • I bet you’re proud of him/her/them.
  • What interests are they developing?
  • What do they do for fun?

Family Related:

  • Are you married? 
  • Been married long?
  • Where do you folks live?
  • Did you go on a honeymoon? Oh, where?
  • Where does he/she work?
  • What do you folks do for recreation?
  • Do you share any hobbies?

Location Related:

  • Are you from around here?
  • Where are you from?
  • What do you like most about living in your town?
  • Have you traveled much?
  • What is the most fun thing to do in your area?
  • What three things would you recommend a tourist to see first?

All of this information isn’t gathered just to be discarded. You’ll use much of it later in the sales process. I could go on and on with this, but you get the idea. You want to be friendly and to encourage the other person to be friendly. Don’t treat these questions as a checklist you have to march through like Sherman to the sea during the Civil War. Your goal is conversation not conquest.

Also, avoid the trap of droning on about any given subject. Getting overly involved in the topic of conversation will cut out valuable time you’ll need for getting down to business and making your presentation. Just find the commonality. Establish it. Make sure your customer is comfortable with it. And at the appropriate moment, move on.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. and Pat Leiby

Sending Thank You Notes

I learned the value and power of sending thank you notes early in life.

A Lesson from Mom

When I was a young child, my parents occasionally went out with friends for dinner. Invariably, when my parents returned from an evening out, I saw my mother sit down at her little desk in the hallway as soon as she got home and begin to write.

One night I asked her what she was doing. Her answer came straight out of Emily Post: “We had such a wonderful time with our dear friends this evening that I want to jot them a note to thank them for their friendship and the wonderful dinner.”

My mother’s simple act of gratitude, expressed to people who already knew that she and my father appreciated and enjoyed their friendship, helped to keep my parents’ friendships strong for their entire lifetimes.

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. In fact, I set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. That goal meant that I had to meet and get the contact information for at least ten people every day. I sent thank you notes to people I met briefly, people I showed properties to, people I talked with on the telephone, and people I actually helped to own new homes. I became a thank you note fool.

And guess what happened?

By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 98% by referral! The people I had expressed gratitude to were happy to send me new clients as a reward for making them feel appreciated and important.

How to Express Appreciation

I understand that you may not be comfortable at first with starting the Thank You note habit. The trick is to keep the notes short and simple. A thank you note is not a dissertation.

To help you get started (aka eliminate any excuses) I invested time writing out ten situations in which sending a Thank You note is appropriate. Then, to help you even more, I’ve drafted the notes for you. Use my words until writing thank you notes becomes so natural to you that you can dash one off in less than a minute.

1. Telephone contact Thank you for talking with me. In today’s business world, time is precious. You can rest assured that I will always be respectful of the time you invest as we discuss the possibility of serving your needs.

2. In Person Contact Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you, and my thank you is for the time we shared. We have been fortunate to serve many happy clients, and it is my wish to some day be able to serve you. 

3. After Demonstration or Presentation Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss your upcoming needs with you. We would be honored to serve your needs now and into the future. We believe that quality, blended with excellent service, is the foundation for a successful business.

4. After Purchase Thank you for giving me the opportunity to offer you our finest service. We are confident that you will be happy with your new ______. My goal is now to offer excellent follow-up service so you will have no reservations about referring others to me who have similar needs as yours.

5. For a Referral Thank you for your kind referral of John and Mary Smith. You may rest assured that anyone you refer to me will receive the highest degree of professional service possible.

6. After Final Refusal Thank you for taking your time to consider letting me serve you. It is with sincere regret that I was currently unable to assist you. However, if you need further information or have any questions, please feel free to call. I will be happy to keep you posted on new developments and changes that may benefit you.

7. After They Buy From Someone Else Thank you for taking your time to  consider our product and service. I regret being unable, at this time, to prove to you the benefits we have to offer. I will keep in touch with the hope that in the years ahead we will be able to do business.

8. After They Buy From Someone Else, But Offer to Give You Referrals Thank you for your gracious offer of giving me referrals. As we discussed, I am enclosing three of my business cards. I thank you in advance for placing them in the hands of three of your friends, acquaintances, or relatives that I might serve. I will keep in touch and be willing to render my services as needed.

9. To Anyone Who Gives You Service Thank you. It is gratifying to meet someone dedicated to doing a good job. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated. If my company or I can serve you in any way, please don’t hesitate to call.

10. Anniversary Thank You Thank you. It is with warm regards that I send this note to say hello and again, thanks for your past patronage. Please call me with any questions you have about your ________ or the latest advancements in our newer models.

Personally, I believe the hand-written note, posted in the mail is the most powerful. But, if that truly doesn’t work for you,  it’s better to send the message via email than not at all. Ideally, you will get the note off within 24 hours of meeting with the people.

The power of expressed gratitude is immense. Put this tool to work for you today!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.   800-528-0446   info@tomhopkins.com
For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack – judys@tomhopkins.com.